19 Jun, 2013 @ 08:30
1 min read

British government “determined to put a stop” to benefit fraud in Spain


THE British Embassy in Spain has issued another urgent plea to the public to keep an eye out for British expats committing benefit fraud, and to report any suspects immediately.

With an estimated 800,000 Brits living in Spain, the crime is unfortunately common. According to authorities, there are “more allegations made about people living in Spain whilst continuing to receive UK benefits than in any other country where British expatriates live.”

The Department of Work and Pensions asks people to remember that to continue to receive UK benefits while living elsewhere is to effectively steal money from taxpayers and thus from “valuable public services” like hospitals and schools.

One recently publicized case was that of Peter and Marilyn Flanders of Exmouth, Devon, who swindled more than €35,000 in benefits by lying about their Spanish villa and claiming to be homeless.

Marilyn, 58, was jailed for nine months, and Peter, 62, was jailed for two, and both were ordered to repay the government.

The investigators want to remind you that all “benefit fraudsters are thieves.” If you suspect someone you know of committing this crime, call the free and confidential hotline at 900 554 440, or fill out the following form online:  http://campaigns.dwp.gov.uk/campaigns/benefit-thieves/english.asp


  1. There are so many people here on the Costa Del Sol that live without any visible means of support, that take frequent flights back to blighty, unfortunately no one knows anyone’s surname so reporting them is difficult.

  2. you dont need to shop anyone – the u.k government just needs a little co-ordination

    1. claiming child benefit – access school lists to see if the child is in school in the u.k if kiddy isnt in u.k mum and dad wont be either
    2. unemployment – every six months a one month works skills placement with a local employer
    3. disability – monthly medicals with gp or atos if under retirement age and a special register for those who will never work due to health and increase their benefits !!

  3. What frustrates me more, is the ex-pats who are working over here for cash in hand non taxed jobs, and claim the Spanish dole!

    I must know at least 10 people who are doing this at the moment. Now if we could have a number to report those scroungers the better for us and our chosen country!


  4. I have Lived in spain for 16 years, for first 12 i was employed in a good job and contract, unfortunatly after the buiness shut down i was left with nothing, social left me high and dry as did the hacienda, only sending me fines and bills that the company failed to pay for me, i refused to pay and left me with an embargoed property, so just paid to stop for loosing my home due to the embargo. i then worked self employed 2 years, after finishing due to lack of work i was entitled to no benifits at all, (this is the autonomo). after filing all my documents with the hacienda with closing the business i was due a 4000 iva rebate, so i put to work a plan to open a new business, securing the 4000 to cover, rental on shop, social and money for utilities. i had to wait a year on this, only to be told one month before i was to get the payment that i would no longer get it, the money is still mine but it would be used against future iva bills. to say the least i was so angry and shocked. i had now put 14 years into the system and recieved nothing.
    i still went ahead and opened the business, i just work from an office in an apartment, instead of a frontline shop, i did not notify and social services, or the hacienda or the town hall. they can keep there money and i will keep mine, there are still banks here that ask no questions and offshore. i have been running 2 years and not had one problem, i employ 5 staff and each one is very happy to recieve cash in hand there wages. i have private health care for my wife and 2 kids at less than half the price of the yearly social bill just for me, and a fantastic pension fund, which only want 10 years of input funds of the social amount (€300) to get a full basic pension at 65.
    this country pushes you this way, i would love to be working legally, but the only thing spain know what to do is work out how much you have to pay into the system before you have opened the door for business.
    my company takes over 150.000 plus profit a year, and thanks to the hacienda deciding to keep my 4000 spain will not get to see any of this. i tried and waited and saved to do everything the rightway for the hacienda to give me the middle finger.
    i guess im having the last laugh for once.

  5. Shaun

    Very unlikely any ex-pats will be claiming Spanish Dole whilst working cash in hand because until like hand out UK a person has to have paid money(Taxes) into the Spanish system and the only way of doing this by having work previously legally.

  6. Big J, I hear you as I have been an autónomo here for 11 years and although my buisness works well I constantly being screwed by The hacienda or town hall. It really seems the harder you try to become legally the more they want to screw you, just over last year I have paid 10,000euros in fines etc which honestly I am not gulity off. Add that to the 1850euros I pay in social for employees a month and my stamp, life is very hard. The labour laws here are so stupid and a lack of flexibility in the way things are done is just stupid.

    In the same period as my fines I have many problems with Spanish business under cutting me or advancing by breaking the law which has effected my business directly. of course nothing seems to be done about them where it seems get it from all sides.

    Come to Spain to retire but never come here to open a business legally as this place is just backwards when it comes the problems you will get.

    My accountant told me last month that he had a meeting with a tax inspector and after getting on quite well with him ask him ” it seems that the authorities pick on the foreigner, is that the case?” He was told that in the opinion of his department it was the foreigners who had most to hide and of course they always tend today there fines, true story.

  7. I know several people whom live aboard and claim benefit off the Spanish unemployment system, they don’t even have to fly back as they can sign on online. of the course the Spanish system Is like Xmas come early for first six months where you receive up to 70% of your previous salary and I have even seen workman signing on at unemployment office dressed in work clothes.

    one of my english friends who has a Spanish girlfriend was told by my his girlfriends friend who worked at the unemployment office that he would able to get more aid after his unemployment ran out. she also knew he was living and working aboard bit did nothing about it or cared., she actually processed paperwork for him

  8. Mark, you said that you know several people whom live aboard and claim benefit off the Spanish unemployment system.

    Just shop them to the nearest tax (Hacienda) office. Easy.

  9. @tony Bishop, however I know 10 times the number of Spanish who are working cash in hand while claiming benefit. Here it is a fair bigger problem than in UK. My neighbor just got caught out as his wife was claiming benefit and working in his office, full time. he is constantly complaining about Chinese and other nationalities taking away from the Spanish, this ironic as his wife is South American. However he justifies it saying the state owe him. of course he really means he needs to save money to pay for his kids private education. seeing he is a gestor by trade he should of known better and should be struck off from being a gestor.

  10. The conditions attached to the right to claim unemployment benefit in Spain, plus the language issue, would deter any UK citizen from even thinking about it.

    Let alone if they had been working illegally, being paid “under the counter”. As Dian says, that would automatically disqualify from drawing unemployment benefit in Spain.

  11. “….that would automatically disqualify from drawing unemployment benefit in Spain.”
    That should read “…that would automatically disqualify ANYONE from drawing unemployment benefit in Spain.”

  12. To say that I am gob-smacked reading these comments would be au understatement. Almost all of you condone the “screwing of the system” both in Spain and UK. There is no wonder that the authorities here know that and are trying to do something about it.
    If you want to work and not pay what’s due to the state, go to work in Dubai or Qatar or one of those wonderful easy going tax free places – where personal liberty is so respected – not!………. If you could hack it.
    12 years here or 12 months here, you have to realise that it is your duty to be registered and do things correctly.
    Personally I would up the ante – if you are caught in knowingly defrauding the system, you should be expulsed.

    It beholds all of us to shop the likes of the much praised Big Jim and his ilk, who not only are blatantly screwing the system but proud and loud. If I come across him, I will have no hesitation in informing on him.

    If you don’t like the rules – go somewhere where your Laissez-faire attitude fits in .
    As regards Peter – what a laugh – he complains about the immigrants in UK when WE TOO ARE IMMIGRANTS IN SPAIN. Refusing to fit in , claiming we are much aligned.
    for goodness sake get real.
    Where the heck does this attitude come from – if the Spanish can do so can we – it’s their country.
    If you are not prepared to do that – pack your bags and bugger off back to where you came from.

  13. David Roberts, I agree with you everything you said…100%.

    Hopefully, the Spanish tax authorities have already started cracking down on foreign tax dodgers, because that is exactly what they are, foreign tax dodgers.

  14. @ David Roberts
    You really do like the sound of your own voice and seem to go off on one every time you read something you don’t like which seems to be just about everything. My comment was merely calling for a level playing field. I have no time for those who claim benefits to which they are not entitled or for that matter people who “Live in Spain” but don’t really. I pay my dues in Spain, my wife and I are properly registered in the Spanish health system so that the Spanish government gets the correct payments from the UK government, we have registered on the Padron so our local Pueblo gets it’s dues from central government. I refuse to have work or services carried out by people who demand cash in hand, if I did I would be aiding and abetting their tax evasion. Yes I am an immigrant in Spain but I didn’t come here to fleece it’s citizens of cash by claiming benefits for which I have not paid a Euro towards..and there you go I’ve ranted on as long as you, must be catching.

  15. @peter, well said, I would love a level playing field here in Spain as it seems the more legal you become the more problems you get where as those who don’t bother with being legal get away with it.

    I have paid my dues in Spain and I am fed up with being screwed by the system. I am not talking paying too much in tax ( although that is a problem but i chose to live here) I am talking about the way my business suffers because of unfair compitiion who are breaking the law so operate with low overheads than me which allows them to stay afloat and take food out of my mouth

  16. I suggest that those who don’t like paying taxes go live somewhere where they’re not collected. Plenty of African, South American and Eastern European areas should fit the bill nicely.

    But nooooo! You wouldn’t live there would you? Crap roads, crap facilities, crap just about everything.

    No, you want to live where it’s nice but not pay your way!

    That’s like wanting to help yourself to something without paying for it.

    There’s an ugly word to describe you – it’s not “loveable rogue”

    It’s THIEF!

  17. I see that the common misconception is still happening.

    Listen people, ALL of the tax we pay to the government (any government, any EU or US state) ONLY gets used to pay back the Banksters for lending the country the money in the first place, all it covers is the interest.

    They (banksters) lend 100 and expect 100+ interest back….. ever wondered where the + interests amount came from? – it also needs to be borrowed, or taken from YOU as taxation.

    To make things worse any money that the government spends on services is also borrowed against future taxation.

    Before the Rothschild’s scammed the world after Waterloo, there was no direct taxation, and since then all taxation has been taken just to clear the debts the Rothschild’s logged up in the scam.

    If you believe that ‘doing the right thing’ will actually make things better, you are mistaken, nothing improves until you deal with the cause of the problem, and the cause is the banksters, and paying their taxes just encourages them.

    The banksters are the thieves, the ordinary folk are their victims.

  18. Why do people on here talk down the empty fantastic long stretching out roads of Andalucia. We must be driving in an different Andalucia!

    are you just on about roads near the busiest parts of the concrete coast or something?

    and why do people like this hip person above actually live here?

    saying lol is so cringingly naff – get with it grandad!

  19. “Listen people, ALL of the tax we pay to the government (any government, any EU or US state) ONLY gets used to pay back the Banksters for lending the country the money in the first place, all it covers is the interest.”

    Gotta be the worst excuse for not paying taxes. Mind you, might try it with my mortgage. Actually, no I won’t, I’d have to be a prat to do that.

  20. To what was a valid question, I’m actually appalled by certain responses I.e David Roberts, you sound like a pathetic, miserable old man. You obviously have too much time, and too many pointless opinions so if I were you, I would think carefully before speaking in order to avoid sounding as ridiculous as you have here

  21. To all those fiddling the system then best of luck as your no different to mps and big businesses using offshore bank accounts to stop and to avoid paying there full taxes,. I’ve been to see a doctor in almeria,on behalf of atos, they are saying I can do some work albeit that I’m in constant pain, I have curverture of the spine c4 to c8 discs with arthritus in the kneck, problems with discs in the dorsal region, 2 herniated discs. Lower back and stenosis and degenerate bone disease and narrowing of the spaces, I also have arthritus in my knees due to working down the coal mines. The medication I’m on to take the edge of the pain is strong so I wouldn’t even be allowed in a workplace never mind trying to work. The British government is nothing more than a hypocritical bunch of gangsters in Armani suits , 32 people are dying a week that have been assessed by atos the French company on behalf of social security and have been deemed fit for work. This In my mind amounts to negligent assecments amounting to death. Feck the British corrupt government and the so called social security . Best of luck to those fiddling the system as its called capitalism by mps and the big banks like HSBC are as corrupt as anyone fiddling the social system.

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