HUNDREDS of Brits are said to be cheating the UK welfare system from the safe haven of the Costa del Sol.
The coast – long a haven for fugitive conmen, fraudsters and drug barons – is now home to the new evolution of benefits scamming, claims the UK government.
Dubbed ‘abroad fraud’, the problem is so bad that the Department of Work and Pensions has now launched a dedicated team in Madrid, solely to tackle the cheats.
Spain sees more cases of suspected UK benefit fraud than any other country – in 2013, there were 769 suspected cases, compared to 628 in Pakistan and 298 in Turkey.
Across the world last year, Brits living overseas scammed more than €103 million from the British taxpayer – twice as much as in 2011.
Investigators have followed up 1,267 calls since 2008, leading to the recovery of more than €6 million of taxpayers’ money.
The D.W.P. team is on a jolly in Madrid, funded by the tax-payer. Doubt if they will find many benefit cheats there.
“769 suspected cases” in Spain. Where is the proof of this?
Six million quid recovered in six years. Be interesting to know the costs of doing this. In any case the money wasn’t “recovered”, it’s just a notional “saving”.
This stuff is standard D.W.P. propaganda to justify their savage cuts on genuine claimants.
Plenty of people with ‘bad backs’ claiming and in Spain for months on end when I was there, people claiming family allowance when not one person lives in the UK… Moving on, what is costing even more money are the benefits we hand out to people who only work 20 hours a week and can afford foreign holidays. 20 hours a week, rent paid for them, no Council Tax, Child benefit, working tax credits, family tax credits…. Many people who have full time jobs can’t afford foreign holidays, the system is all upside down for many.
Interesting that the UK government claim benefit fraud is happening here in Spain, when thousands of ligitimate claimants are being deprived of a benefit due to bad management and bullying tactics. No problem with catching benefit fraudsters but be careful that legitimate claimants don´t get dumped in the general bag.
I am 70 years old now and the British social security owes me £700 for winter fuel allowance for which every pensioner is entitled to. I did not collect it for the years of 2009/10/11 because I did not realise I was entitle to it whilst living abroad. This year they originally paid me £100 because they sent a letter saying I had another pensioner living with me who was also claiming a winter fuel allowance. Looking at my bank statements I realised that they had only paid me £100 last year, on phoning the social in Newcastle and asking them where they got this false information from, I was told that someone with the same surname was live in the same vicinity as I was living in, so they assumed they we were sharing the same address. On telling him that I had never ever lived with any person of a pensionable age he agreed to send me another £100 this winter but I was too late to claim the £100 that they had underpaid me the previous year. I can see some kind of misguided logic for the previous winter’s underpayment, but for this winter? When I have been living for the last 18 months over 300 miles away from where I had previously lived.
I was also refused my Spanish S1 health cover forms in Spain three years ago by the social security in Newcastle because I had deferred my pension until I was 70 years old, which I eventually received three months after I was 70 and needing to phone them twice. I will never get the £700 fuel allowance because the entitlement of a winter fuel allowance miraculously becomes a benefit if they owe it to you, or you want your S1 forms. If the Social Security was a bank or a private business it would be them that would be told by the authorities to get their house in order.
Ten months on and not a dicky bird from this crack “fraud abroad” team.