Forum

Are YOU being spied on?

Have just discovered that the Social Security spies are out in my district. The hour I am allotted twice a week for bathing, hairwashing, bedmaking/changing etc has been cut to 45 minutes. SS didn’t tell me. My carer had to. The carers say that it can’t be done in less than an hour, and they’re right. Apparently someone has been sitting in a car outside my house, watching the carers come and go. Lately, the agency that supplies my care through SS has been very short-staffed, meaning that the carers have to rush me through it all, and leave me to tidy up, which is the worst part for me and my MS. I’m all for clamping down on benefit cheats, but as my “care” has been pared down over the years to the absolute minimum, and having no family or friends to help, it is a horrible feeling being spied on. Is it me they think is lying, or the carers? When it’s my turn for the Atos treatment, and they tell me to get a job, I’ll ask if I can have my driving licence back so I can have the job of sitting in a car all day, spying on genuinely disabled victims of the so-called “care system”.

Hi Belinda,

So you mean that when the “spies” happened to be watching, the carers (who were pressed at that time), really were in and out in 45 minutes - but presumably still being paid for an hour?

In that case, I do think it’s the agency that has been caught out: if they’re getting paid for an hour, they should be providing a whole hour - not “45 minutes if they’re a bit rushed” - why should they get paid for 15 minutes they didn’t do, at taxpayer’s expense?

I’m sorry that the upshot is that it’s YOU that gets your care allocation reduced. But really, if they hadn’t been trying to get away with 45 minutes, whilst still charging for the hour, there wouldn’t have been this clampdown.

You AND the taxpayer have a right to expect that if an hour’s being billed for, an hour’s exactly what you get. Getting only 45 minutes is no more acceptable than getting 25% short measure in a shop or pub.

I know it doesn’t help you in your situation, but perhaps this will deter agencies from thinking that if they’re paid for an hour, 45 minutes is “near enough”. Where I used to work, it was a disciplinary offence to misrepresent the hours worked for a customer. You couldn’t work 45 minutes, but still bill them for an hour anyway. And you couldn’t charge them for things that were your own/your company’s problem, like having to down tools early, because you were needed somewhere else.

Tina

It’s crazy. Topically, I can remember some years ago that I read in the paper that fare dodgers were costing the taxpayer so and so milion per year.

If everybody was honest and didn’t dodge their fare, would every tax payer get a rebate? Curiously, I doubt it.

Or put it this way, if every politician was honest, and didn’t …

What am I saying?!

Mark

Tina - I’ve always had my hour. It’s just that it’s been cut down since the spying began. My carers -bless 'em - hate leaving before the job’s done properly. My Monday lady has a neighbour who was loaned a pair of crutches years ago when she had a slipped disc. She’s better now, but tells everyone she isn’t, and totters out to her car with apparent difficulty. She openly tells people about all the disability benefits she’s on because of her “bad back”. Unfortunately for her, the friend she goes to visit every day lives in the next village, where some of my carer’s family also live, and Lucy has seen this lady washing her car there, taking her dogs for long walks and playing football with her kids on the village green, with no crutches in sight and obviously no pain. On her return home, she is once again staggering up her drive, although Lucy can tell she is usually carrying the crutches, rather than actually using them. On the original topic, I shall be checking to make sure I get the full 45 minutes from now on.

I’m sorry if I misunderstood. I assumed the “spies” must have observed the carers come and go in 45 minutes (perhaps even if it was rare but unlucky occasions), and therefore concluded the agency was charging 1 hour for work that only took them 45 minutes. I still maintain that was wrong, IF it was happening - social security shouldn’t be funding time the recipient didn’t get.

I agree the same could happen again, if you (or rather they!) aren’t careful. If it’s budgeted for 45 minutes, but they’re observed leaving after just 35 some days, the “spies” will again conclude there’s overcharging going on. It may just be unfortunate that the days they mounted a random check were among very few where the visit was cut short - but they couldn’t know it doesn’t happen every day. Sort of the point of a random check, really, isn’t it?

Tina