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Of course the DWP pays out millions in fraud and error- it's run by the government. Error is what they do.

There have been a few DWP-related stories in the last week and I think we've got the response wrong on both occasions.

Theresa May ought to be saying that this overpayment is an inevitable consequence of running a multi-billion pound entitlement system and that we would scale it back and simplify it. By focussing on the technicalities of how the system is administered, we're effectively asking the public to vote for us based on the fact that we'll run the same things, only better. That's a promise it's impossible to deliver on, as no government can run anything well.

On the fact that we're paying out millions to obese people, we took the line that the problem lay in the government not spending more taxpayers' money on nannying people's lifestyles, whereas the correct response should have been to pledge not to pay benefits to people on the grounds that they're obese.

These interventions from Theresa May and her team represent the slow slide towards managerialism. If we accept that governments are innately predisposed to messing things up, we would not be going down this dangerous path.

Echoes of Gogol's novel Dead Souls.Cradle to the grave is not good enough for some liberals it would seem who want a system of benefits extending to the afterlife.

This has been going on for years and is hardly news.The DWP's accounts have bee qualified for far longer than those of the EU--some 17-18 years I believe.So plenty was wrong under the Tories too ,without the will to correct things.
When my mother died they tried to claim back a small sum of what they alleged to be an overpayment.To do this the DWP clerk had FORGED dates on copy letters to cover their own incompetence and negligence.
Clearly,kitten Mules aside, Theresa will have the chance to make a name for herself----but will she?

The problem with the DWP is that there are too many different benefits and not enough done by way of means-testing to ensure that benefits are appropriately targeted.

James Purnell promised to take over two million of benefits during his tenure. This statement alone ought to tell us that the man clearly does not understand the scale of benefit dependency.

I class tax-credits and rebates as being a part of benefit dependency and before we can have the root and branch reform of benefits that Theresa May wants, we have to have root and branch reform of the tax system, taking low earners out of taxation altogether.

The fact that a person/family can get more in benefits while working than they could get if unemployed and destitute, just goes to show how badly Labour distribute benefits.

Are we seeking to discriminate against dead people, just because they spend their time in holes in the ground and never visit Jobcentres?

Just to be fair to the DWP, surely an executor has to notify the DWP of someone's death, and then the payment should stop.

If this isn't happening Theresa May's comments would be justified. But otherwise I am not sure this is fair comment.


Does Theresa mean they're paying benefits to the Government Front Bench?
On a more serious note - civil servants from the relevant departments trawl through newspapers and watch television programmes to see if they can catch anyone living above their means. So surely they can read the obituaries and death notices?


Just for the moment its whats on offer. I don't suppose any Tory administration would want QE, because its inflation coming back to bite us soon. However for the moment and considering what Obama is up too, it seems churlish not to at least support the pound by not further rocking the boat. Their the pinkos) little revolution is well under way, our counter revolution will be all the more essential.

Does Theresa May expect benefit claimants to report a change in their circumstances in such cases? Bit difficult.

Seriously though, I did a few months' work for the DWP betwen University and joining the RAF and these types of overpayments are inevitable when you consider the size and scale of the payments.

Many benefit recipients who die will have been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Disability Living Allowance (with seperate care and mobility components) and various tax credits and pension credits. Now consider that many of these "customers" (as they're known in DWP-speak) will have had carers claiming either Carer's Allowance of Attendance Allowance. It only takes a death to go a) unreported, and b) not input to the system, for a couple of weeks in order for a few weeks or one month's worth of benefits to have been overpaid. That could easily run to £500 in the most severe cases. I recently helped an older neighbour with some letters to the DWP after his father died, which wasn't until a few weeks after his death. When recently bereaved, it's not most peoples' reaction to ring the DWP and tell them all about it. By the very nature of most DWP claimants, they don't have much money and it will be hard to recover overpayments- witness the trouble caused when the tax credits system made similar errors.

I'm sure if the government were sending round bailiffs to get the money back, Theresa May would be complaining about strong-arming the bereaved.

We can't have it both ways. Either we accept that a large welfare state and entitlement culture is bound to lead to these types of inefficiencies and wastage (see Tax credits arguments passim) OR we start to articulate some better ideas for greater personal and community responsibility in terms of how we care for the vulnerable.

For Theresa May to think we can run such an entitlement culture but somehow do it more efficiently, is just plain unrealistic and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the system works (or not as the case may be).

A magnificent prize for anyone who can name the government department that is fit for purpose.

I am most amused by the url for this thread - theresa-may-bra.html.


Where is the relevance and WHY DON'T YOU STOP SHOUTING?!

I don't much like the sound of what is coming out of the tory front bench right now...

The governments response to this complaint will be to say how it supports their evil 'data sharing' proposals - just so a few people can notify a single department about a death and never be bothered again, the living will be put further under the thumb of the state.

The public have benefited from two really serious bit of legislation in recent times:

The Data Protection act and Freedom of Information act.

The public need to defend these acts at all costs against all attacks - whether from the government or from parliament in general.

The level of fraud in the DWP is very, very low considering the size of the budget, and £27 million is a drop in the ocean. I can dig out figures if you like. Cleethorpes Rock's analysis is spot on.

Your knee-jerk anti-state reaction is foolish. I wonder how much money the insurance industry writes off for continued after-death payments, before notification?

This is the parliamentary answer. It seems perfectly reasonable:

"Unfortunately, through no fault of any individual, overpayments of benefit can arise following the death of a benefit recipient. Such overpayments normally arise as a result of the Department being notified of the death too late to stop an automated payment being made into the deceased’s account.

We are doing all we can to improve the current process. We now receive electronic notifications of death from the Office for National Statistics on a daily basis. This will assist in enabling a prompt cessation of payments following death and reduce the number of these overpayments occurring.

The Department has a duty to seek recovery of all overpaid funds where it is reasonable and cost effective to do so. However, we seek to do this as sensitively as possible, taking account of the fact that this will be a stressful time, particularly if the person contacted is a close friend or family member. Overpayments are written off if the deceased has no estate or there are insufficient funds in the estate.

I would suspect that since payments into bank accounts started this problem will have increased. If someone dies on a Sunday and their payment is due on Monday it will go into the bank account. In the days before bank payments the order book would usually not be cashed (no signature) and so it would not matter if DWP were not notified immediately.Some did (possible fraud)but much less , so the benfits on saving money by direct bank payments against the printing and administration of OB's would have to be compared. Of course the Nursing and Rest homes may still say they are entitled to 4 weeks money after death as notice was not given.

my wife has had eplipsy for 50 yrs and has had no help in all that time.She had a bad fall last oct and i only found out then she could get A.A.I am 73 and my wife 67. I thought doctors and others had a duty of care? to her. I am not to pleased about it.

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