2 Jul, 2010 @ 11:12
1 min read

Costa del Dole

EXPATS in Spain have been accused of widespread incapacity benefit fraud.

It comes after it emerged that many of the estimated 2,500 claimants in Spain have been receiving the payments for more than five years without having their cases reviewed.

The British authorities are looking to clamp down on the widespread abuse to save some of the 55 million euros paid each year to expatriates abroad.

“If people cannot bother to prove their illness then they should no longer prey on the taxpayer.”

A total of 9,660 Britons are claiming incapacity benefits overseas, with at least a quarter of these living in Spain.

A loophole means that many of them have been receiving payments of up to 109 euros a week for over five years, without going through standard reviewing processes.

They got the benefits by simply producing doctor’s notes stating they are ‘too sick to work’. About a third of these claimants are under 50.

It has been estimated that 90 per cent of Britain’s 2.6m incapacity benefit recipients are, in fact, capable of working.

“This is a loophole that should be closed down,” said Tory MP Philip Davies, who called it “unacceptable’ that while those living in the UK had to go through a reviewing process that expatriates were exempt from.

Ukip MEP Campbell Bannerman said: “What was the Costa del Dole has become the Costa del Malinger.

“If people cannot bother to prove their illness then they should no longer prey on the taxpayer.”

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. Its about time this was clamped down on they should have to return to Britain at least once a year for a rigorous medical exam to prove they are indeed unfit for work. Before I came to live in Spain I know of one man who was on invalidity benefit yet was working as a diving instructor in Spain and I am not ashamed of admitting I informed the Benefits Agency of this. After all it was my income tax payments that were supporting him and his family

  2. This benefit was introduced by the Thatcher government to reduce the numbers on the unemployment register. Consequently, there are a large number of people on it who should not be. For some of them, that is not their fault but a systemic failure. However, there are a large number who do abuse this plus other benefits which are in place to help people in genuine need. Whilst people complain vociferously about immigrants coming into Britian, claiming this, that and the other,(many stores are misrepresented or just not true) from what I have personally observed, the biggest fakers are the white indigenous population. Also, Aussies and Kiwis who manage to have double passports because of a grandparent.

  3. Suggestion – Why doesn’t “someone” look at the UK Law to see WHO is reponsible for proving incapacity every 2 years.
    It would be astonishing to see the Benefit Claimant is “responsible” for this- FAR more likely the government agency is RESPONSIBLE. If NOT done, it’s not a “loophole”, just another example of a UK agency doing a lousy job… like Immigration,… like HMRC, … like Education,….
    like Health Service,…. Local Council Svcs…ad nauseum
    For the OUTLANDISHLY HIGH taxes paid for lousy services in the UK… WHY don’t UK Taxpayers MAKE their elected “representatives” accountable for doing their jobs?
    They SURE get enough pay, expenses, pensions, vacations, etc
    to warrant a decent days work for above average compensation! In Lords, sign in for 10 minutes to get paid! NO accountability?! – You open the door to Union demands!!

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