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The benefit scrounger myth

On 16 Mar 2013 at 11:25am Clifford wrote:
This report may interest some readers - though i doubt if the usual suspects will accept it (and some won't even understand it).

Check it out here »
On 16 Mar 2013 at 12:30pm slightly suspect wrote:
That is quite interesting as it seems to be saying very few people are on long term JSA. The fact remains there are a large number of families who are dependent on Tax credits to maintain a reasonable standard of living. I am fascinated as to how our economy will cope with declining demand for unskilled labour. It is certainly preferable for people to be occupied rather than idle but is someone who is supported via text credits really fully employed?
On 16 Mar 2013 at 1:21pm Ed Can Do wrote:
Whilst it is interesting that the persentage of JSA claimants on long-term benefits hasn't dramatically increased recently and that it represents a relatively small proportion of those on JSA, it's still quite a lot of people in total. Thiose statistics also say nothing about the number of people who exist not on JSA but on Disability Living Allowance and have self-certified themselves for that. I've no idea of the actual numbers but I suspect the replacement with a means-tested universal allowance will see a few people shifted from medically unable to work to just not having a job.
On 16 Mar 2013 at 1:50pm SHS wrote:
There are so many benefits and entitlements with names that are changed every year that a statistic about one such benefit in particular tells us very little about the rising number of benefit claimants ('scrounger' is wrong - if the govt has the money to offer it, why not take it?).
SS - 'how our economy will cope with declining demand for unskilled labour'? Demand is actually rising and will continue to rise, as the Asian countries leap ahead of us in education and skills. Unfortunately current govt policy is to avoid the label 'unskilled' and give everyone either a grand title, a degree in anything from "social communication media in the 4th century" to "leisure management" or simply to kill them off in NHS hospitals.
On 16 Mar 2013 at 7:22pm Boris wrote:
In the words of HMRC ,Tax Credits are not a benefit but a means tested credit.
On 16 Mar 2013 at 7:28pm bastian wrote:
careful clifford, you might court the trolls for trying to balance the books.
On 16 Mar 2013 at 8:42pm J MacLiar wrote:
Bastian, you are a troll you numpty
On 17 Mar 2013 at 6:31am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Disability Living Allowance is not awarded by self-certification, ECD. The assessment process is a complex one, and no-one is likely to get a DLA award without strong supporting medical evidence.
It is a benefit paid to those in work as well as those unable to work. It is not means-tested and the award, and level of award, is based solely on the extent to which the claimant is unable to carry out everyday tasks without help and the amount of care they need to manage to care for themselves (care element) and get around (mobility element).
Tax credits are a way of topping up low earnings, and I fear that to some extent the taxpayer is subsidising low pay through the tax credit system.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 11:02am Ed Can Do wrote:
When I broke my hip a few years back, I was better off quitting my job and claiming benefits than trying to live off statutory sick pay for the three months it took me to walk properly again. I had to go to a medical assessment after two months and they were more than happy to continue my benefits indefinately despite me telling them I was getting better and would be back to working within a month. It's not exactly the most rigourous assessment process is what I'm saying and it would take very, very little effort to blag it, at least that's my experience.

In the end it worked out fine because I was indeed back in work as soon as I could walk and in a much better job than the one I left but I'm moderately convinced that should I have chosen not to bother with work anymore I could have managed to stay on medical benefits for a significant period. If nothing else, I could have told the doc that being off work had made me depressed and signed myself off for as long as I wanted.

There are tons of people who genuinely rely on benefits which is what the system is for but sadly, it's far too easy to play the system and trotting out all the statistics you want won't change the fact that there are people in this country who simply can't be bothered to work and have no intention of ever doing so and the system we currently have lets them do that and carrying the dead weight of these people in our economy is unsustainable. I couldn't tell you how many people nationwide this applies to, I'm speaking from personal experience of actual people I know. It's not political rhetoric, it's me saying that I've had enough of paying for people to live in free houses and get given free cars and enough cash to go on two holidays a year who have no intention of ever getting up and going to work while I work every hour possible to scrape enough money together to eat each month.

Now maybe it is a really rare case but I know at least three families this applies to so please don't tell me it's a political myth because I've seen it in action.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 1:10pm Ed won't do wrote:
So Ed, you quit your job and then claimed benefits, I trust you waited the correct period for claiming benefits after choosing to make yourself out of work? You did this to claim extra benefits? You don't any actual know any facts about the nationals or local benefits landscape but you have some anecdotal rumour about 3 families (friends?) who are blaggers? You haven't grassed them up? So to sum it up, you have blagged yourself extra benefits, you have blaggers that you know and done nothing about but you want somebody to fix a problem you don't really know exists and you thought your brilliant prose on the Lewes forum would inspire a cultural change in the UK? Ed Can Do nothing other than talk sh1t, incriminate himself and generally be a wast of space! Are you proud?
On 17 Mar 2013 at 1:37pm Ed Can Do wrote:
I trust you have your parents permission to be using the computer? You're learning some new vocabulary though, "Anecdotal" is a pretty long word for you, did they teach you that on In The Night Garden?
On 17 Mar 2013 at 1:44pm Ed wont do wrote:
Hey, at least I'm not a self confessed benefits cheat. What did your parent do to you to make you such a misanthrop?
On 17 Mar 2013 at 5:55pm bastian wrote:
ed can do, it's a troll alert! likes to call other a troll but doesn't actually understand what it means, changes name regularly. Webbo, how many posting names at that IP address? can we do something about it so the adults can continue a sensible discussion.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 6:50pm Arsetian wrote:
Ooo, poor little bastian. Is your gang being picked on, quickly call mummy! Don't like it do you, when people challenge you for spewing sh1t. It's ok when you advocate burning people though. Typical bully, give it out but can't take it! W@anker!
On 17 Mar 2013 at 7:51pm Southover Queen wrote:
It takes one to know one, Arsetian, although in this case you've got it wrong. Bastian isn't a bully: he's someone who is willing to stick up for what he believes in, sometimes in the face of a lot of abuse. Good for him.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 8:31pm bastian wrote:
Thank you SQ, there have indeed been posters on here who are just dull because they don't know how to talk without insults. I pity them.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 8:36pm bastian wrote:
could it be? ...oh could it be ERNESTO?
On 17 Mar 2013 at 8:38pm bastian wrote:
posting under these names : j macliar.Utalks hit.ed can't do.value set. ds. dick strange.retard. selfish twister. and really.
On 17 Mar 2013 at 9:54pm Man Love wrote:
Bastian, who's ernesto, your boyfriend?
On 18 Mar 2013 at 8:56am m wrote:
Just a small comment here but David Cameron is fond of citing individual cases of families in the UK whose benefits cost the British taxpayer over £30,000 per year. But each and every family in the Falkland Islands costs the British taxpayer ten times that ?? something which Cameron does not detail.
We can well afford the level of benefits that are being paid at the moment.
On 18 Mar 2013 at 3:17pm brixtonbelle wrote:
ED can Do - I think you have been slightly disengenuous really. Your personal experience does not make a cogent argument. Ed Wont Do does have a point about leaving a job to claim benefits. Have YOU been claiming fraudulently ? If so, the anecdotal evidence of knowing three 'scroungers' seems pretty hypocritical - do you really know their individual circumstances so well that you know for sure they are screwing the system ? And if so - what's preventing you reporting them ?

Personally I think there's a lot of demonising that goes on in the press, and there's probably very few people who are actually 'scroungers' as defined by the daily heil and daily depress. As an example - well look what I did above - I cast aspersions on Ed can Do, running with an accusation already made. See how easy it is ?

I'd love to see some real figures though, but it's very hard to find any analysis, anything definitive or factual about the amount of money that is fraudulently claimed through the benefits system, and what percentage it accounts for.

On 18 Mar 2013 at 4:51pm Local wrote:
m - remind me of the quantum of the deficit please. "We can well afford..."
On 18 Mar 2013 at 5:36pm E£d Can Do wrote:
I did nothing fraudulent and I won't apologise for what I did. I was medically unable to work as I couldn't walk so I claimed the benefits that were available. As soon as I was able to work again, I got a job.

The point I was trying to make is that the system as it is is geared towards rewarding people to not work. I had a genuine medical issue and whilst it affected my ability to work, I claimed benefits for a couple of months. There are some people I know personally (So not anecdotal) who would be entirely capable of getting a job if the system as it exists did not make it easier and more profitable for them to not work.

Having an unspecified back problem that medical science can neither fix nor account for that seems to flare up particularly badly come medical assessment day does not, I would suggest, preclude you from earning a living but the system is such that you are given the opportunity to turn living on benefits into a lifestyle choice. I would suggest that there are a lot of people around who given the choice of working for some money or not working for the same if not more money woud choose the former option and our benefits system as it stands makes this possible.

There is a lot of demonising goes on and your example of casting aspertions on me is fine, especially given that I have a job and work jolly hard at it, people are welcome to say and think what they want about me, I honestly don't care. I think there is a danger though that in worrying about unfairly painting some benefits claimants as scroungers is to miss that point that some benefits claimants ARE scroungers, Not as many as the press would have you believe but enough that it's worth doing something about it.
On 18 Mar 2013 at 11:03pm Southover Queen wrote:
Anecdotal, in a context where you're offering evidence for a society wide phenomenon, means stories about people you know and drawing a broader inference from them. Your evidence is absolutely anecdotal Ed. The Daily Mail does it all the time - find an egregious and extreme example of something and present it as if it's commonplace. I'm not saying you were being deliberately misleading; it's just not reliable evidence.

I completely agree about the demonising that goes on - that's part of this government's insidious rhetoric about the deserving and undeserving poor (they don't actually attach those labels but I think we know what they mean). The true figure (the DWP's own, I believe) for people fraudulently claiming disability related allowances is something like .5%. Or five people in a *thousand*. Ask a man in the street and he'll say anything from 25% to 60% - that's the power of this propaganda.

For the record, I've never claimed any kind of state benefits, apart from two weeks housing benefit to pay my rent in my final year at university. I don't know whether that makes my opinion valid or not; it seems pretty irrelevant to me.
On 19 Mar 2013 at 12:23am Realist wrote:
The word benefit doesn't really help, more of a necessity.
On 19 Mar 2013 at 12:44pm Hang On... wrote:
I have NEVER claimed any kind of state benefits (well, apart from the time I did). Nice one SQ.
On 19 Mar 2013 at 8:22pm Southover Queen wrote:
Two weeks in 40 years. Oh yeah, just another scrounger.
On 19 Mar 2013 at 11:39pm My Two Cents wrote:
I hate the way that people seem to paint unemployed benefits claimers as leeches sucking money from the tax payer, especially in times like this. What makes me mad more than anything is when the government decides that benefits must be cut because "they are better off on the dole" well, rather than make benefits worse, why don't you actually make work pay? In this day and age, with inflation and everything else, the minimum wage just does not pay for the cost of living regardless of the hours you put in.
On 20 Mar 2013 at 3:10pm brixtonbelle wrote:
While we're at it on the benefits confession front....
- I've worked since I was 14 - first at a Saturday job, then part time whilst at 6th form college, then part time whilst at Uni. The only time I claimed benefits was for about 6 months following uni when jobs were scarce (mid eighties) for arts graduates and during that time legally took on cash in hand jobs (declared to the unemployment office - I think you were allowed to work 16 hours a week before it affected your benefits) to help pay the rent and poll tax, which wasn't completely covered by housing benefit. I then retrained on a special government scheme running at that time to enable to get a foot in the job market and have been working ever since - a good 27 years (yikes).

I don't begrudge paying tax and some of that tax going to benefits claimants. Most of them are honest and in need. (Unlike some bankers/business fraudsters). It's a mark of a civiised society to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
On 20 Mar 2013 at 4:35pm bastian wrote:
I have never claimed benefits and have always had a job that has just ticked over, just enough to get by on. But I would fight to the death to ensure that someone who was disablewd or to sick to work can be looked after out of my taxes, it is a mark of civilisation that we care for others...because one day it might be us who needs the help. Someone said the other day," getting old isn't a life style choice". We don't know what's ahead of us, our jobs could dry up over night, our pension will die with it, then we will need assistance.

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