Now, O Gentle Reader, as this is a subject that I have personal experience of, I thought that I’d share some insights with you; perhaps get your feedback as well.
I’ll give you the background first, so bear with me. I, unfortunately, am the reluctant recipient of state benefit that assists me in my living costs due to my (properly) being viewed as unfit to work. This is due to me suffering from chronic and advanced kidney disease/failure; said condition being fully documented, proven, ongoing and permanent in its severity and longevity. It’s highly probable that, following the recent failure of heavy chemotherapy, that long-term dialysis will follow. It’s called Nephrotic Syndrome, it was the main contributory factor in the death of the rugby legend Jonah Lomu, and I have it.
And so, after advice from my local DWP office, I applied for, and now receive the appropriate benefit entitlement. And honestly so.
But this, apparently, is not enough to convince certain spineless and nasty individuals in this ‘wonderful’ tip called Derby, and so they decided to claim, anonymously, to the DWP that I was unlawfully claiming this benefit; leading to me being investigated on 3 separate occasions. Shining examples of the upright (or rather, uptight) citizenry of Derby. Or, as I view them, nasty little pricks with nothing better to do with their miserable little lives.
Every single time, I was fully cleared and exonerated of any wrongdoing, and it got me wondering – how many other people does this happen to?
The answer is, lots. And more than 85% of public tips on benefit ‘frauds’ are false and malicious in nature. A freedom of information request to the Department for Work and Pensions disclosed that between 2010 and 2015 the government closed 1,041,219 alleged cases of benefit fraud put forward by the public. Insufficient or no evidence of fraud was discovered in 887,468 of these. In 2015 alone, of the 153,038 cases closed by the DWP’s Fraud and Error Service, 132,772 led to no action.
People can use an online form on the DWP website to anonymously report suspects, listing their eye colour, piercings, scars, tattoos and other details they deem relevant, as well as being able to call a DWP benefit fraud hotline to effect such claims, making the abuse of this option a relatively easy mater, with no comeback on them personally. There should be.
The alarming number of incorrect reports shows this Stasi-like system has failed. It should be the DWP which investigates benefit fraud, not the general public, and this McCarthy-style reporting of benefit fraud is another example of the government’s desire to turn people against the welfare state and to treat sick and disabled people as second-class citizens. The response to the freedom of information request from the DWP stated: “It should be noted that members of the public, as they are not trained to detect benefit fraud, are not always correct in their identification.” Wow. You’ve only just realised this? Way to go, moron boys.
Where there are abuses of the system they should be dealt with swiftly. However, the government’s constant attempts to paint honest people – like low-paid workers relying on tax credits and universal credit – as ‘feckless skivers’ has successfully created a hostile and accusatory environment, with an Ipsos Mori survey in 2013 finding that the public believed 24% of benefits were fraudulently claimed – 34 times greater than the level seen in official statistics.
Government statistics show fraudulent claims accounted for just 0.7% – or £1.2bn – of total benefit expenditure in the financial year 2012-2013. An estimated £1.6bn was underpaid to claimants by the DWP.
In contrast, EU migrants received £2.5 billion of benefits; ten per cent of the total UK bill. A further £886 million was paid to unemployed EU migrants (the ones we know of) in 2013-14. So who’s the more deserving of attention and effort to minimise expenditure in the system? It seems pretty obvious to me, and probably you as well.
Yes, there will always be those who don’t want to earn an honest days’ pay out there, and those individuals should be found and brought to task. They leech money and resources sorely needed by people that, like me, have an honest entitlement to the assistance (not always monetary) they receive. But to take the easy approach, and target those with little means to defend themselves is morally despicable.
As is maliciously grassing on people, with no justification, evidence or reason to commit wrongful acts, and hoping that they ‘get their come-uppence’. What isn’t realised is that by doing this, the accused, even where innocent, faces the loss of several income streams, some of which pay for rent/mortgage and basic needs like food and power. No one appointed you judge and jury, and instead of involving themselves in such petty acts, they should really concentrate on cleaning up the sad, sordid messes that are their own lives first.
One grass in particular I see every day. Get a life, loser, and mind your business. I have enough on my plate with just staying alive, without you getting all moral and high-minded on me. And, like all of the other pseudo-principled maggots called grasses out there, I truly wish you would be man enough to express your views to me face to face. But you won’t, so until that day comes, fuck off, and find a bus lane to lie down in.
Because no one will miss you. Especially me.