Thursday, July 01, 2010

Credit Agencies Lined Up To PinPoint Benefit Cheats


Like many people in receipt of Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance I live in privately rented accomodation, to be specific the ground floor flat of a Victorian terrace with a maisonette above me. For reasons no-one seems too sure about the property is still registered as one house in some places and as a flat in others. The postcode seems to suffer from a similar dissociative identity disorder. 

There are about a dozen names who still regularly receive post at this address, including people who've run up huge debts on both flats and not left forwarding addresses and at least one company who used this house as their trading address. My phone number previously belonged to Aunty Betsy's nephew and several women being pursued by debt collection agencies. Despite having informed more companies than I can remember, on more occasions than I can count that it is now my address and phone number I still regularly receive phone calls from debt collectors. 

The type of rented property with a history of multiple, frequently changing occupants is all too common. If the debt collection agencies already can't or won't tell the difference between occupants, it is deeply concerning that these kind of features will be used as a flag for potential benefit fraud. 

Here's my old fashioned suggestion to reduce housing benefit fraud - Inspectors! The traditional kind with clipboards who come round, have a quick look at the property and ensure the people living in it is are the people officially receiving the benefit. But that's a practical, workable idea, and one not likely to involve much profit for private companies.... 

 

3 comments:

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

I was in the same position a few years back. Key thing is what it says on the electoral roll I think.

Nottm City Council have already started using credit ref agencies i.e. local boys Experian to chase up people wrongly claiming single person discounts for council tax.

At least that doesn't have the same frag the poor connotations though.

Achelois said...

I keep wanting to post latterly but just can't - in part because you say it all really just more eloquently.

Let them do what they want I have decided they will anyway. Its all so depressing to be honest.

I only get dla - my EDS won't go away - they awarded it to me for life or whatever the wording is. Now apparently I will be re-assessed by a doctor who knows nothing about the rare condition we have in common. Will this change the medical fact. No. I have other associated conditions going on also. Husband who works far to hard anyhow will probably drop down dead from working so hard. he has epilepsy has he ever asked for anything - no. They can look at our bank balances if they like. I spend a lot of money on keeping warm and I mean a lot, well when I say a lot I mean a lot of the little we have! Let them look. All they will find from the majority of honest disabled people is that we are poor and are telling the truth. The fact that it will cost so much money to facilitate all this is meaningless I guess. The private companies again will benefit.

In the meantime if they recind my dla in the future I will probably drop down dead from hyperthermia - cheaper I guess dead. Alternatively they could just shoot the lot of us - Nazi style. If I could swop my condition for a normal life I so would.

The minority of those who defraud the system are easy to spot like you say - a quick home visit.

I agree each time you post on whats currently going on - the whole targetting of the disabled. I admire you for continuing to fight the good fight.

I am afraid I have sort of given up on it all. I claim dla and thats it. If they take it away it won't change the facts of my life and I am no defrauder of anything. No fast cars, no secret stuff just me and shitty EDS.

I always think it must be hard work in itself defrauding the system - I expect those that do it for a living are pretty sick!

When I say I can't comment on your posts latterly its not for any other reason than I just think you say it better and also to be completely honest its too depressing and overwhelming for me to dwell on.

American in Bath said...

Yes, and it would involve employing human beings. Human beings have a tendency to strike and under the current government that means they aren't a workable solution to any problem.

I too live in such a house. There's a woman whose smear is about 4 years late. Her NHS trust refuses to acknowledge that she doesn't live here no matter how many times I check the box.

The house shows up on the tax roles, but it doesn't exist according to all of the other council offices.

And the phone number. I'm sure the last owner of the phone number met her maker many years ago. Still, we get calls.