Benefits and Work: Hundreds of claimants unjustly imprisoned

Benefits and Work: Hundreds of claimants unjustly imprisoned


And update from Benefits and Work’s Steve Donnison  |  12 November 2009

In this newsletter we look at the shocking evidence provided by a welfare benefits expert that every year hundreds of claimants are being unjustly imprisoned because of misleading evidence provided to criminal courts by the DWP.

It’s not possible to prove whether the DWP is providing inaccurate evidence deliberately or whether it is solely through negligence. But, given the department’s desire to get as many tabloid headlines as possible about claimant fraud, many people will reach their own conclusions.

And still on the subject of potentially misleading evidence, we revisit the issue of taping your Atos benefits medical. Regular readers will know that Atos insist that if claimants want to record their examination they must agree to provide, at their own huge expense, a sound engineer and a tape machine capable of making two tapes at the same time.

We discover what happened when one of our members did exactly that.

We couldn’t leave the topic of misleading statements without revisiting the issue of DLA and the proposed National Care Service. Our suspicion that health secretary Andy Burnham’s apparent reassurance about DLA last month left claimants aged 65 and over still under threat is looking increasingly accurate. Burnham failed to answer repeated questions on the subject fired at him by MPs during a debate on the National Care Service.

What’s more, an undertaking to reveal full costings of the new service before the end of the consultation period has now been broken, leaving charities threatening to use the Freedom of Information Act.

That same consultation ends tomorrow. If you haven’t already contributed to the mauling the government’s proposals are receiving on the Big Care debate website, this is your final chance to do so.

Good luck,

Steve Donnison

More secrecy around National Care Service
The government has gone back on a pledge to reveal the true cost of its proposed National Care Service before the green paper consultation period ends on November 13th, prompting further suspicions about the honesty of the whole consultation process.

Burnham refuses to answer DLA questions
Health secretary Andy Burnham repeatedly failed to answer questions about disability living allowance for people aged 65 and over during a commons debate on the care green paper last week.

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Find out how to join Benefits and Work and get instant access to all our downloadable claims and appeals guides, DWP materials, members news items and more.

Hundreds of claimants unjustly imprisoned
Many hundreds of claimants are unjustly imprisoned every year a welfare benefits expert has told MPs . In one case he assisted with, a woman prosecuted for a £47,000 overpayment had in reality under-claimed benefits.

Getting permission to record your medical
The issue of tape recording benefits medicals is one that frequently comes up in our discussion forums. Atos, the company that caries them out, insists that if you wish to do so you must provide a professional operator and a properly calibrated tape machine that records two copies of the examination at the same time. Deeply unreasonable and unaffordable as these conditions are, what happens when a claimant actually meets them?

(c) 2009 Steve Donnison. All rights reserved