Tricky Situation - Advice and Opinions Sought

Eliminator

Active Member
This is a bit of a strange topic for an AV forum but then so is most of General Chat!

I have suspicion an individual is cheating on benefits.

The individual claims Employment Support Allowance which I understand has a £16,000 cap on private savings (is this correct?). He has claimed this (or its predecessor allowances) for the last 34 years. He has never worked as he doesn’t agree with the idea and as an introvert with extreme autism dislikes any interaction with people. As such he has sabotaged every job application he has been made to do to get his benefits. He also has very low living expenses as he lives in his bedroom in his mother’s house paying her a peppercorn rent (£10 per month for full board). He rarely spends money other than on his car (which he loves) and endless HDD recorders so he can archive all his favourite TV programmes.

I personally dislike him for many reasons. Not least he enjoys ribbing those who work as “fools” and points out that he will get a full State pension as he has been on benefits and thus has the full qualifying period; intensely irritating when many of us our still working hard for the same! He has also convinced his mum that because his two sisters already have houses, they should be excluded from her will so he gets the house when she passes. Overall then, at least to my eyes, a thoroughly awful person. This is why I am posting, I have lost perspective and would appreciate any thoughts on what I should do.

I suspect he is cheating his benefits because of three events:-

1) About six months ago, whilst helping him move some furniture out of his room, I saw what looked like a large pile of bank notes in an open cabinet in his room. When he saw me glancing over that way, he hastily slammed in shut. I thought I must have been mistaken so didn't chase.

2) More recently he has got the sister that lives near him to buy stuff for him on Ebay as he doesn’t have his own credit card. He then pays her in cash – always a crisp £50 note which he describes as coming from his stash.

3) At a family meeting a few days ago, he told his sisters he had assets worth £75,000.

If his comments are correct, I suspect he has incorrectly claimed benefits over a period of ten to twenty years.

So, two questions I’d appreciate thoughts on whatever your view:
  • Noting my own prejudices, do you think my concerns are well founded based on what I have cited?
  • What should I do? (or what would you do in the circumstances?)

My first instinct was to report it but I can’t imagine the authorities are going to raid his property to search for the cash and he will be immune to any remote checks as he makes minimum use of bank accounts etc. Plus a £60k discrepancy is presumably small fry and not likely to be investigated seriously. Furthermore, I could be entirely wrong, his comments could be bluster/delusions or he is allowed large cash holdings concurrent with his benefits. Also, if he does have the money it has come for his benefits over the years, so I am not even sure if that counts towards savings.

Do I park it and see if further evidence comes to light over the months or years ahead?

Do I just forget about it as I have no hard evidence and it is none of my business (other than as a taxpayer!)?

Thank you for reading and for any comments.
 

psychopomp1

Member
TBH I would forget about this "individual" (your brother or close relative?) and get on with your own life. Oh and how is it a "tricky situation"? Is this person causing you any grief?
 

Eliminator

Active Member
TBH I would forget about this "individual" (your brother or close relative?) and get on with your own life. Oh and how is it a "tricky situation"? Is this person causing you any grief?
As you surmise, it is a close relative. It is a tricky situation therefore because if reported it would disrupt family life. This said the person is causing other close relatives significant grief. As alluded to in my post, the individual has persuaded his mother to leave him property at the expense of the two sisters so his benefit income isn't interrupted. So the impact of the benefit claims is now impacting across the broader family.

rousetafarian, I think he is happy yes. Whilst I find it hard to imagine how someone could live like that, the flip side is he has never had to work.
 

rousetafarian

Moderator
As you surmise, it is a close relative. It is a tricky situation therefore because if reported it would disrupt family life. This said the person is causing other close relatives significant grief. As alluded to in my post, the individual has persuaded his mother to leave him property at the expense of the two sisters so his benefit income isn't interrupted. So the impact of the benefit claims is now impacting across the broader family.

rousetafarian, I think he is happy yes. Whilst I find it hard to imagine how someone could live like that, the flip side is he has never had to work.
Your brother-in-law* needs reporting, an utter sponge. I am almost certain there is, or was an anonymous way of reporting to those that need to know.
 
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ilovedvds

Active Member
If it makes you feel better you can report it, but as others have said I would probably move on.

Realistically the chances of anything happening even if you did report it are probably very slim (but then if we said that about everything nothing would get reported)
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
Given what you've said I wonder if he's on DLA (Disability Living Allowance) or its successor PIP (Personal Independence Payment) because it fits better with your description. Unlike ESA , DLA and PIP do not consider income or savings for eligibility, it's likely to be a long term benefit and mental health can be a consideration for it. Sabotaging job applications doesn't make any sense as he wouldn't be required to apply for jobs since ESA is a benefit to assist people who cannot work, have limited working capacity or to support them getting back into work, he wouldn't need to apply for jobs either on DLA/PIP.

If you want practical information on benefits and how they work (I'm not claiming any expertise at all here), MSE has a useful benefits forum although I'd advise against posting your issue:


If I was going to report someone I'd want something a lot more definite.

If there was more definite information would I report them? I'm someone who takes a lot of pride in my work and I feel particularly satisfied solving a difficult problem but I've always come across people who are the opposite that take pride in doing as little work as possible which there's plenty of times I've been disadvantaged by since I've had to pick up their slack. The first issue is if I had more definite information this person is likely to know who it was that reported them and regardless of the outcome of any benefit investigation I think that's going to make everything a lot worse.

In the 'worst' scenario for you if they were investigated and there were no issues found then I'd guess this person would be more unbearable but even if they were found to be making fraudulent claims and sanctioned I feel that's going to make the situation worse as well because with more limited finances they're going to be a lot more aggressive about the will.
 

Eliminator

Active Member
Thanks for all the replies. He is definitely on Employment Support Allowance. I have seen him jump through the hoops on the job searches he has been directed to do and he is quite open with his sisters about keeping his money in cash so it isn't detectable. This said, I might point him in the direction of PIP if that would enable him to get his benefits legitimately; that could be an easy win I suppose.

Thanks for the replies everybody. An interesting range of views from 'do nothing' to 'report now'; this aligns with the debate I have been having with myself. John and Boo might be onto something with PIP though. Will do some research.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
If this person is on ESA but is having to apply for jobs, then they are in the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group). The other group is the Support Group where they just leave you alone. Being in the Support Group and being on the enhanced rates of PIP for both daily living and mobility qualifies for a substantial extra payment within ESA.

If you report this, it will get looked at and if there is substantial evidence then there will probably be an 'interview under caution' for the claimant where you get the opportunity to own up. If you don't own up it'll go to court. Both outcomes result in the same thing... you continue to get your benefits with deductions to repay the overpayment... the amount you got above what you were entitled to. However, by their very nature, PIP and ESA are benefits for those who can't work, so any deduction can't result in the claimants income going below a certain level. Thus... the deductions are very low so it's unlikely the overpayment will ever be paid back. And PIP is disregarded so no deductions can be made from it.

It's very rarely that anyone who 'dobs' someone in for being a benefit cheat makes their own life any more fulfilled or content by doing so.

People who get irritated by this sort of thing are usually very disillusioned with their own circumstances and think that it's all really unfair on those who work hard.

Reality usually is that if you take steps to make your own life happier and make fundamental changes to your own situation... you'll likely not be concerned about the situation you've described.

People who live a life of 9 to 5 drudgery of their own making won't wake up and find themselves free of that the day after they grassed up a benefit 'cheat.'

I used to be one of those people. But then I made a complete u-turn in my life. Went from being a homeowner to renting a room. Went from earning £30k a year to earning literally nothing... and went back to education at the age of 31. I gave up everything overnight because I was fed-up and miserable due to the choices I'd made. Blaming benefit cheats for my misery wasn't ever going to change things... I had to make changes in my own life.

Maybe going into politics and holding to account the 5% who own 95% of the wealth might be more constructive?

The other important thing to consider is that if this person is autistic, they may well 'think' that there's nothing wrong with playing the system. Many people who are autistic don't see something like what you've described as wrong. And they often have an unusual approach to injustice. There is injustice in the world when it comes to wealth. It's not a huge leap to contend that an autistic person may see themselves as righting some of those wrongs by similarly working the system to their advantage.
 
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leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
Sabotaging job applications doesn't make any sense as he wouldn't be required to apply for jobs since ESA is a benefit to assist people who cannot work, have limited working capacity or to support them getting back into work, he wouldn't need to apply for jobs either on DLA/PIP.
See my post above.

If you are in the WRAG of ESA that does involve job applications as you've been deemed to be able to go back to work if supported. The health professional who carried out your assessment will have recommended which group you should be placed into.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
I am almost certain there is, or was an anonymous way of reporting to those that need to know.
Yes... you can report anonymously online or via old-fashioned telephone call.

You need to give some fairly robust details regarding the claimant though. You can't just call and say "My brother-in-law is a benefit cheat, his name is xxxxxx and he lives at xxxxxx."
 

shodan

Distinguished Member
Sounds like a horrible, miserable existence and a complete waste of life!
I would simply cut him out of my life and my mind.
I don't have negative people in my life.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Thanks for all the replies. He is definitely on Employment Support Allowance. I have seen him jump through the hoops on the job searches he has been directed to do and he is quite open with his sisters about keeping his money in cash so it isn't detectable. This said, I might point him in the direction of PIP if that would enable him to get his benefits legitimately; that could be an easy win I suppose.

Thanks for the replies everybody. An interesting range of views from 'do nothing' to 'report now'; this aligns with the debate I have been having with myself. John and Boo might be onto something with PIP though. Will do some research.

Sod all to do with you and the fact you're guessing at pretty much everything really shows you need to find some happiness in your own life. Move on, maybe with a project which may benefit yourself or others, maybe some charity work.
 

HeartSleeve

Well-known Member
If this person is on ESA but is having to apply for jobs, then they are in the WRAG (Work Related Activity Group). The other group is the Support Group where they just leave you alone. Being in the Support Group and being on the enhanced rates of PIP for both daily living and mobility qualifies for a substantial extra payment within ESA.

If you report this, it will get looked at and if there is substantial evidence then there will probably be an 'interview under caution' for the claimant where you get the opportunity to own up. If you don't own up it'll go to court. Both outcomes result in the same thing... you continue to get your benefits with deductions to repay the overpayment... the amount you got above what you were entitled to. However, by their very nature, PIP and ESA are benefits for those who can't work, so any deduction can't result in the claimants income going below a certain level. Thus... the deductions are very low so it's unlikely the overpayment will ever be paid back. And PIP is disregarded so no deductions can be made from it.

It's very rarely that anyone who 'dobs' someone in for being a benefit cheat makes their own life any more fulfilled or content by doing so.

People who get irritated by this sort of thing are usually very disillusioned with their own circumstances and think that it's all really unfair on those who work hard.

Reality usually is that if you take steps to make your own life happier and make fundamental changes to your own situation... you'll likely not be concerned about the situation you've described.

People who live a life of 9 to 5 drudgery of their own making won't wake up and find themselves free of that the day after they grassed up a benefit 'cheat.'

I used to be one of those people. But then I made a complete u-turn in my life. Went from being a homeowner to renting a room. Went from earning £30k a year to earning literally nothing... and went back to education at the age of 31. I gave up everything overnight because I was fed-up and miserable due to the choices I'd made. Blaming benefit cheats for my misery wasn't ever going to change things... I had to make changes in my own life.

Maybe going into politics and holding to account the 5% who own 95% of the wealth might be more constructive?

The other important thing to consider is that if this person is autistic, they may well 'think' that there's nothing wrong with playing the system. Many people who are autistic don't see something like what you've described as wrong. And they often have an unusual approach to injustice. There is injustice in the world when it comes to wealth. It's not a huge leap to contend that an autistic person may see themselves as righting some of those wrongs by similarly working the system to their advantage.
Excellent post!👍
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Quite honestly, if he's managed to save up a few quid - and I doubt it's £75k over the years, that's up to him.

My experience is that things tend to come crashing down quite quickly and unexpectedly for these sorts of people. He gets burgled and all his savings go, his mother dies, the will is contested and suddenly he's homeless, that sort of thing. He obviously loves playing the system and thinks he's winning, as he's not spending what he's entitled to. In reality, he's just not living a normal life, so he's not actually gaining anything.

My own personal experience was of a family where the son was autistic and the father ended up being his primary carer. If there was a benefit, allowance or charitable freebie, I can guarantee they would have been at the front of the queue. Free trips to theme parks, holidays abroad, motability cars, you name it, they had it. Their home was "adapted" to help care for the child, not sure what was required, but I know they had an extra bathroom added and turned his room into a self contained flat, but how much of this was directly benefitting the son and how much was simply because it was on offer is open to debate.

The father unfortunately died of a heart attack and the mother made it clear she couldn't cope, so the son - by then in his late 20s was put into residential care. All of a sudden, his free trips to Alton Towers ceased, he's undergoing more assessments and work placements and has found his comfortable do as he pleased lifestyle has been replaced with a structured, institutional life where he has to work for privileges, gets little choice over things like his meals, bed times etc. and is actually improving in terms of his interactivity with other people and is able to live a little more independently, albeit with significant support.

The chances are both he and the person the OP is describing will always need supporting, and as a society, that is our role. If they decide to hoard what little they have, it's up to them and perhaps we should accept it. I would much rather this, than simply shipping them off to an old fashioned mental hospital to be allowed to rot out of sight, out of mind.
 

tiacat

Member
You say he has been on benefits for all those years, where do you think he would have got 75k from? He would have to save every single penny of his income and I cant do the maths at this time of the morning to work out if that would equal that amount.

You describe him in such a way that personally I wouldnt want to work with him, for him or employ him so quite honestly the fact that he doesnt work and makes comments about working is a moot point, people like this are unemployable for a reason, thats why we have a benefit system so that those who cant work (and cant also includes those who simply dont have the skills or abilities to be an employee with any success) can be maintained

I think I read above (difficult to see as screen not clear) that this is your brother in law and there are discussions about who has been left your mother in laws house? Well as you say, your wife and you have your own house, so he gets left a house? So what, make your own way in life and get on with your life

Lastly the 'evidence' you have cited as reasons for him having all this money is a bit shaky, simply because he didnt want you looking at some bank notes in his room and he has a fresh note from a 'stash'. People with ASD often act in strange ways or do things in a habitual/obsessive way, it doesnt equate to hiding 75k under the bed

However for peace of mind you could report it, simply based on his claim that he has 75k in assets but I dont know how easy you would be able to do that and stay anonymous because you would have to explain that this has been said to the person it was said to?

Of course the other option is to say to him and his mother 'if you have 75k in savings you need to declare that to DWP and you shouldnt be claiming benefits at the moment', see what response you get.
 

leamspaceman

Distinguished Member
You say he has been on benefits for all those years, where do you think he would have got 75k from? He would have to save every single penny of his income and I cant do the maths at this time of the morning to work out if that would equal that amount.

You describe him in such a way that personally I wouldnt want to work with him, for him or employ him so quite honestly the fact that he doesnt work and makes comments about working is a moot point, people like this are unemployable for a reason, thats why we have a benefit system so that those who cant work (and cant also includes those who simply dont have the skills or abilities to be an employee with any success) can be maintained

I think I read above (difficult to see as screen not clear) that this is your brother in law and there are discussions about who has been left your mother in laws house? Well as you say, your wife and you have your own house, so he gets left a house? So what, make your own way in life and get on with your life

Lastly the 'evidence' you have cited as reasons for him having all this money is a bit shaky, simply because he didnt want you looking at some bank notes in his room and he has a fresh note from a 'stash'. People with ASD often act in strange ways or do things in a habitual/obsessive way, it doesnt equate to hiding 75k under the bed

However for peace of mind you could report it, simply based on his claim that he has 75k in assets but I dont know how easy you would be able to do that and stay anonymous because you would have to explain that this has been said to the person it was said to?

Of course the other option is to say to him and his mother 'if you have 75k in savings you need to declare that to DWP and you shouldnt be claiming benefits at the moment', see what response you get.
Best post on the thread...
 

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