Tag Archives: overpayment

DWP Carers Allowance ‘crackdown’ will harm thousands – who save the government BILLIONS

People on Carers Allowance save the government more than £14 BILLION every year because they receive a pittance instead of the average wage for their efforts. Now the Tories want to penalise thousands of carers with a spurious claim that they have been overpaid even that tiny amount.

The Conservative Party’s latest attack on the sick and disabled will undermine the people who help them with their daily needs – their carers.

At last count, 826,000 carers provided at least 35 hours of care every week to someone who receives a qualifying disability benefit. Currently they receive £66.15 per week for this service – just £1.89 per hour.

The current minimum wage (or the National Living Wage if you want to use the Tories’ lie) is £8.21 per hour, so carers are clearly being paid well below the minimum wage.

But the average pay for a care worker in the UK is around £12 per hour, or £21,000 per year.

From this we can deduce that, if the government had to employ care workers to do the same work as people on Carers Allowance, the drain on the national purse would be an extra £17,550 per year.

That’s £14,496,300,000 per year!

And the Tory-run DWP is complaining about £150 million – a paltry one ninety-sixth of that staggering total.

That is the amount the hated government department for welfare persecution intends to take back from people it claims have received too much Carers Allowance at any time over the last 10 years.

Only 80,000 carers will be affected, but some will be hit with a bill of more than £20,000 – which will take 34 years to pay off at the current repayment rate.

These carers would not only be paying for their own error in failing to notify the DWP of changes in their earnings at an appropriate time, but also for the DWP’s failure to detect those changes by its own means.

The DWP classifies 89% of the value of overpayments as claimant error or fraud, which will need to be repaid. But fraud accounts for 0.6 per cent of this total.

This means 99.4 per cent of affected carers may be penalised for mistakes by the DWP.

The plan to claw back the overpayments was revealed in a report by the National Audit Office, which warned that the DWP had – as is typical of that department – neglected to consider the impact the imposition of repayments will have on some of the most vulnerable families in the UK.

Frank Field, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, summed it all up:

“Once again, the NAO has devastatingly laid bare the incompetence at DWP, and its stark human cost.

“Not for the first time, we see DWP squeezing those least able to afford it. It will chase down carers who provide such an immense service to our society, potentially cutting their income for decades – when it knows that a large part of the responsibility lies squarely at its own door.

“Worse still, the NAO shows that DWP hasn’t bothered to find out what clawing back these sums will cost carers and the people they care for, in every sense.

“There was already plenty wrong with the way we recognise carers’ invaluable contribution. Rather than making things worse, why doesn’t the Department just spare us all: end this massive scandal, focus on the real fraudsters and write off the overpayments it has allowed to build up unchecked?”

I’ll tell you the reason.

It’s because the Conservatives – through the DWP – want to hurt these most vulnerable members of our society.

Indeed, they hope that sanctioning thousands of pounds from carers – and in effect from the disabled people they support, as many will be caring for family members or loved ones – will make it impossible for them to cope.

They want to push these people into the kind of despair that causes mental imbalance and drives people towards death – either due to physical illnesses caused by the lack of money (consider the case of Stephen Smith) or by suicide (there are too many example of this to count).

Death by benefit deprivation has been the Conservatives’ plan for many years and this is simply the latest stage of that plan.

Source: Thousands being handed fines of up to £20,000 in Carer’s Allowance crackdown – Mirror Online

EXTRA: A commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page has pointed out that I could be neglecting to mention billions of pounds more that the government is saving, by not having to pay for sick and disabled people to live in care homes.

This person wrote: “When you say that the ‘official’ care workers are usually paid £12 per hour, or £21,000 per year, you don’t take into account the fact that many of the carers on £66.15 per week are caring for people who would otherwise be in a care home.

“If the disabled person was in a care home then this would cost the taxpayer considerably more, in some cases over £1,000 per week.”

Fair point?


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Tax avoidance – the latest from Twitter

141102taxavoidancememe

This infographic appeared on Twitter yesterday. At a time when it has been revealed that the richest people in the UK doubled their income between 2009 and 2014, proving that the Coalition government lied about sharing the burden equally, it seems appropriate to share it.

Supporting information on the £120 billion figure can be found here and here.

The HMRC figure is harder to pin down but a claim that it amounted to £32 billion can be found here.

The claim that £16 billion in benefits goes unclaimed every year seems to date from 2010 and may be lower than the actual amount.

Benefit fraud and error is enumerated in this DWP report which shows that the infographic is mistaken about overpayments due to error – these stand at £2.4 billion, not £1.4 billion.

Information showing that the 1,000 richest people in the UK doubled their incomes between 2009 and 2014 can be found here.

David Cameron has vowed (yet again) to crack down on tax avoidance. A report is here

But you can safely leave any words he has to say on the subject here:

dustbin

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
analysing the information so you have the facts a your fingertips!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron’s ‘mission’ is morally bankrupt

140117democracy

When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.

When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.

That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.

Cameron has been responding after the Catholic Bishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, delivered a vehement attack on the social security “reforms” being forced on the country’s most vulnerable people by Iain Duncan Smith.

In the Daily Telegraph, Cameron smarmed: “Our long-term economic plan for Britain is not just about doing what we can afford, it is also about doing what is right… Nowhere is that more true than in welfare. For me the moral case for welfare reform is every bit as important as making the numbers add up.

“We are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around,” Cameron said. “That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit.

“But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone – they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.

“Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart too of our social and moral mission in politics today.”

Drivel. Any evidence-based analysis will find the exact opposite. Where are the opportunities in Workfare schemes that pay only benefits, meaning travel expenses alone put claimants out of pocket, and then send jobseekers back to the dole queue so rich companies can profit further by taking on more claimants on the same terms?

How can anyone derive hope from taking responsibility for their job search, when DWP staff at Jobcentre Plus are ordered to ignore their own responsibilities in favour of harsh sanctions for invented infringements of the Jobseeker’s Agreement?

And how is encouraging people to say they are self-employed, even though they have little chance of earning enough to support them and none of enjoying a holiday or a pension, different from writing them off with no chance?

Look at the new employment figures from the Office for National Statistics – the Coalition government has been making a song and dance about them ever since they came out. On the face of it, they seem reliable: In December 2013, 30.15 million people were in work of some kind, up by 396,000 from the same time the previous year; there were 2.34 million unemployed, down 161,000 from December 2012; and the Claimant Count (those on Jobseekers’ Allowance) was 1.22 million in January, down 327,000 from a year earlier.

However, the number of people marked as self-employed has rocketed to a record level, totalling one in seven of the workforce. That’s 4,370,000 – up 150,000 on the previous year. This is extremely suspicious, as the increase in the previous year totalled 25,000 – just one-sixth of this week’s figure.

Some of these people might be genuinely self-employed and making their new business work – but all of them? In an economy where productivity hasn’t increased since the Coalition took office? You’d have to be stupid to believe that.

Assuming the amount of real self-employment has increased in line with economic growth (at 1.9 per cent), that’s an extra 25,475 in 2013, leaving 124,525 in limbo. Are these really self-employed? Or were they told by Jobcentre advisors to say so and claim working tax credits (as we’ve seen in the past), leading to a huge debt when HMRC tells them they have been claiming fraudulently and have been overpaid?

How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to sanctions? We don’t know, because we don’t have figures up to December 2013. We do know that 897,690 sanctions were enforced in the year to September 2013. We don’t know how many were for one month, how many for three months or how many for three years, but we do know that the rate was six per cent of jobseekers per month in the three months to the end of September 2013. Assuming that rate stayed solid, it suggests that 73,200 were off-benefit due to sanctions in December and should be added to the Claimant Count to give a more accurate figure.

How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to Workfare? We don’t know. How many are unemployed but on Universal Credit, which isn’t included in the Claimant Count? We don’t know – 3,610 were on it at the end of November last year, but the DWP has not divided them into those in work and those without.

David Cameron has access to all of this information, and he doesn’t care. He also has access to the mortality figures for claimants of Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance, that the DWP has been withholding from the rest of us, probably for fear of sparking an international outcry. He doesn’t care about that either.

His comments are therefore doubly outrageous – not only is he claiming that his Coalition’s changes are having a beneficial effect when the figures demonstrate the opposite, but he is also claiming the moral high ground when his actions are more appropriate to the populace of the Pit.

In terms of his morality, there can be only one description for him and his cronies:

Bankrupt.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political is an independent political blog.
We don’t receive any funding other than contributions from readers.
Vox Political cannot continue without YOUR help.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Jail the DWP fraudsters who tried to fix UK unemployment figures!

[Image from a post on Facebook]

[Image from a post on Facebook]

Iain Duncan Smith and everybody else associated with this scam should be facing charges and the possibility of imprisonment, rather than re-election next year.

Let’s be honest about this: The government hasn’t messed up by omitting Universal Credit claimants from the official unemployment benefit claimant count – the Department for Work and Pensions messed up by admitting this had happened.

It means we may be looking at a long-term attempt to defraud the electorate. The plan seems clear: When the general election finally takes place next year, Iain Duncan Smith would have claimed that his policies have been a brilliant success in creating jobs and cutting down the number of people claiming benefits.

If people are convinced that the DWP has succeeded in cutting the amount of money being paid out in benefits – the burden on the taxpayer – then they are more likely to vote for the Conservatives. Electoral victory means more money for everybody involved – what’s known as a pecuniary advantage.

But the claim has been made by deception. Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception is the dictionary definition of criminal fraud.

There can be no doubt that the omission was deliberate. When it comes to fiddling the official figures, the DWP has ‘form’ going back for years. Look at the lies about the benefit cap pushing people into work; the way people on ESA were encouraged to say they were self-employed and claim tax credits – even though this is not permitted and they were racking up a huge overpayment.

Look at the abuses of the sanction system; look at the abuses of the IB/ESA work capability assessment; look at the number of successful appeals against the DWP that have been kept out of official figures.

The claimant count, which provides the headline unemployment figure, is the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance every month – and has been for many years.

But Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship (if the ship was the Titanic) Universal Credit is up and running – on an extremely limited basis – in certain pilot areas of the country, and people without a job in those areas should be included in the claimant count.

This has not happened. It is possible that this is yet another oversight by Mr Duncan Smith, the government’s top bungler (indeed, he was recently voted favourite cabinet minister by ConservativeHome, so he must be doing something right, and the thing he does most often is make mistakes).

Mr Duncan Smith himself would disagree, however. He has claimed repeatedly and vehemently that his department does not make mistakes with statistics; that everything done on his watch has been justified and that everybody at the DWP is entirely competent.

So we must accept that there was a decision to keep Universal Credit claimants out of the claimant count, meaning that there was a decision to make it seem there are fewer people unemployed than is actually the case.

This seems to be supported by the complaint from the Office for National Statistics, which publishes unemployment figures. The wording runs as follows: “The DWP have not been able to supply ONS with this information in a way that has allowed its inclusion within the Claimant Count [italics mine], resulting in the exclusion of UC claims from this measure.”

This implies that the DWP is perfectly capable of supplying the figures in a manageable way but has deliberately done otherwise.

Further indication that DWP officials knew exactly what they were doing comes from a spokeswoman’s response to this affair, published in the Daily Mirror: “We have been fully transparent in publishing the number of people claiming Universal Credit.

“To ensure consistency the Department released these figures alongside the employment statistics. Universal Credit is both an in- and out-of-work benefit so some claimants may be working.”

In that case, the DWP cannot have been “fully transparent”, can it? Transparency would have required the department to separate UC into “in-work” and “out-of-work” claims, and we have no evidence that this has happened. Until it does, neither the ONS nor the rest of us have any way of knowing how many people are unemployed in the UK.

This has been going on for nearly a year, as Universal Credit was rolled out in its first pilot area in April last year. This means that all unemployment statistics since then have been falsified by the DWP and unemployment figures have been higher than claimed.

The Labour Party has tried to paint this as incompetence, but it is wrong to do so.

This was deliberate, premeditated disinformation.

Now the deception has been uncovered, they are unrepentant.

Perhaps someone should remind them that fraud is still a crime.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political deplores criminal activity – especially by the government.
But the site needs funds if it is to continue exposing this behaviour.
In short: Vox Political cannot continue without YOUR help.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook