27 Jan 2014

Reader comments on benefit fraud

Benefit fraud is far more widespread than official figures admit. Government puts it around £1.2bn, but benefit fraud is at least £5bn.

In response to our post Ludicrous sentence for HMRC manager in tax credit fraud, a reader comments that
Tax Credits are a joke. When I started in Housing Benefit we only accepted child benefit as proof of a child in the household, getting child tax credits wasn't enough.

I'd abolish Working Tax Credits and increase the minimum wage.

And I've never seen a self employed person declare more than £3 per hour in earnings.
Replacing tax credits by raising the minimum wage would load the extra cost onto employers, so they would look to fire low value employees and be discouraged from taking on more. However, the writer reports a coach and horses being driven through the benefit rules on a regular basis. With the huge numbers going on and off benefits each year, there just aren't enough officials to check every claim, let alone prosecute all the wrongdoers who do get identified.

Just one in four benefit swindlers are actually prosecuted.

Responding to our post Million sickness benefit applicants 'fit for work', a reader suggests that
Far too often, it's not can you work but do you want to work.

Disability benefits are quite generous if you can get maximum ESA/DLA - up to £250 pw for a single person.

'Depression' is the new bad back and, of course, alcoholics and drug addicts have 'mental health issues'. Keeps the Support Workers in jobs too.
Tackling benefit fraud properly would be hugely popular politically, and it would save a lot of money.


laura watson said...

Supoprt worker would still have jobs regardless of whether they stopped allowing people to claim for depression etc. Then we would be able to deal with 'normal' honest people who have just been unlucky and lost their job they've had for the last forty years or had an accident and can't work now.

I am disabled I have a lot of long term health conditions including but not limited to diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension and pancreatitis. I alos have depression and problems with my neurological system making my feet nerves very painful; and it hard to walk. In the last year I broke my foot a minimum of six times and did not take a single day off work because of it. I agree your depressed, get a grip I have to and I have more to cope with. I'm certain there are loads of people in worse positions than me who still get on with their lives. I am not a drug/alcohol dependent and I feel I deserve some support as I do work and try to better myself. I am a housing support worker and not all the people I support are lowly dole dwellers who are playing the system. Some of them are without a doubt but then there are people who do work in spite of everything but can't negotiate the system because of the people who are playing on minor illnesses. I am not lazy, useless etc I am a worker who just needs a bit more help sometimes and a bit of understanding. It's people in my situation who really need the help that actually get punished for trying to be a productive member of society. I think sometimes maybe I should just give up fighting so hard to even get to work let alone make it through the day and go onto ESA.

Anonymous said...

Hypertension is high blood pressure, which lots of people have. I have worked with a diabetic who injected himself every dinnertime. I have also worked with a receptionist in a wheel chair and a boss who had a guide dog!

The other day I processed a HB claim for a 23 year old who had just come out of prison, his ESA/DLA is £180 pw. I can take a pretty good guess that he is a drug addict.

John Page said...

Someone in the state sector probably knows this, but you're not allowed to even though you're doling out our money.

Anonymous said...

I used to work for the Tribunal Service. One day a man with arms arrived, he was a Welfare Rights Officer. The person appealing didnt turn up. The Welfare Rights man was requesting an adjournment, which he got.

The appeal was a man who had failed the all work test for Incapacity Benefit, he didnt want to claim JSA as an former drug addict, he thought the 'stress' of looking for a job would make him go back to drugs.

True story, I dont know if he won or not, they were hoping to get a letter from his GP.

Anonymous said...

Hi John

There was a time that we could look up their DLA award details and it would say the reason why. Not anymore, just the amounts.

Claimants in hostels are the worst cases to pay, give me a pensioner any day!

Anonymous said...


What do you do about the ones who are "playing the system"?

Anonymous said...

As above, the Welfare Rights man had NO arms! He used his feet to deal with documents.