Fact or fiction: is the level of fraud on the benefit Disability Living Allowance being correctly measured and reported?

Brock, Sharon (2015) Fact or fiction: is the level of fraud on the benefit Disability Living Allowance being correctly measured and reported? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Benefit fraud persists in captivating public attention with recurring media reports and in its domination in the political arena. More than eight in ten people agree with the statement that “large numbers of people these days falsely claim benefits" (National Centre for Social Research, 2013, p. 44). In 2013/14 the cost of benefit overpaid as a result of fraud was estimated at £1.2 billion (Department for Work and Pensions [DWP], 2014b).
    Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was introduced as a benefit in 1992 and was intended to provide financial assistance to disabled people with mobility and care needs. In its first year, DLA generated an annual benefit expenditure of £1,973 million. The latest costs in benefit payments for 2013/14 are reported to be £13,800 million, which signifies a 699% increase in its annual expenditure since its inception (DWP, 2014b). In 2013, 3.3 million people were in receipt of DLA, a rise of 30% since 2002/03 (DWP, 2013a, p. 23).
    Despite the incessantly increasing numbers of people claiming DLA, the DWP have deemed it necessary to conduct only two thematic reviews, as an attempt to identify the true amount of fraud and error on this benefit. The latter, concluded in July 2005, suggested overpayments as a result of fraud equated to only 0.5% of the total DLA expenditure (DWP, 2007, p. 37). However, in April 2013 DLA was abolished and replaced with Personal Independence Payment (PIP), following an acknowledgement that the current benefit system was deemed to be “unsustainable” (DWP, 2012, p. 1).
    To provide a balanced view, the merits of DLA and the government’s disability policy overall, will be considered. However the primary focus of this research will be to interrogate the publicly reported levels of fraud on DLA, in an attempt to determine, whether these figures provide an accurate representation of the amount of benefit actually being overpaid due to fraud. Furthermore the methodology of the reviews conducted on this particular benefit will be examined and illustrations raised which will question whether the approach adopted was the most effective. Significantly, the conduct of primary research with DWP Fraud Investigators (FIs) will provide a qualified and compelling insight of DLA fraud, from a reliable and customarily undisclosed source.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 12:24
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 12:24
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/17508

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