Welfare Reform Bill

Memorandum submitted by Denise Porter (WR 49)

Reducing Fraud and Error

To whom it may concern

I am a carer of my son who has a severe and enduring mental illness. He has spent a long time in hospital and is now building his life living in his own home and trying to become a more integrated member of society.

I wish to draw attention and submit evidence about the role of DWP and fraudulent claims for benefit.

Vulnerable people are being targeted by groups and individuals to use their address to access welfare and benefit.

My own son has been so targeted. We contacted the police to stop the coercion and harassment. They informed us this was a regular problem as the DWP didn’t check who had the legal right of abode at an address.

This alarms me as there is no duty of care to check whether a vulnerable person has been so targeted.

I raised this problem at the Rethink Regional Committee that I am a member of and it is seen as common practice by people who target vulnerable people with the sole purpose of gaining benefits illegally. What checks are in place to ensure residency at an address is legal and vulnerable people are protected? What are the penalties for these people?

Our son lost his housing benefit and his confidence in other people. He was targeted because there isn’t any a clear guideline or duty of care in place. This needs to be enshrined in human rights law to protect those who can not look after themselves and trust too much.

We appealed and have not heard anything from the DWP. However his benefits were reinstated after letters we found to these people were returned to the DWP and marked as being fraudulent.

Pity the poor soul who doesn’t have a family to care and look out for them!

This is one instance where the Reform Bill can do good by leading the way to ensure that the most vulnerable people of our society are protected. After all that is the sign of a civilised society.

April 2011