To consider reporting a friend for benefits fraud

(95 Posts)
bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 21:05:22

She's a former colleague who has been quite close to me and the rest of my family in the last two years. So much so that we went on holiday with our DCs and partners during summer and had a great time together.
I've always known that she has a blue badge for back pain and I was already uncomfortable about it. Not once in almost 3 years have I seen her struggle, limp, drag her feet, etc. We went hiking this summer and she didn't flinch! She regularly picks ups and carries around my toddler and not once has she struggled! I've only ever seen her "in pain" the day she went to a GP appointment and guess what? That day she was on crutches! The rest of the time she does everything absolutely normally!
I've recently discovered that she's been awarded the highest rate of the mobility component of DLA for being "virtually unable to walk" and I'm disgusted. She has had an operation a few years ago due to a whiplash injury and I really feel she's been milking it big time. She can be very persuasive so I can see how she would manage to bullshit her way through the system.
The trouble is, I work in this field and the idea that this person is on DLA HR mob is totally repulsive to me because I know what the qualifying criteria are and she definitely doesn't fit them.
I'm also considering befriending her but would I be a total bitch if I reported her?
Thanks for your opinions!

CooCooCachoo Thu 03-Oct-13 21:50:34

I'm also a solicitor and am bombarded with anti fraud training, admittedly have moved from banking/finance to public sector so to be expected, but I'm pretty sure she ought to know better....pretty standard conduct rules stuff!

hettienne Thu 03-Oct-13 21:51:31

If she's really your friend, then you would warn her and give her a chance to stop claiming herself before reporting her.

Doubtfuldaphne Thu 03-Oct-13 21:53:12

She's got a nerve being so brazen about it all knowing that you work in that sector hasn't she? Does she have no conscience?

TwoMuchTwoYoung Thu 03-Oct-13 21:54:39

No I wouldn't. She'll get caught eventually all on her own.
Not everyone gets caught though do they? So that's bollocks I'm afraid.
Yes report her.

CooCooCachoo Thu 03-Oct-13 21:54:43

Xposted with your last post op. that's pretty high level stuff...tribunals etc.... Do you think there might not be some truth in her claims? Only ask because she should know the professional repercussions and I wouldn't have thought she would risk suing an employer (especially a law firm) unless she was on fairly solid ground.

Given that you work in this area I think I might be tempted to tell her a long story of acse you've recently seen where a person claimed for HR DLA and was turned in for it and what a terrible experience it's been for them and wha a lot they've lost and how so many people report relatives etc etc. See if you can prick her conscience and get herself off the DLA before the shit hits the fan. If she doesn't take the hit then I would report her fraudulent arse.

Viviennemary Thu 03-Oct-13 21:57:24

I'd be very cautious. She may well have very bad days when she does suffer a lot of pain.

Dahlen Thu 03-Oct-13 21:58:12

Is there more to this than we or you know?

I have a 58-year-old relative who is autistic, had a heart problem that required one lot of open-heart surgery and another upcoming, and yet she only just won her right to middle-rate DLA at tribunal despite supporting evidence from her GP and consultant.

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 21:59:46

She sued her former employer for not fitting a staircase and constructive dismissal on those grounds. They settled out of court to the tune of £15,000.
I worked in that office and I saw that unless the big boss was around she has no trouble going up the stairs!

Dahlen Thu 03-Oct-13 22:00:19

If you really consider her a friend, you would tell her that you believe she is claiming fraudulently and that if she doesn't stop you will report her. If you don't want to do that but would prefer to go behind her back, you are not her friend - and if she is a genuine fraudster why would you want to be her friend anyway?

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 22:07:11

She does have medical evidence of spine damage and she's had a metal plate inserted so it's not all bollocks. However, it's quite possible that her condition had greatly improved since the operation (or because of it). A doctor can only say that they see "damage" but quite how severely that damage affects a person, a doctor would be hard pushed to say.
The thing with DLA is that it's awarded on the effect of the condition on mobility (or daily living) rather than the condition itself, IYSWIM so, inevitably, a decision must be heavily based on believing or disbelieving what the claimant says.

HarryStottle Thu 03-Oct-13 22:09:02

I smell fish

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 22:11:37

The idea about telling her a story about someone who got caught is very good.

specialsubject Thu 03-Oct-13 22:13:47

there are some determined, manipulative liars about.

there are also people who have good days and really bad days.

if you are sure she is the first, report her - she deserves all she gets.

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 22:18:32

Of course I've considered that she may be ill on the days I don't see her or talk to het but normally she has no shame in saying that she has a headache or is "hormonal" or has a cold so I don't see why she would not say that her back hurts if it really does? Just like she says when something else is wrong

PrincessFiorimonde Thu 03-Oct-13 22:26:45

If you are really sure she isn't getting DLA for some other condition other than the back condition you mention - then I agree you should actually speak to her about this. I agree with Dahlen here: "If you don't want to do that [speak to her] but would prefer to go behind her back, you are not her friend - and if she is a genuine fraudster why would you want to be her friend anyway?"

GreenGiant3 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:27:56

I really think your a sneaky sort OP and I would want to DE-FRIEND you if I were the other woman... Why don't you grow a back bone and confront her if you really are a good friend, tell her your not happy maybe you will get a decent explanation.

This story all sounds a bit fishy and if she's a " top solicitor" she will know what's right and wrong... And she will know what she's doing.

Either tell her your issue or stay away from it, you sound jealous.

hermioneweasley Thu 03-Oct-13 22:29:41

Report her. Outrageous. People like her are the reason there is so much skepticism about disability benefits.

PrincessFiorimonde Thu 03-Oct-13 22:31:07

I've just Googled the DLA rates. So a top solicitor and an accountant are risking prosecution, criminal records, fines, possible prison sentences, and career disbarral - all for £55.25 a week?

LayMizzRarb Thu 03-Oct-13 22:33:02

If what you are saying is true, then her claims are fraudulent. She is STEALING. From the tax payer. If you saw someone stealing on a regular basis from an elderly ladies purse, would you ignore it? because you don't have a name or face for the victim is not a defence for ignoring it.

Multiply your friends claims by at least a thousand, for the number of people up and down the country doing just the same and that's quite a sum of money.

GreenGiant3 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:33:43

Princess well done. This post is a lot of crap gringrin

Honestly I thought that.

Either that or the OP really has her own issues going on...

bimbabirba Thu 03-Oct-13 22:34:14

I'm not sneaky or someone to go behind someone's back. To the contrary, I'm often in trouble for speaking up. Thats way I'm not sure about reporting and probably won't do it in the end.
Had she told me about the DLA, I would have asked her how she managed to persuade the Tribunal that she's almost paralysed. However, she told my DH and she hardly says anything at all to me about her condition.
It's not straightforward to ask or confront her about it so don't be so ready to jump to the conclusion that I'm a manipulative bitch here

DontCallMeDaughter Thu 03-Oct-13 22:35:26

I reported a family member for housing benefit fraud. Three years later and he's still claiming it fraudulently. The person I spoke to on the phone confirmed all the details I gave them so I know they have all of the facts... and nothing ever came of it. So report away, just don't expect anything to happen...

ilovesooty Thu 03-Oct-13 22:35:27

So a top solicitor and an accountant are risking prosecution, criminal records, fines, possible prison sentences, and career disbarral - all for £55.25 a week?

I find that positively incredible too.

zower Thu 03-Oct-13 22:40:31

i think you need to back off. maybe you are right, but maybe there's stuff you don't know about her condition, fluctuating etc. either way you dont sound like her friend, and its probsbly best to move on.

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