View Full Version : You ever feel like a fraud?

12-05-2011, 11:09 AM
I am just wondering, those of you who don't work anymore, have you ever fault like a fraud? Of course none of us are one, but sometimes I find myself feeling like one anyway.
I get $866.75 a month to live off from disability, that's it. There is also a $500 earnings allowance you are allowed to make each month, but that's the limit, anything above that, you have to declare to them and they will deduct it from your cheque. It is supposed to encourage those on BC disability who want to work part time at their pace, that they can, but they do not have to worry about losing their benefits.
Now, it was really hard to get on disability, REALLY hard. I had to use an advocate to help me fill out the really large package and she said to exaggerate as much as possible or else I'd be denied. This is a LEGAL advocate who gave me this advice, so that's what we did. Now she said exaggerate, not lie, I never lied, but there are still some things I can do a little longer or a little more than my application said I could. Walking is one example. It hurts to walk, I feel it in my hips, I feel it in my lower back, my shoulders, my knees and my ankles and feet, but I have learned to ignore it, like we've all learned to hide pain since we've been dealing with it for so many years anyway. As much as it hurts I still do it anyway because my rheumy told me that because I now also have Fibromyalgia, I need to exercise or I am going to hurt even worse, and she's right.
I started doing dog walking about 9 months ago, I walk a 90 year old mans precious dog and help him take care of her, and he pays me $10 per visit for that. I also walk another dog that lives closer to me who has issues, he was abused and he has a lot of problems so his owner wanted someone to work with him everyday while she is at work. I visit him every day too and she also pays me $10 a visit to do this and help her out.
Is this considered a "job"? Or a hobby? I can't handle anymore dogs and I can barely handle doing this but I don't like sitting at home all day you know? Now I am NOT a fraud money wise, I make the allowable monthly limit so that is not a problem, its the fact that I feel guilty that I am doing some things in my paperwork that says I can't do.
Or I am babbling and feeling this stuff for no reason, I don't know. There's no way I can hold down a real job and support myself, I'd be let go for taking too many sick days off or not enough time to rest when I need to. I do these little tasks on my own time and if I can't be there, I get somebody else to take my place. I just really didn't want to be stuck at home, I am not that kind of person.
Heck I feel bad driving, I feel bad going to the mall when the rest of the city is at work, feel bad having all this free time and I am getting paid for it, yet I KNOW I deserve it because I am suffering.

I think my mind needs to be drop kicked!

12-05-2011, 01:43 PM
I think disability benefits, as well as most everything else, are not designed to make sense with a disorder like Lupus/Fibro/etc.

There should be some sort of sliding scale of disability that takes into account the up-and-down, yet chronic nature of this disease. It should not be set up to DISCOURAGE you from working when you can. You should not lose your benefits because you feel great for a couple of months...you should be allowed to work and tuck some money away for the really cruddy days/months when you can't do hardly anything, because that is the very nature of this sort of disorder.

Disability policies were really designed for people who are permanently sick and/or dying, or for people who are temporarily catastrophically injured, but expected to regain function more or less permanently at some point. Most of us fit in between those extremes...and there's no good option for a relapsing/remitting condition. Maybe this is something for some of the Lupus lobbying organizations to work on? I don't know...maybe they already are.

But no, I don't think you're a fraud. We all have good days and bad days. I think you should be commended for wanting to be active and productive and helpful when you can. One of the really cruddy things about not being able to hold a "normal" job is the loss of a sense of purpose. Even part-time work can help you regain that, and fend off the depression and sense of helplessness that often attack us secondarily to the A-I disease. If anything, part-time work, if you can find it, should be encouraged and regarded as therapy!!!!!

12-05-2011, 03:01 PM
Exactly, that's what I was thinking too, that is it not designed for people like us and I am hoping that one day it will be. I am a pretty anxious person and I am full of anxieties and worries. I go about my days thinking, is this right? Is someone watching me? Am I going to be reviewed and lose my benefits? I have to fight my own mind and tell myself "oh come on, its been 1 year since you got on it, you have diseases with no cures, you will NOT get better, why would they review you?" Heh but it's the government, you never know...
My dog walking is definitely therapy to me, it helps me feel like I do have a purpose and I am not a lazy person. A lot of people think disability is a blessing and a great way out, as if you're free to just do anything and life is easy from now on. HA! If you like to live below the poverty line, have the government breathing down your neck, and people judging you with every step you take or every handicapped bus seat you sit on, sure.
It needs to be re-written, and include invisible illnesses so it can be better understood. I do the dog walking because it makes me happy, but would I get off benefits to do this full time? No way, it would kill me. I would like to run a dog daycare from my home in the future hopefully, but I definitely do not want to work away from home pretty much ever again considering how I always feel, nor will I do a job I hate to just make money.

*sigh* I think I need to go back and see my counselor, I haven't seen her for a while, she can put my head back on straight and maybe a smack in the face to get me to calm down and quit worrying so much lol.

12-05-2011, 03:37 PM
There should be some sort of sliding scale of disability that takes into account the up-and-down, yet chronic nature of this disease. It should not be set up to DISCOURAGE you from working when you can. You should not lose your benefits because you feel great for a couple of months...you should be allowed to work and tuck some money away for the really cruddy days/months when you can't do hardly anything, because that is the very nature of this sort of disorder.

Actually, the Social Security Administration does have a system that takes into account the up and down nature of chronic illness, and frankly, I was pleasantly surprised to learn this back when I was first approved for disability. I was wondering what happens if I'm able to, at some point, work a part time job.

I applied for, and was approved to receive full Social Security Disability Benefits around six months after my SLE diagnosis. I've been on full disability for nearly eight years now. If I were able, I could work part time and still receive full disability. The SSA has a term called Substantial Gainful Activity. In layman terms, this refers to the amount of income that they have determined a person can, or cannot live on. If I were able to work part time, I could earn up to $1010.00 per month without having any effect on my Disability Benefit status or payment amount. Any amount of income that is equal to or less than this amount is considered to not be a Substantial Gainful Activity in the context of making enough money to actually live on, and thus has no effect on your disability status or the amount of monthly payment you receive. They realize that many people with a chronic illness at times are able to, and do have a desire and/or need to work part time, but still need the security of a disability payment each month because their reliability and overall ability to stay on the job on a long term basis is in doubt because of the unpredictable nature of chronic illness.

Also, the SSA has a program that encourages people on full disability who believe that they are healed up and now physically able and willing to seek out full time employment, to find a job by offering full disability benefits for a certain number of months that they determine on a case by case basis. A person receiveing full disability can begin full time work and still receive full benefits for up to six months. That's $888.00 a month in addition to what they earn at their new full-time job. That's a nice incentive as well as a cushion if things do not work out, and the person's disability returns.

In regards to the original question of feeling like a fraud, I've never felt like a fraud for being on disability, but I certainly did not like it at first. From the age of 15, until after my diagnosis of SLE at the age of 34, I was gainfully employed, and never without a job. I was an employee, and later in life, an employer, and losing my business tore off a huge part of my identity, and removed much of my purpose in life.

I would give anything to work again either for myself, or for someone else. Unfortunately, the facts are that I have both SLE, and Multiple Sclerosis. The chances of any significant remission from either disease happening at the same time is next to nothing. If I get up and feel good, I am employable for that day, and that day only. I've never been late to work, ever, and I've never shown up at even the crappiest of jobs without being fully prepared to put in a 100% plus effort. The hit and miss nature of SLE and MS make me unable to be reliable and show up on time everyday (or even show up at all), it makes me unable to put in 100%, which makes me unemployable, and is the reason for me being on full disability. These were not easy facts to face, but over time I've learned to accept them.

Disability benefits are meant for people who are legitimately disabled. People with Lupus, MS, and many other autoimmune disorders are indeed disabled, regardless of the whole "but you don't look sick" attitude of the ignorant and uninformed.


12-05-2011, 04:16 PM

I just remembered that you are from Canada. My information about the U.S. Social Security Administration obviously has no bearing on your situation, but we do have much in common personally in regards to wondering if being on disability is, or is not the right thing to do.


12-05-2011, 05:24 PM
Thankfully I have not had to even consider stopping work ....so far but who knows what the future holds.
But I think that when the time comes no one should feel bad about accepting help-much less consider it fraud.

We all as a society contribute to the social programs that support disability programs and I believe most would rather not need to make use of them. But those that do should and not feel bad about it.

12-05-2011, 06:49 PM
I wonder if it is the same for Canada, it just doesn't feel like it or maybe I have not learned enough yet. But I do know that British Columbia ranks very low under a lot of the provinces for its disability amount, which has not seen a raise in over 5 years. I was denied for Federal disability because at the time, 2 specialists I saw were not certain which disease I had, so now I have to apply all over again, and it can take as long as a year to get an answer.
I think it is the fact that I am 25 and stuff "ended" for me much too soon. My oldest brother insulted me a couple of weeks ago saying I am very lazy, I should be out working like everyone else and what is going on with me is not bad at all. Needless to say I don't talk to him very much anymore and it won't be much fun seeing him at Christmas.
I know I deserve what I got, I am just afraid of it being stripped away one day, but at the same time, I also think that won't happen, its always back and forth with me.
Its hard to feel bad about it because just like you Rob (not as long) I went from being a very active/working person to Lupus and Fibromyalgia. Its definitely true that I am unrealiable showing up wise, and even thinking wise sometimes too with that stupid brain fog. I did everything 100%, I was always the best or one of the best at my jobs. Heck the last one I quit at the barn was very hard to do because I had a boss who couldn't fully understand and ended up being mean to me.
Anyway...bah, this might be a long inner struggle for me.

12-05-2011, 06:57 PM
i too often worry about not working.
i just turned 50.
mu rhuemy wants me to go back to work.
my doctor says no.

who wants to employ a 50 yearold with serious issues.

at the moment, when ever i try to do any serious work around the house, or farm......
i break into a sweat and exhustion after just a few minutes.

i cant even sweep or vacuum the house in 1 go.

australian tax office, has good guidelines for is considered work / hobby.
i would be surprised if the canadian tax department did not also have guidelines.
in australia your dog walking would be clasified as a hobby and non taxable.

12-05-2011, 07:36 PM
Yeah I think it is non taxable here too, I'd have to double check, plus I make so little it barely matters. I probably won't take on more than what I have now, which is 2 dogs. If I end up losing them some day for some reason, I'll just get 2 new ones but I can't handle walking a pack of them that's for sure. I don't have a company, I just do this because I want to.

I used to work up a sweat and be so tired when I first started walking the dogs. I still get really tired today but not as bad, now that I am used to it, the exercise helps my muscle and joint pain a little. It helps to keep doing it because I enjoy it so much, but daily tasks can take a lot out of me as well.

12-06-2011, 05:49 AM

The first thing that came to mind reading your first post was, " she is def not a fraud or somebody who milks the system, because a fraud or " milker" , would not have those kind of thoughts". Somebody who is a fraud, wouldn't feel guilty, not even for a minute. Believe me, I know what I am talking about, I see it daily at my job, you can pinpoint a fraud, well I can. Here is a little example, a young man forgot his cane, come back into the store, running, got his cane and started to limp, like his legs were not able to carry him, all within a few seconds.
The next time I saw him I asked him what happened to him, he said that he had an accident at work and will get alot of money. Every time I see him, he forgets to limp, but then remembers.
That is just one example.
Everybody on this site, knows what Lupus does to our body, we have good days and bad days. When we are lucky enough to have a good day, we can do things, we can't do on bad days.
Therefore you have no reason whatsoever to feel guilty.
I tell you one thing, walking a dog is good for you, it gives you some exersise and a purpose, to get up in the morning.
Yesterday at work I was near tears, because I was so fatigued and in alot of pain, I really almost cried and I am not a crier. We have been extremely busy at work and last week I had to work 42 hours, this week 45 hours. I am wiped out.
I have spent some time on job sites on the pc, I have to either find something easier or have to quit, because I can't do this any longer.
Be grateful that you have the disability on your side, they gave it to you, because you need it and don't feel bad about it. You can't work a " regular" job, period.


12-06-2011, 12:00 PM
Thank you Debbie, and the rest of you guys.

I am going to see my counselor tomorrow anyway to talk about this plus some other things. I know I am not a bad person and deserve what I get, which is why I my application was accepted on the first try. I'm too nice or something I don't know lol, too thoughtful and caring of others, and I end up putting them first before myself, which I try less and less to do because I know its not good.
I never fake anything, something is always wrong and I guess I wish the outside world was more educated than to just thinking only someone in a wheel chair deserves the money.