benefit fraud  

benefit fraud in the UK

     
  disabled blue badge fraud
   

The NFA estimates that 20% of all blue badges in circulation are abused! But fewer than 3,000 blue badge frauds were detected in 2012-13, maybe because the financial losses to councils aren't obvious. Detections on the ground by councils require a lot of man hours, but a national exercise resulted in 32,633 blue badges being cancelled. County Councils have much the lowest numbers of detections.

Blue parking badges for the disabled are held by an astonishing 2.56 million people in England. Use of one by an able-bodied person carries a fine of up to £1,000, but one in every 200 badges is stolen each year. To combat this, the government says it is looking to give councils new powers to confiscate stolen or forged badges.

Rochdale Council has explained the case for a central database of disabled blue parking badges in issue. Strikingly, the local authorities involved in the project with them (Manchester, Bolton, Sefton and Cumbria) believe that 50-70% of badges in use are fraudulent.

The database will allow real time entitlement checks of the issuing authority's records to be made by enforcement officers anywhere in the country.

Rochdale also suggest that the time taken to issue a badge and verify entitlement could be reduced from an astonishing three months to "a matter of moments" if information is shared between local authorities, the DWP, PCTs, doctors, and occupational therapists.

  • This is promising, but it's no good if the badges once issued are easy to copy.

How do you report disabled blue badge fraud?

Blue badges are issued by local authorities, and they deal with frauds. Contact the section responsible for issuing the badges. Often this is the Parking section. Some authorities have a specific section for Parking Fraud.

You may want to consider photographing the miscreant in the act, if you can do it without risk. Please let me know how you get on!