Anne is disabled with serious health conditions. She has serious heart problems, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, personality disorder, OCD, asthma, depression, emphysema, anaemia, deafness of right ear, IBS, prolapsed womb. Now she faces prosecution for “benefit fraud”…..
Anne obtained support from a welfare rights organisation to apply for Personal Independence Payment and received an award. But then malicious neighbours made false allegations to the DWP claiming she was not entitled to a disability benefit.
Unknown to Anne the DWP started undercover surveillance. Rich businessmen and giant corporations avoid millions in tax, largely unmolested…. However the DWP put a team of spies to work to follow Anne and secretly film her.
When this “evidence” was produced it was deliberately misleading. For example Anne was shown in a supermarket by herself, supposedly showing she could go on a shopping trip under her own steam. This omitted the fact that Anne had been taken there and was being accompanied by a support worker, from whom Anne had been temporarily separated in the store. In fact the film showed Anne in a state of disassociation/ panic, staring into space.
Just before Christmas 2017 Anne’s PIP was suddenly stopped. She was not intitally informed why but then the DWP said she was being investigated for fraud and could be prosecuted. Anne and her husband came under terrible stress and Anne believes this contributed to his death in 2019.
Anne’s GP, a well respected medical professional of long-standing, has written letters in her support, as has her MP. Despite this the DWP refused to reinstate Anne’s PIP and used the unjust benefit law to stop her benefits without even a re-assessment. Worse they are demanding Anne pay the DWP approximately £9,000. Anne is contesting this and the issue is under consideration for an Upper Tier Tribunal appeal.
CRIMINALISING DISABLED PEOPLE
Years after the nightmare started for Anne, unbelievably the Procurator Fiscal is pursuing a criminal prosecution for benefit fraud, and Anne has just received a date for her trial in criminal court. This despite the fact that she has only just been discharged from hospital after a serious heart attack. Clearly the real criminals are those responsible for a system which hounds and persecutes disabled people and piles suffering upon suffering for people already in an extremely difficult situation.
The charges against Anne should be dropped and the DWP should drop its claim for alleged overpayments. And Anne should be paid compensation for the appalling way she has been treated.
ONE LAW FOR THE RICH…..
The government and tabloids mount campaigns portraying claimants as cheats and scoungers. But government figures calculate unpaid tax, including fraud and evasion, to be 35 times higher than net overpayment of benefits. Official figures estimate the tax gap – the difference between tax owed and tax paid – as £35 billion. Meanwhile net benefits overpayments are much smaller at £1 billion (much of which is DWP error rather than fraud ). The tax gap is 5.6% of total tax liabilities – while the net benefits overpayments are only just over 0.5% of benefits expenditure. (What’s more, The Tax Justice Network and PCS union estimate the tax gap as much higher at around £120bn ).
The reality is that the might of the state persecutes the poor and vulnerable while the state allows the rich and big businesses to get away with using lawyers and accounting firms to avoid and evade tax.
As the ECAP flyer reads: “ Benefit “fraud”? Don’t grass on your own class. Politicians and the rich have stolen the world’s resources – they are the real criminals. If DWP fraud investigators contact you, get their name and contact ECAP.”
Note – This is an accurate factual account of the experience of a claimant in Edinburgh, whose case is ongoing – however Anne’s name has been changed.
Advice if contacted by fraud investigators – see here