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Recortes de Prensa

Expats in £46m benefits scandal

The Daily Express, 21 | 06 | 2010 - Noticia

MILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being sent to Britons living in the sun who claim they are too sick to work

Incapacity benefits of nearly £46million a year go to thousands of expats in places like Spain, France, Cyprus and Portugal.

Many of the 10,000 claimants have been receiving the payments for more than five years without their cases being reviewed.

A loophole allows them to simply send in a doctor’s note to keep the money funding their life abroad. Last night Tory MP Philip Davies said: “This is a loophole that should be closed down. I know that the new Government is trying to clamp down on those who are abusing the benefits system.

It would be unacceptable if these new stringent checks only applied to people living in the UK and not people living outside the country claiming benefits.”

The Government plans to re-evaluate incapacity benefit claimants in Britain but has not mentioned those living abroad. Matthew Elliott, of campaign group the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said: “There has got to be a proper review of all claimants, including those abroad, to make sure no one is taking advantage and playing the system.”

UKIP MEP Campbell Bannerman said: “What was the Costa del Dole has become the Costa del Malinger. If people cannot bother to prove their illness then they should no longer prey on the taxpayer.” Figures obtained by the Daily Express show almost £46million was paid to 9,660 claimants living abroad last year – a quarter of them in Spain.

Nearly 90 per cent of overseas recipients are on long-term incapacity benefit and more than two-thirds of them have been receiving it for five years or more. About a third of claimants are under 50. Claimants receive £68.95 for the first six months.

This rises to £81.60 and then to £91.40 after a year. A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “This is another example of how the benefits system is broken and why we need to fix it. We will be reassessing people claiming incapacity benefits to see if they could make the move into employment and we are looking at how this will work for people living abroad.” It is estimated that up to 90 per cent of Britain’s 2.6 million incapacity benefit claimants may be capable of working.

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