A British man who dressed up as Batman and chased the superhero dream by bounding down a 300-foot skyscraper dressed as the Caped Crusader has been slammed by critics for claiming disability handouts for a bad back.
Out of work 26-year-old Matthew Hardie claims up to $219.59 a week in in Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for the hereditary spinal problem, ankylosing spondylitis.
The Express reports that symptoms of PIP include a lack of energy and stamina, difficulty carrying heavy items, and a chronic dull pain in the lower back. PIP can also cause severe eye pain and result in the loss of spinal mobility and fatal chest infections.
Yet Batman fan Hardie refuses to let his condition stop him from squeezing in to a superhero costume and abseiling down Reading’s Blade skyscraper in pouring rain to raise money for the Wessex Children’s Hospice Trust.
The man who would be Batman is a bit of a thrill seeker and has also been spotted riding roller coasters and boasting of long-distance bike rides.
After the benefits “Batman” was finished scuttling down skyscrapers he joked to the waiting crowd of children that, “Being a superhero I have obviously done this a million times before.”
The benefits Batman then relaxed with a well-earned glass of bubbly alongside alongside charity champion The Amazing Spider-Dad, Mike Wilson, who had also crawled down the glass walled structure with the Dark Knight.
The Batman fan’s hereditary back problem means his disability claims are not illegal and Mr Hardie himself said, “I’m not signed off work, I’m allowed to work.”
Yet critics of the Batman charity fundraiser have suggested that, if he can bounce down buildings dressed as a vigilante crime fighter, then surely the cape-wearing philanthropist can get a job.
Authorities are currently investigating Mr Hardie’s claim, and The Mail reports that public funding campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance hit out after hearing about the benefits Batman.
“Benefits should be a safety net, not a comfort blanket. It’s absolutely crucial that every penny handed out in benefits is necessary, as there is no magic money tree from which further pennies can be plucked. We need to ensure that the appropriate checks and balances are in place so that we are able to protect both taxpayers and the most vulnerable.”
A source close to Hardie told The Sun that the Batman fan shouldn’t aggravate his condition by being a superhero and trying to raise money for charity.
“He claims that he has a bad back and that some days are better than others. But if I was in his situation I would be doing anything I could to not aggravate the condition – certainly not abseiling down buildings, even if it is for a good cause.”
Yet since when has a bad back ever stopped Batman from doing the right thing?
(Images Via The Mirror/Daily Mail)