What is benefit fraud?
If you put that question to anyone in the UK, where I live, then the only answer you are likely to receive from them is that benefit fraud is purely claiming Jobseeker’s allowance (unemployment benefit) whilst working.
However, there are many other types of benefit fraud which, amongst other areas, relate to child benefit, tax credits, income support, housing benefit, incapacity benefit (maybe drugs can get them back into work?) and many, many others.
A fairly large proportion of benefit fraud is committed by seasoned professionals who treat their crime like a career and make vast sums of money from it. I myself have been parked near a job centre and have witnessed various people rummaging through a whole host of paperwork for multiple identities before going in to the job centre to make a claim in an obviously false identity.
However, there are also a great number of other people committing benefit fraud daily, via other means, such as through non reporting of circumstance changes or what they may deem to be ’small white lies’. Either way, it is still fraud and theft.
For reasons I cannot comprehend, the omission of certain facts in claims, or non reporting of changes to benefit entitlements, seems to have become socially acceptable in the UK.
Types of benefit fraud
Here are a few examples of how the man in the street commits benefit fraud –
- claiming for children who have left home
- not advising that a partner has moved in
- incorrectly reporting amount of savings
- not declaring other benefits that are being claimed
- not declaring paid work
- non disclosure of inheritances
- failing to notify changes of address
Are things the same in America or do you have tighter controls over benefits, who can claim them and how they are administered?