Archive for April, 2014

Benefit Fraud Does it Stand Up to Scrutiny? Part Two


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My blog yesterday covered one part of Universal Credit  but this one is where Lord David Freud was present on 7th April. This also means another long Blog.

Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, and Mike Driver, Finance Director General, Department for Work and Pensions, Mr David Gauke MP, Exchequer Secretary, HM Treasury, and Nick Lodge, Director General, Benefits and Credits, HM Revenue and Customs

Watch the meeting.

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/main/Player.aspx?meetingId=15278

 

There was twice as much error was discovered in the system and when the Chair Dame Anne Begg pointed this out, they seemed unperturbed by this but attempted to explain the process in ways to address this matter.

The Latest figures for fraud and error  given by minister David Freud were as follows;

Fraud and Error Monetary Costs 1.2 billion

Claimant 1.6 billion

Official 8.0 billion

Yet daily we hear of all this fraud but little about error which is being used to demonise claimants as ‘all on the make’.  The committee chair did point out why was the emphasis on fraud when 2/3rds was error. Is the 1.2 billion monetary costs caused by an  anomaly or is that overall? One thing Lord Freud explains is ways in which they plan to address it by introducing  4 main points across UC & PIP, They are as follows to help you understand processes being put in place;

UC Error

  • Simplification of process of UC & PIP
  • IT/Data Sharing using (RTI  (real time information) and Atlas (http://thefedexperts.com/post/22124968271/government-consulting-services)
  • A New Quality Framework (making sure information is consistant and accurate)
  • Case Cleansing (this means they take caseloads and cleanse it of fraud and error ) ie: overpayements for example

 

Secondly they are looking at Claimant Error

  • Claimant Error  (Making sure  Government information is in plain english and communicating what is required)
  • Centralising (Communication Products)
  • Awareness Messages
  • Introduction of Civil Penalties £50 fine

When the committee  asked why so much emphasis was on fraud when the committee felt the department should be focussing on top priority of  error of 8  billion as it was highest  cost, the treasury minister went on to explain  figures of tax credit overall expenditure 2011/12 was 3.0% error overall.

Claimant Error 4.2 %

Official Error 0.1%

At the moment this only affects Carers and JSA groups but will affect others when it comes to the roll out.

The breakdown figures for both groups;

JSA  2.9%

Carers 3.9%

 

Anne Begg challenged the perception of public view on fraud which they admitted across depts is 0.7%  being lumped together  is deceptive, yet public perception is that fraud is rife in system,  yet error which looms large 34 times higher than fraud is in actual fact not being fairly reported. She suggested that maybe they should be separated which they denied should happen, maybe that doesn’t fit government rhetoric  to indoctrinate the general public into backing their reforms if they knew the truth. Minister Glenda Jackson MP also asked why particular the DWP presented the argument to public  using ‘Black Propaganda’ that fraud was running amok while in actual fact error is worse, not only did she dare say this but called Lord Freud , Lord Fraud (Freudian slip) much to the raised eyebrows in the room of the committee but to the amusement of the nickname given him by activists. Social media was alight with this faux pas. She also brought up his conjucture that the complication of forms and the departments system on delivery to claimants was erroneous, causing misery to many and surely it should be changed, he responded by saying many drift into fraud. She argued that he didn’t answer her question , in that it is the responsibility of the department to make sure the greatest misuse of public money which is in error, not fraud and therefore the department is as culpable as the claimant itself in falsely claiming  statistically they were misleading the public into believing that fraud was the greater misuse of public money. on this Glenda has my vote for ‘getting it’, but Lord Freud said he would have to beg to differ on that point. The sheer arrogance of the minister in his dismissal to her fair and valid question. The chair did not force him to answer the question which is what he is there for, which was disappointing to say the least.

The public view against claimants  is appalling and perpetuated by the rhetoric being spun by ministers & celebrities who  misuse the fact to suit the agenda, the latter depending which party they follow and donate too. Most claimaint’s would work if they could, but  sadly the painful truth is most of them even with support  cannot, which is down to the fact they are too sick or disabled to do so, the mind is willing in most cases the body isn’t. Claimants & Campaigners and the public are waking up to realise they are being hoodwinked by politicians and the media when the realities on ground are plain to see. While the backlash of those in power caught with their hands in the overflowing cookie jar of capitalism is gaining some momentum. The public are treated as if they are stupid  when the reverse is true. When they can’t get care for an elderly relative at home or hospital, or they are treated like criminals for making a mistake  on a claim form being classed and labelled as a fraudster then the reality of it is,  the word is spreading like a bush fire and it can only come to discord on the streets which I believe will be worse than previously seen around UK a few years ago. Politicians need to realise this will come to the fore, and to be frank I think this is what a driving factor behind it is, they know if they push people enough it will cause untold misery and give the government an excuse to crackdown on Joe Public further stripping away their human rights  and say I told you so, while those  barricading themselves in their homes from the riotous behaviour going on outside. Fraud to me is a deliberate attempt to gain from something, not a mistake which they call low level fraud., which is classed to error.

Lord Freud went on to say that the government has an elaborate measurement of fraud and error and one the best systems  in the world. Nick then went on to say in his dept  tax credit expenditure is higher than they would like it to be but at 7.3%   it had actually come down in real terms. This is individual fraud  statistic rather than organised fraud by large groups of people.

The methodology measures used were

  • Earnings
  • Capital
  • Under declared occupational pension
  • Living together
  • Fraud Abroad

Joint strategy budget for new measures of 425million in 2015

  • Actual Money 286 million
  • Savings to be made 1.93 million

Measures to get people to use the fraud line  of DWP, have got financial incentives to those whose give information which result in a claimant being caught and removed from the system and monies reclaimed are still in place in the strategy report  as the chair queried if they had been dropped ,which she was told they had not. Work is also being done with Crimestoppers to address this and is on going.

Incentives to combat fraud in place is by means of making information of what is required plain and clear to declare. the HMRC targets 5.1/2 % reductions of fraud and error is what they are  looking at. DWP targets are x2 hopes 1.7% reduction in 2014/15 the business case on targets are on delivery with the hope it will plateau at 2.1% MFE of which data will be published in June. The Single Fraud and Error Service is investigations into fraud being brought under one roof and funded accordingly as  a single unit, and at present no benchmarking is done between depts in public sector & private sector.

The next question raised by Glenda Jackson was on the excessive data  sent to LHA  using Atlas and that they had reported that they had to wade through loads of data to find what was needed  in case of Housing Benefit when assessing a claim Glenda asked if it was going to be streamlined , Mike Driver stated he wasn’t aware of this but would tell his team  so they also went on to talk about automated systems and the emphasis on consistency and data matching across  the systems involved ie Atlas. She asked Mr Driver why it was  that overpayments of Housing Benefit (HB) was twice as much as it should be and therefore is resource intensive both monetarily and labour wise using Atlas and could they not incentivise to reduce Fraud and Error the subsidy is reduced to 40% by LHA’s,   if they identifiy fraud or error  and recover the amounts they are given up to 140% subsidy the rest goes to treasury rather than LHA’s. Under Universal Credit the responsibility for HB will go to DWP and LHA’s have raised concerns about  the cross matching of data they share between other authorities and how that will impact on those claiming HB. The Intergrated Risk Intelligence Service (IRIS) which is used  by Government  she asked if that had been removed, redesigned or still in place? Lord Freud stated it  had a data matching service which was in place for live service (although it wasn’t in UC pilots) and they are developing IRIS in where they are splitting it up into 4 ways

  • Information confidence
  • Analytical Hub (RTI)
  • Design
  • Session in Confidence (Security Division Risk Assessment)

Only JSA  are at present been involved in pathfinders for UC. Anne Begg interjected to ask  how DWP was going to intergrate  LHA info on property and local information to UC. Anne Begg highlighted a issue of how if you have 4 flats on left all with same number 26 on a floor compared to 4 flats on right having same number 27 , how would the DWP data match those  to make sure a claim wasn’t fraudulent? Freud waffled his way through facts that the DWP ‘look to get’ not the will have local knowledge and housing data to cross match like LHA’s do at present, under the UC system if and when it rolls out. He said that at the moment those housing officers  will continue to be in HB dept’s for some time while the rollout continues. The question by Graham  Evans MP   asked  with the cross party support  of a Single Investigation Unit (SIU)  and asked how the concerns of LHA’s were worried they would lose some experienced fraud investigators especially in corporate area which Freud stated they wouldn’t lose those in corporate teams, and that funding was made available to them to enhance that team to deal with corporate fraud. Most Investigators in large authorities will be absorbed into the SIU and smaller ones will not lose any staff who may cover a wide range of fraud investigations across all fields. Stats on investigators to transfer are around 800.

 

When Mr Evans asked about UC rollout the next batch is June 2014  and then they take a break until October 2014  which they then expect will take 18mths and by 2016  the rollout should have completely ironed out any glitches in the system by March 2016.

 

Sheila Gilmore MP then went on to ask who is verifying tenancy agreements and leases in regards to UC & HB And Freud said they are talking to LHA’s which is on going, and that so when a claimant applies for UC that info is sent to UC and then verified by the LHA ,as where what is level of checking that’s needed . The HB system has been stripped down to cover all the needs according to Lord Freud, he also said the concerns she raised were not in the social rented sector so one can assume it is in private rented sector where the level of fraud and verification is needed the most.

Identity Assurance for UC  is being implemented under UC and that this will ensure who is on the end of phone or in office is who they state they are. Freud stated that a Cabinet Office led program being developed around the IT system in regards to face to face and telephone systems to create a process across all government departments and beta sites are in place. when Gilmore brought up biometric such as voice recognition will not be persued at this stage. The information as it comes in will be monitored by a security service type application where risk and threat  of fraud will be monitored 24/7  that will be adapted into UC. Red Flags trigger visits within the system, whereas green flags will be simple straight through process through a automatic system. Conditionality groups (Jsa,Wrag) can be seen or monitored by attending JCP for instance and they can be called in more often if need be. the analytics hub will stop this abuse  and before it gets into the system. 400 million savings are expected  from this approach across the departments, earning checks will be done across all benefits as this rolls out. RTI is already showing benefits  in flagging up potential problems. she asked how those not on monthly payments how would the adjust for that and the ministers said that could be achieved. self employed will have to self report along with a few others monthly. he said he didn’t want debt and fraud building up. they have also ramped up civil penalties to 50,000 per year.

No doubt this will become clearer as time rolls on as to whether or not this actually works or indeed gets off the ground given the train crash it appears to be with database matching and RTI systems that thye put in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benefit Fraud Does It Really Stand up to Scrutiny? Part1


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The talk is all about benefit fraud both in media and press about how ‘scroungers’ are taking the ‘hardworking’ taxpayers money . Well the truth is after listening carefully to DWP Committee chaired by Dame Anne Begg seems most of it the 0.7% is Error. Now some of that error is claimant error through not reporting changes, but most of it seems to be departmental error. In this another very long Blog I will discussing that and the way they plan to tackle the issue by various means but still insisting on lumping fraud and error in same basket with no intention of separating the two, as it clearly isn’t beneficial when it comes to media demonization of  claimants  and their awful clumsy drunken approach to welfare reform rhetoric and the lies being spun. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE BACKGROUND BEHIND IT!

In March 31st the DWP Select Committee heard evidence from;

Jan Smith, External Affairs Director, Call Credit Information Group,

Simon Dukes, Chief Executive, fraud prevention service CIFAS

Sean Duffield, Partner and Public Sector Director,Nuance Communications

This was indeed a interesting take on the ways they were looking at tackling Fraud & Error within the benefit system overall. Simon Dukes kicked it off with saying he felt it was fair to separate Fraud and Error in his view as 80% was within HMRC & DWP  and in his opinion “It is important to identify these two together and to split them apart to identify how much is fraud and how much is error. Only by doing that and measuring it can we actually measure success against it”, Jan Smith agreed with Mr Dukes. Debbie Abrahams MP suggested  that benchmarking might be way to measure risk like Visa do in banking, however Mr Dukes felt it should be based on Risk Management and was cautious re benchmarking as it was suggesting pitting one against the other which brings in competitive element into the mix.

Jan Smith stated “By taking that risk-based approach, you have more flexibility with your resource, because the low-risk cases can be dealt with by one area and the high-risk cases by investigators, etc”. The risk of low case management and high risk cases are clearly defined and the letter would under risk analysis be flagged up. Debbie Abrahams MP queried whether or not there was a acceptable level of loss due to fraud and error, Mr Duffield said that there was a sort of” inevitability  about it” and said had it even identified fraud within the system and without full access  he would reserve judgement on questioning the figures in front of the committee but any fraud was unacceptable. The Chair Anne Begg suggested that it was possible that large amounts of unreported  fraud could be hidden in the system  that isn’t yet flagged up and that error normally shows up eventually, Mr Dukes agreed that was indeed a possibility, so this fraud  thus far seems to be one of just possibility rather than fact?

Mr Dukes said fraud data sharing between organisations  helped prevent it at the gate rather than wait till horse had bolted approach in the private sector and felt that could be applied to the public sector too, using a zero tolerance approach, and was key to tackling the issue. Risk Management is key to tackling that a mistake by a claimant failing to report is fraud at low level while others have made a deliberate attempt to claim benefits for example from 3 different boroughs is high end fraud. Mr Dukes suggested checking the lifecycle of a claim could highlight risk management being successful in clamping down. 42% of overpayments it was suggested by Dame Angela Watkinson was down to incorrect reporting of income or earnings  Mr Dukes concurred with her assessment on this,  she asked that correct information reporting is only way of verifying correct claims Jan Smith agreed with her. “The fields that they complete and the information they provide in that claim need to be standardised. Everybody needs to be filling in the exact same form, providing the exact same information, no free format.You have to have values in because, if you have the accurate data, it is far easier to follow up when someone’s circumstances change.In the private sector, there is technology available that allows monitoring to take place so that, when there is a change in someone’s circumstances, you can be proactive about it. If you do not have the correct information in the first place, it is difficult.”

The subject of repeat offenders was brought up which Mr Dukes felt was 40% of re-filing and that was fraud was being in-putted into the system which he felt could be tackled using technology that is widely used in private sector ,by banks, insurance sector  which the banks have worked on over last few years called’ single customer review’, this enables the bank to look across its divisions and highlight any potential problems. Anne Begg queried the complexity of the Social Security system and sheer volumes of people’s changing circumstances.  That constant is not just one thing that is changing; it is two or three different elements that might be changing in that. Jan Smith agreed .

I totally agree with you on that but, if you know you have that customer and you know the different benefits they are entitled to and what is happening with them, if there is any change in circumstance, you are in a far stronger position to cut any areas and stop any fraud that may take place.

The Chair Anne Begg asked when moving to Universal Credit would the system be on household basis or individual basis like it was under Housing benefit at present, it was confirmed it will be individual by Jan Smith, and Simon Dukes concurred that while data was complex it was merely just a case of ‘pipework or plumbing’ within the system.

Then Nigel Mills MP brought up technology ,by ways the system could tackle multiple claims (Organised Fraud) to the individual who has had cash payments they didn’t declare. Mr Duffield said he had the voiceprint  technology to tackle that.

Sean Duffield   I have a technology of voiceprint identification so, if somebody was contacting on one channel and then being somebody else on another channel, I could potentially, with other pieces of data, identify that you have that duplicate fraud happening there. It is hard to crack that small casual fraud, if you could categorise it as that, versus a fraud that is more organised and systemic.

Jan Smith then went on to explain a fraud hub that has been used in Housing Benefit Sector in London and other areas so far . CIFAS  highlighted that fraudsters move from region to region  not nationally,  which has brought about successes in housing benefit crime.  This highlighted hot spots of criminality , which they were able to tackle. Mr Dukes agreed.

Kwasi Kwarteng MP then brought up prosecutions in relation to fraud and the monetary values of pursuing an investigation and what could they learn from the private sector .

Jan Smith When we started working with local authorities to pull this fraud hub together and produce a fraud product, a lot of the benefits they were looking for from it was making it a swifter process to identify fraud in order to manage their resources moreeffectively. The way that we deliver information can be used by anyone, so you could have someone frontline who identifies, because of all the data that is washing around, that this is a potential fraud case. We identify them as red, amber or green so, if you get a red case, that probably means it needs to have full investigation; you need to do yourSection 29s. That is going to be resource-intense. Some of the lesser frauds can be dealtwith by other people, so it helps local authorities manage their budgets more effectively. In the public sector, if you identify what you think is fraud, you can, under Section 29 exemption, come to a credit reference agency and access a lot more data than you would be able to normally to investigate that fraud. They are used by public sector investigators, but you have to be fairly confident that there is a serious fraud taking place. You cannot just do a blanket case for everyone.

 

They went on to discuss that prosecution rate at present is around 28% but they didn’t have that data as it was other organisations that held that information . Kwarteng  queried if they felt it was acceptable rate and Mr Dukes felt it was rather low overall, while acknowledging it could be lowered , although it is very resource intensive to decide to follow through a fraud case, it was also would they be able to get the money reclaimed. he suggested they focussed on prevention not cure.

Kwasi Kwarteng: The idea is that you would reduce the numbers at the beginning,  if  you like,  and then,  if you keep the numbers of prosecutions,  that would be a higher proportion? Simon Dukes: Exactly.

So here we have a play on figures and statistics  and we wonder where they seem dream stuff up from, this is obviously how. You are probably bored to death by now, however it is important to understand this important information ! Only by understanding the methodology behind it can we address  the serious issues we face and how they operate. They call it tackling a problem, I call it  setting up a system so complicated that a simple error  or mistake, can be costly to you the claimant being labelled a fraudster.

Graham Evans MP then brought up ‘digital by default’ mantra. Using  Indentity Assurance  (IDA) .

A question for you, if I may, Sean: IDA, the identity assurance for universal credit, is apparently some way off. I understand that it is “overly complex and potentially unwieldy”. Can you expand on that view?

http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240208131/Identity-assurance-system-moves-into-beta-test-phase.

 

The hub will manage communications between users, identity providers and government service providers. It will allow users to select and register with an identity provider, and then use their assured identity to access digital services,” wrote Steve Wreyford, the head of communications and marketing for the IDA programme. Eight companies were selected last year to provide IDA services – The Post Office, Cassidian, Digidentity, Experian, Ingeus, Mydex, Paypal and Verizon.

 

Sean Duffield stated “how that is going to work on the telephony channel.” You mentioned at the top of your question digital by default, and I would just caution on that. Today, we know that 11% of the population have got very low skills when it comes to using the web, so we need to make sure that, if people want to identify and verify with the DWP, they can do that across channels, both web and the telephony channel. We need to make sure that we have processes for security across all those channels that are also the same across those channels, so you do not need to know one set of passwords for the web channel, for instance, and another set for, let’s say, the telephony channel.

 

 

Graham Evans went on to ask “Howard Shiplee, the DWP senior responsible officer for universal credit, told us in February that “no one is using a totally online approach”. Do you agree that an entirely digital approach to this thing is feasible, achievable or indeed desirable when dealing with financial transactions?”

Sean Duffield responded that “I do not think it is a good idea, no. Nobody in the commercial world has really achieved that and people who have set out to just have a web service, quite commonly, have then ended up with call centres”.

My question is if that’s the case why are we trying to push a square peg in a round hole at the huge cost to taxpayer when it probably isn’t going to happen to make it a success , and  the more I read the transcript the more worried for taxpayer I became talk about elephant in the room scenario. also that 11% demographic was 50-55 and over age group weighted against the elderly and lower socioeconomic backgrounds which I may add will be the most disadvantaged group in society, yet again bearing the brunt of this complex system which they say is simplifying it.  They are planning to make income reporting  a central point of this benefit claiming system and that is coming into play as I am writing at end of the month for Jsa and Lone parents amongst other groups in my universal credit for homeowners blog. The next point they address is the worrying part  of welfare reforms being similar to the Australian Model and of  the use  of voice verification technology for those who are nervous on phone , suffer mental health or have a speech impediment or deafness. how in god’s name are those people’s needs going to be addressed, using voice technology. This is big brother stuff you saw as a kid in Dr Who, which is being implemented here in reality. This is called Centrelink in Australia and a automated income/ earning information line where claimants can report changes of circumstances, initially they gave out passwords but found that many forgot their password as many of us do.

Mr Duffield reported that you go into that and just using your voiceprint, based on previous calls, you just need to know your account number in fact and then, through your voiceprint, the rest of the identification process is done. It has saved a lot of time and increased reporting.It is very hard to impersonate. Like all technologies, it is not 100% but, when you combine it with knowledge-based information, i.e. your account number and the voiceprint, it is a very secure way of transacting.To date via that system the Australians state they have had no fraud via that system. He didn’t not have figures to back that up. Barclays Wealth has deployed a biometric solution.Sean Duffield You phone into Barclays Wealth. The first time you phone in, it will put you through the standard identification and verification process, asking you the third and fifth letters of your password, as you would with your bank normally. Once they have then captured your voiceprint, you are offered an enrolment, “Would you like to enrol in the process?” Most people say yes; 93%, I believe it is, say yes. Subsequently, when you phone back into the bank, you just give your account number and then, through talking to the agent for around 15 seconds of audio, that is sufficient for them to let you in to use your banking services.Just as under universal credit where people are going to have to report their income, that line was set up so that people could report their income. Obviously it cuts both ways. You do not want people falsely reporting income to people or being malicious as well, and it prevents that.

Sean Duffield stated the use case for this technology is it stops imposter fraud. Sheila Gilmore MP stated ” I am quite surprised that this has not been mentioned to us before as a possibility, because it has been one of the real problems in getting a working IT system. We were told that one of the reasons for the slowing up and so on was that this was one issue that had not been properly resolved”. Sean replied this is not new technology the technology has been around a while now. There are a number of deployments out there. As more organisations take it on, more organisations will go with it. There has been that slight element that it is new, so people have been a little wary of deployment. However, I want to emphasise that this voiceprint technology is part of this overall solution. If I do not have correct data in the first place to enrol people, I may enrol fraudsters. I need to have data based on credit histories and all of these things, so I know that I am not enrolling fraudsters in the first place. It is not the be-all and end-all; it is part of an overall solution. There are two ways you can do it: you can do it with an agent-assisted way using the say-anything technology, or you can use text-dependent technology where people have a set passphrase. If you did three-factor authentication of people that is very, very hard to sidestep

 

 

This will surely discriminate against the groups mentioned previously from my perspective if this is UC ‘sway forward. Simon Dukes stated you have to have ID assurance alongside fraud prevention as well. You have build fraud prevention into your system. The topic of identity fraud, is helped by online social networking  being a insecure way people data gather or even via conversations on train where people give details out in earshot of potential  identity fraudsters.60% online false identities are on social networks and 80% of fraud is committed online via online shopping sites such as Amazon, Ebay etc.

Jan Smith stated that via LHA’s they are identifying 10% potential fraudulent cases a week  yet some LHA are reluctant using legal and data protection citing  not to join up to data sharing, yet the Serious Crime Act of 2007 says that “public sector data can be shared with the private sector where it is to be used for prevention or investigation of fraud, but there is no clear guidance that says, “Here’s what you can share; here’s what you cannot share.” In the private sector Oral evidence: Fraud and error in the benefits system, HC 1082 15 there is; there are rules on reciprocity and there are rules on data sharing. That has been a stumbling block for us”.

Dame Angela Watkinson: Would you say that there are opportunities for the private and the public sector to work collaboratively or co-operatively together in combating fraud, to the benefit of both sectors? Mr Dukes stated I find it extraordinary that we do not!

Nigel Mills: Ms Smith, in your written submission, you quoted the Information Commissioner who said something like “responsible data sharing in a good cause is always Oral evidence: Fraud and error in the benefits system, HC 1082 17possible”. Is what you are saying that it might be possible for the Department perhaps to be a little less conservative in its approach and try to push the boundaries? She replied Exactly. Nigel Mills MP asked “In theory, it could be a condition of claiming a benefit that you let us have access to all your data, anywhere we choose to go and find it. That might be going a little bit far.”

Jan Smith: It could be a step too far.

Too blooming right it is a step too far  would they like to come and live with us too? This is way past  the point of ‘Fairness’  and a invasion of our human rights for a poxy  £71 quid a week JSA for instance. ever feel like you stepped into a matrix?

 

 

Nigel Mills: Do you think there are any further powers the Government needsto take, perhaps changing legislation or something? We saw some changes in the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, which allowed local authorities to ask for a range of information. Do you actually think more powers are needed or is it better use of powers that already exist?

Jan Smith: I think better use of powers that already exist and the removal of this confusion of what can and cannot be done, so you have a consistent approach, whether it is central Government or local government.

Simon Dukes: The Serious Crime Act 2007 quite clearly set up this SAFO type of organisation—a specified anti-fraud organisation—for the purpose of being able to facilitate public and private data sharing. It has not happened. Clarification of SAFO andwhat is written in the Serious Crime Act would go a long way to helping perhaps remove the logjam, and then there is a bigger cultural thing in some Departments about data sharing with the private sector. That is a different issue, but some clarification on theSerious Crime Act would go a long way.

When talking about data matching and errors that were made by HMRC which resulted in benefits being stopped  raised by Sheila Gilmore MP,  Mr Dukes commented We are talking about the differences between the challenges facing DWP and the challenges facing the private sector. You are absolutely right that DWP is going to have to pay claimants regardless of whether they have committed fraud in the past, if they are entitled to those payments. Jan Smith: All the data matching we will do will raise exceptions. It is those exceptions that need investigating. The majority of data that is held by credit reference agencies is accurate . Simon Dukes: By the fact that we are going to an online system whereby, with assurance of identity, you will be able to— Sheila Gilmore: The assurance of identity is the crucial bit.

However Lord Freud has thus far rejected joining CFIAS according to Mr Dukes who has stated that they will do that work for nothing, which the committee like the sound off  ‘something for nothing culture’ clearly runs through government dept’s. So Basically this risk management is for purpose of flagging up potential fraud.

If you have managed to stick with this exceptionally long blog ‘Well Done ‘ I will attempt to do Part Two tomorrow, health permitting where I will show how they apply methodology and talk more about fraud stats. 

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news/committee-hears-evidence-from-dwp-and-treasury-ministers/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Universal Credit Nightmare for Homeowners


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The Universal Credit Nightmare has barely started rolling out when I spotted a shock to all homeowners hidden in the depths of the document. It seems that the hardworking taxpaying person  who has their own home could be in  for hell of a jolt, and

potentially risk losing their homes should they fall on hard times, such as lose a  job, become ill. So like a manic cat I sent off FOI to the DWP for clarification. it has took me a few conversations to clarify the response as usual that was as clear as mud.

When I received my reply I was right, many those  who make a new claim who already own their own homes will not be eligible to claim UC (Universal Credit) but will instead have to claim ESA, JSA , IS.

If you are already on ESA and migrate to Universal Credit you will still be eligible for UC but the SMI component  will be subject the ‘Zero Income’ rule, which effectively will include the removal of 16 hrs a week earnings disregard and any earnings

above the amounts below will be taken into account will be reduced the SMI help you will receive, so on top of paying the mortgage part of your mortgage while the state effectively pays the interest will come under the new rule and tapers below.

 

  • There will be a “zero earnings rule”. An owner occupier will have no entitlement to the housing costs element in any period in which they or their partner receive any earned income. Earned income includes any earnings from part time work, and certain benefits that employers pay such as Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay. Under the current system claimants can work for up to 16 hours a week before their earned income is taken into account in full and starts to affect their benefits. The basis of UC is that claimants will keep more of their earned income because of higher disregards and tapers. As a result, under UC, there is a 65 per cent universal disregard. This means that a claimant would lose only £0.65 of UC for each £1 of net income above the disregard leaving the claimant with more available income than under the current benefits regime. For example, the monthly earnings disregards for claimants who lose their SMI as a result of the zero earnings rule are £111 for a single claimant; £734 for a single claimant responsible for one or more children or young persons; and, £647 for single claimant who has limited capability for work.When an owner occupier claimant’s earned income stops, he or she will be required to serve a further waiting period before they receive further help with their housing costs.

 

Any new claimants who own their own homes after claiming UC will  get the benefit but not the SMI on there mortgage which leaves them with a  huge shortfall in some cases.This is really going to hurt many People already struggling to keep their heads above water  with another whammy, so the government can save a few quid, its like a bedroom tax for homeowners!

This nasty vindictive government who seems to care not about the ordinary citizen in this country except for themselves and their corporate pals. The ‘I’m Alright Jack ‘mentality offers no solace to the working man or those who have misfortune darken their front doors. They say to people to work hard save and buy their own homes under their second run of  the ‘Right to Buy Scheme’ and when they do they will be punished for doing the right thing. I remember in the 70’s under Thatcher  they did right to buy ,made a killing and never replaced the social housing stock they sold off along I might add with subsequent governments also turning a blind eye to replacing the social housing stock.

Now with Bedroom Tax biting those hit by it, we still have very little in way of building replacements and those who are still in social housing have chance to take second bite of the cherry they missed first time round. While this scheme is different from the present one the catastrophic consequences for some homeowners will be immense. This government will punish the poorest in society yet again. They have no shame  for the outcomes of their actions and will just see it yet again as collateral damage to the governments goal of more cuts and many more to come over a sustained period in the future.

 

 

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