Sunday, 9 October 2011

Search for the perfect Scrounger

Job Description :

Must have absolutely nothing wrong with them.

Must "claim" child has ADHD or similar when in fact we all know they are just "naughty" and it's really all down to "bad parenting".

Must drive BMW or better, all paid for under the motability scheme.

Must live in (at least 8 bed) mansion in Chelsea, paid for entirely with Housing Benefit.

Must have at least 5 children, all by different fathers. (Applicants with no partner only, sorry)

Must never have had any assessments at all for Incapacity Benefit or Disability Living Allowance, yet, must have been claiming for 10 years or more without ever working.

Must definitely not be of white, British origin.

Must smoke, drink, and generally spend any state monies on food with zero nutrition.

Must require a swimming pool for "joint therapy", a crate of champagne a week for "social interaction" and a pony for "exercise"

If you know anyone who fits any of these requirements, (in real life, not just a woman your neighbour knows) please send details to The Daily Mail, as they are having some difficulty finding anyone at all to actually quote in their "stories"

UPDATE : The Daily Mail "story" that inspired this post has been roundly proved to be utter bunkum by Full Fact here  . As usual. Because they always lie. Zzzzzzzzzzz

28 comments:

  1. What always "amuses" me is the faulty logic that goes along the lines of "everyone has heard of someone who is fiddling the system", therefore there must be a lot of fraud.

    Think about this for a minute. Then consider this. Everyone has heard of someone who is prime minister. Therefore there must be a lot of prime ministers running around. We should put an end to this abuse of power immediately!

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    1. I would venture also permanently!

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  2. LoopyS, of course most people don't directly know the prime minister but I'll pick up on your point and probably make a blog-post about it with graphs demonstrating an issue I have with these anecdotes we're always hearing.

    It starts with the Kevin Bacon game: any screen actor can be linked to Kevin Bacon through the films they've been in to the sum of just three degrees. For example, Robin Williams; who was in Mrs Doubtfire with Sally Field, who was in Forest Gump with Tom Hanks, who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.

    But it goes further than that; anyone in the English-speaking world can be linked to Kevin Bacon through no more than six degrees through the medium of interpersonal relationships. Kevin Bacon worked with Bryan Singer on the last X-Men film, who worked with Patrick Stewart in earlier X-Men films and already I've managed to get my relationship with Kevin Bacon to reach Yorkshire by the third degree. Patrick Stewart used to frequent a Yorkshire pub where he was on first-name terms with my care worker from school. Five degrees, I am linked to Kevin Bacon. It could even be less but I just don't know.

    But if Kevin Bacon can be linked to anyone in the English-speaking world, then anyone can be linked to anyone and they don't have to be Kevin Bacon. The fraud prevalence rate for disability benefits are half a percent each, so we start with a 1 in 200 chance that each person knows someone committing disability benefit fraud but this doesn't account for geographic demographics: someone committing fraud is probably poor and living in a poor area with other poor people. The rich are less likely to have regular contact with frauds, but even then the chances of actually knowing someone on the fiddle is very low.

    But if the average person has 4 immediate family members- mother, father, brother, sister or more if they are a parent, then about 20 friends, neighbours and work colleagues, their chances of knowing at least one person committing fraud has drastically gone up even though there prevalence of 1/200 is still the same. It magnifies the appearance of the problem. Even if someone doesn't know a person doing fraud, they are likely to know someone who does know a person falsely claiming.

    So there are people who are really earnest and sincere in their anecdotes about people they know who are cheating the system. But they're just not able to see how a small statistical prevalence can be compatible with many people knowing a fraud. This also doesn't take into account just pure ignorance and maliciousness: the benefit fraud hotline gets about 600 calls a day and they're nearly all rubbish.

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  3. Thanks for that, Mason Dixon. It's something I've always thought when seeing these anecdotes, but I've never put it into words, so it helps that someone has.

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  4. These key questions remains unanswered – the true and factual reason as to WHY, WHEN and BY WHOM it was originally decided to commit genocide against the sick and disabled? The passing of years and laboriously ploughing through millions of words later I am no closer to these answers.
    Think of media and PM’s as nothing more than puppets that only do things when their strings are pulled.

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    Replies
    1. Its probably too late for you to notice my reply but I think the answer lies 32y ago when Margaret Thatcher was elected and decided to dismantle the post war consensus:

      http://think-left.org/2012/03/05/transnational-corporations-have-not-let-a-good-crisis-go-to-waste/

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  5. I commented on that article as yellinthedark pointing out the errors in its arguments and I got red arrowed over 200 times. I was ever so proud of that. Having so many people giving me a red arrow just because I pointed out the truth shows that they are not actually interested in truth, only in vilifying the sick and disabled. One comment even accused me of being a typical Labour voter!

    When I commented a second time pointing out that DLA, Incapacity Benefit, ESA and Carer's Allowance are all taxable, so people in receit of those benefits are taxpayers too, they didn't publish. What a surprise!

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    Replies
    1. Its gladiatorial sport to throw the sick and disabled to the lions and the mobs cheering it on

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  6. I know a man............

    who has worked, apart from a period of 6 months, all his life

    who paid vast amount of taxes

    who brought up a family, cared for his parents, supported his wife who was a carer too

    who has just received a diagnosis that has ended his employment, an illness that will worsen in time

    who has claimed benefits only to have every door shut in his/their face

    who was responsible enough to take insurance out re mortgage but jury still out on that one

    who has been awarded ESA and before payment been received now has to fill form in re Atos medical

    So for 35 yrs he has paid in to a system but when he applies for support, it is not there.

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    Replies
    1. You and I both, this is the vast majority of people who are genuinely in need who are being ignored by a system set in place to deny that which I think has been paid for by your and my taxes (at 40%). We who have paid into the system and paid our taxes when ill through no fault of our own have to contend with the broken social contract this government has imposed while using so called cheats and abusers as the means to harass everyone

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  7. What about the "everyone knows someone who knows someone who is allegedly committing benefit fraud" scenario?

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  8. Psst, I know someone who is working, they are not claiming benefits at all just working very hard for family. But i am going to report him because there may become a time when he needs some help and i don't want him to get any help what so ever. I dont want this person to become a benefit scrounger taking away other peoples hard earned money just like other people have been taking his hard earned money through no fault of their own.

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  9. Its a laugh aint it the good old Daily Fail at it again with support from DWP, and the failed x prime minister who tell us that work is good even if we cant manage it. But you know people will listen and read and thats whats happening here. Interestingly enough i read that the NHS bill could be totally blocked by peers (Laugh)and Labour have stated that they would support another look into it. Where is the support for the WRB from them when needed where is thier voice in papers. I would like to see a fund started by all disabled and normal people in order to take to human rights court if need be.

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  10. Mason, my point about the prime minister is, of course, an oversimplification and taken to extremes.

    However I've found it pretty effective in order to show people that there can be significant overlap in fraud stories for one thing. And just because many people truthfully say they have heard of people doing something doesn't mean that there are many people doing that thing. There is not necessarily a one to one ratio.

    In fact, due to the large number of well publicised benefit fraud stories which tend to stick in the public's mind, I would bet it is a very much smaller ratio.

    Likewise, stories spread, particularly the bad ones. So the same story can be repeated again and again. However due to the "chinese whispers" effect, sometimes it may end up looking like a different story.

    I don't think people are lying when they say they have "heard of a person who (...)". But the mistake is to make the leap to thinking that therefore there are lots of people doing the same.

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  11. LoopyS - when people say that, I always think that maybe they should be more careful with the sort of people they mix with. I've never met anyone "fiddling the system" (although I do have suspicions that a few people I know might possibly have accountants carefully stretching the rules of the income tax system).

    Most people I know work hard and happily pay large amounts of tax to support the unfortunate few who cannot.

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  12. Part of the reason that almost all actors and actresses are linked to Kevin Bacon in 6 degrees or fewer is that most performers who have had a long career have worked with all sorts of people. Someone I knew at uni was in a TV film as a younger version of a character played by Richard Briars, who was in a Shakespeare film with Keanu Reeves, who is 2 or 3 degrees from nearly anyone famous ...

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  13. We are not alone we are The 99%
    http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/post/11138908944
    Click ← Previous post • Next post → at bottom of the page to read more disabled and other stories. Each with a photo.

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  14. "the benefit fraud hotline gets about 600 calls a day and they're nearly all rubbish." said Mason Dixon.

    How many is nearly all?
    Say it is 10 out of 600 a day?
    That is still 3,650 a year genuine benefit fraudsters being reported,would you say that was a lot?

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  15. Anonymous @12:23

    You've just made the exact mistake I was talking about.

    Even if 10 calls were genuine, they could all be about the same person.
    10 genuine calls a day does NOT mean 3,650 benefit fraudsters.

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  16. Richard Littlejohn featured the story in his article on Tuesday and basically said it would be better if disabled people drove the light blue invalid carriages that were used in the 70's. I'm old enough to remember the appalling nickname these vehicles were given.He obviously sees nothing wrong with stigmatizing people who have mobility difficulties.

    On Friday he went on to suggest that unemployed people were not doing enough to find work. As we as employing Richard Littlejohn the Mail also employs his daughter who thinks journalism consists of simply making bitchy comments to celebrity pictures. I wonder how many hoops his daughter had to jump through to get that cushy job?

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  17. Littlejohns point is probably that if motability cars were still those little blue things we wouldn't have had the massive increase in people claiming the need for a motability car that we have had recently.My neighbour has had four motability cars,he is not disabled, he walks without a stick and plays bowls,the system is abused.

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    1. Then why have you not reported him ?? Its easy to moan about fraudsters but very few will do something about it. I'm disabled on DLA and haven't worked for many years. But I looked after my elderly/disabled parents rather than sticking them in a home. I also nursed my brother after a serious car accident for two years as well as looking after our parents. At the same time I brougfht up two girls on my own after my "ex" couldn't cope with my nursing relatives and left to live abroad. At the same time my youngest girl was diagnosed as a child of special needs. The only help I got was being told "Put your daughter in an institution as she will be a vegetable all her life" my parents lived their lives in their own home cared for by me til they died, my brother eventually recovered enough to get his life back after being cared fore by me, my daughter with constant help & support from me, went to main stream school and catering college and ias bringing up two lovely kiddies with my help. Yes theres been mistakes been made and tears of frustration but as I trained as a nurse, it was only right that I put those skills to good use after I left nursing to become a full time Mum. Neither of my girls has been involved with drugs or drink, the eledest has a good partner, unfortunately the youngest is on her own (Except for my help & support) But I think I've done my share of keeping the payments to my family down by not going the easier route of letting others look after them. And I'm disabled from nursing mentally handicapped patients some of whom were violent and heavy and some were bedridden or all three, my back is disintegrating into dust due to overwork. And I dont have any car as I'm not allowed to drive due to having strokes......

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  18. Anonymous @ 20 October 2011 22:12

    Motability is not a hand out, it is a vehicle paid for out of someone's DLA benefit. DLA is granted to *equalise* society for those who would otherwise have greater expenditure due to how society disables them. There could be any number of reasons as to why you see him walking or playing bowls: I know of one person who has a very severe form of diabetes, another with chronic fatigue syndrome, another with complex-PTSD who require mobility support, all of whom would be classed as 'able bodied' by appearance alone.

    Disabled people do not come pre-packaged in your particular make/model of stereotype. Sorry about that.

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  19. I am a fraud
    I have been a fraud for the last 3 yrs
    I have issues within my body
    I have issues within my mind
    I have issues with friends and family
    I have issues with the meds i take
    I have lots of issues but fraud isnt one of them

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  20. Working in benefit fraud, last year I identified benefit overpayment of about £200k, now in my team we have 10 investigators so £200k x 10 = £2million of benefit fraud in one area alone. That is benefit fraud that has been investigated and a positive outcome recorded. The number of investigations we do is something in the region of 10% of those reported. The other 90% are of such low quality that we cannot investigate. As for the number of benefit fraudsters. The DWP prosecuted 12k last year, and a further 25k were issued with a formal caution or an administrative penalty.

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    1. Was all of this £200K overpayment actually fraud? I thought that the majority of overpayment was caused by genuine mistakes - by DWP staff as well as claimants.
      Do you have any staff investigating underpayment and unclaimed benefits, which I understand are at least 5 times what is overpaid?
      I suspect that many who don't claim are like my late father-in-law. He worked all his adult life (including Army service in WWII), paid his taxes and NI, until he retired. Then he was too proud to accept "state charity" - benefits he was entitled to but didn't claim - even though they would have made life easier for him in his declining years.
      I've seen lots of TV and press campaigns warning benefit scroungers, but never one encouraging people to claim their entitlements. Doesn't DWP have responsibilities in both directions?

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  21. Pleased to discover your blog post and the fantastic pictures that you've often!

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  22. Hi,
    I don't know if this is the right thing to do, but I am concerned about the government proposals to sell off part of the NHS Blood Service (Plasma Services UK). I wonder if you would be able to circulate the following information and draw attention to the petition. Thanks.
    The government is planning to sell off Plasma Resources UK, the firm responsible for supplying blood plasma products to the NHS, to a private contractor.

    1. Blood plasma is essential for the treatment of many conditions, including burns, shock and major trauma; immune disorders and neurological conditions; protecting unborn children from haemolytic diseases. Possibly best known plasma product is Factor VIII used to treat around 3,000 haemophilia patients.

    2. The profit impetus may compel any company taking over services to cut corners in order to make return. This could have devastating consequences for patient safety should contaminated, poorly packaged or improperly labelled products reach frontline healthcare services.

    Please consider signing the petition at http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/blood-plasma and stop the sell off of this important public service.

    Mr. Lansley has already been party to breaking up the Blood Transfusion Service (NHSBT) in 2011. It is the part that he has separated off that he is looking to sell off. That company is Plasma Resources UK (PRUK), the principal supplier of plasma and plasma products to the NHS.
    Blood and Plasma are obviously ‘joined at the hip’. When a donor gives a pint of blood, 55% of that fluid by volume is plasma. Much of today’s service is about producing blood and plasma products for the treatment of a wide range of patients. Treatments using plasma products are no less important than those using blood products. You have only to ‘google’ medical uses of plasma to find out the wonderful way its products can influence patients lives, such as the treatment folk suffering from burns, shock and major trauma; immune disorders and neurological conditions; protecting unborn children from haemolytic diseases. Possibly best known plasma product is Factor VIII used to treat around 3,000 haemophilia patients.

    ReplyDelete