. Beat the Cheat: an alternative take | London Progressive Journal
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Beat the Cheat: an alternative take

Sun 11th Mar 2012

The Sun, according to Rupert Murdoch, is a force for good, which strongly indicates that satire did not, after all, die when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. A racist and xenophobic, sexist right wing rag would be an alternative way of describing this particular British institution, although this week it's another of their regular targets; viz. people who claim benefits, who are the target for their bile. Beat the Cheat is a campaign endorsed by Iain Duncan Smith and is intended to stir up neighbourhood conflict by encouraging Sun readers (once again) to dob in people they do not like on the grounds that they are claiming welfare payments to which they are not entitled.

Of course, the Sun is a very easy target for a left wing writer. It is hard not to laugh at its editorial style, for all its pandering to ignorance and hatred, since it presents itself in a strangely childish way which involves certain words in every story appearing, for no obvious reason, in capitals. Makes you wonder what life is like in a Sun-reading household, really. Do they ask each other if they would like KETCHUP on their sandwiches? Are the kids told that if they don't behave they will be sent to BED? Imagine getting a Sun reader's text messages - r u goin to the PUB. c u on SATRUDY at edl scrap in LEEDS. u r DUMPED!!!

Hands up everyone who was surprised to find out, via the Leveson enquiry, that the Sun has a political editor. This sounds about as likely as the Catholic Herald employing Dear Deidre to give advice on sexual matters. For all that, we can all agree with Beating the Cheat, surely. The welfare system is riddled with the most shocking examples of cheating, of which the following, from Felix's recent casebook, are just a sample:

Mr Green had been on INCAPACITY Benefit for many years till it was replaced by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) last year and so he had to go for an examination, carried out by an Atos "Health Professional", who is actually a NURSE. He scored insufficient points on the Work Capability Assessment and so lost his entitlement to benefit and had to APPEAL. At his hearing Mr Green gave evidence on his own behalf, supported by his wife. The tribunal agreed with me that not only is he not fit for work but he should be in the Support Group and exempted from work-related activity, such is the effect of the combination of his physical and mental ill health.

Last week, Mr Green rang to tell me that not only had the local office put him in the Work Related Group rather than the Support Group, and so given him an increase of only £26 per week rather than £32, but had also told him that he would have to appeal again in order to get the additional money and, furthermore, has to wait 13 weeks before receiving any increase at all. WRONG, WRONG and WRONG again.

If Mr Green had not had access to representation he would have been CHEATED out of his entitlement immediately after the sub-standard health assessment. Following his successful appeal, the local Jobcentre Plus has tried to CHEAT him out of the award made by the Tribunal by giving him misinformation, resulting either from laziness or from ignorance on the part of the Decision Maker and the staff on the telephone line, who appear not to know the most basic rules of the benefit they are supposed to be administering.

Ms Black, meanwhile, was awarded no Disability Living Allowance in September 2010 after the Department's Decision Maker used an Atos report for her ESA claim, carried out a year earlier and subsequently thrown out of court, as the only evidence against her. Since it took 18 months for this ludicrous decision to arrive at Tribunal Ms Black was, in the meantime, CHEATED out of benefit amounting to £8000.

Mr Brown, who has a serious heart condition, is 69 and so too old to make a new claim for DLA. He was not worried because as was already in possession of an indefinite award on the day of his 65th birthday, and so had no reason ever to expect to lose his entitlement. However, an acquaintance who had fallen out with Mr Brown made a report to the Department's own fraud hotline concerning some entirely fictitious employment. As a result of this Mr Brown was obliged to have an examination at the Jobcentre, carried out by the notorious Dr Blue. The outcome was that Mr Brown would be CHEATED out of his entitlement of £70 per week for THE REST OF HIS LIFE, unless the decision could be overturned on appeal. The Decision Maker in the case further CHEATED by applying the supersession legislation unlawfully and not identifying any grounds for removing Mr Brown's award. I am expecting to recieve the appeal verdict tomorrow and I do not expect the experienced Tribunal to uphold the appalling decision to CHEAT him out of his DLA.

Since all these colourful stories emerged in the first THREE DAYS of last week, it is not difficult to appreciate the huge extent of the CHEATING problem countrywide. In a nutshell, poor decision making and incompetent or biased examinations are costing claimants, EVERY DAY, a huge amount of money to which they are actually entitled. And THAT, my friends, is a national SCANDAL.
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