Why Single Mums Stay Single

It’s hardly surprising that Cameron and his party should hate women so much.  After all other than the odd thrashing by nanny, they probably never saw a real one until they left the torrid dormitories of Eton.

Cameron’s recent pathetic attempt to appeal to women,  offering them the opportunity to become skivvies for the rich, recently fell as flat as his regular sexist behaviour in the House of Commons.  So in time-honoured tradition they are turning their attention to the usual Tory scapegoat,  single mums.

The DWP has announced tough new measures aimed at feckless single parents who are caught living with a partner and not informing the benefits office.  Lord Fraud has declared:

“Pretending you are a single parent to get benefits when you are actually living with a partner is stealing money from the people who genuinely need help.”

Which is a rather strange way of looking at it, when in fact if they are stealing from the government.  By the same logic you could argue they were stealing from the Queen, which perhaps wouldn’t have had the same impact that Freud was hoping for.

Under the ‘tough’ new measures anyone convicted of benefit fraud three times in a row will be banned from claiming benefits for three years, a neat little way to ensure that their children should also suffer as much as possible.  The problem is, as it was revealed last time this was announced, no-one has ever been convicted of benefit fraud three times in a row.  Next week Lord Freud will be announcing legislation aimed at preventing armadillos being used as train drivers.

This isn’t what the law is supposed to be used for, inventing non-existent circumstances to further the myth that all claimants are on the fiddle.  This is PR, not legislation.  The law is being used to try and entrench the lie that fraud is endemic in the benefits system, when in fact fraud levels are tiny compared to comparable sectors, such as tax evasion.

So whilst this change won’t affect anyone at all, what is concerning is that on conviction for a first offence of benefit fraud, single parents could face having benefits stopped for 13 weeks.  That financial penalties like this should be tossed so casually on the very poorest families, where it will be the children who ultimately suffer for their parent’s crime,  is a fucking disgrace.

It is true that the public are not loving people who falsely claim benefits at the moment, and this, on the face of it, is fair enough.  The problem is that the benefits system is so complex and rigid that it can be virtually impossible to avoid some degree of breach of the rules at times.  If you are on Jobseekers Allowance and take twenty quid cash for helping a mate move you are a criminal.  If you are sick, but perhaps recover enough to not quite be eligible for benefits, and don’t tell them quickly enough, you could face prosecution.  If you inherit a sum of money, and neglect to inform the DWP so they can knock the exact same sum of money from your benefits,  you may very likely face jail.

For single parents however the situation is even more difficult for two reasons.  The first is that if you begin a co-habiting relationship then your partner is immediately expected to take full financial responsibility for you and your children or you (not your partner) will be prosecuted.  This places a heavy burden on a blossoming relationship, especially as if the partnership doesn’t work out you will be at the mercy of the DWP as to whether they accept the relationship has ended and restore your benefits.

The second problem is that there are no clear guidelines as to what living with a partner actually means.  A common urban myth that if your partners stays over three nights a week then you are deemed to be living with them is simply not true.  In fact all measure of factors are considered, or not considered, including whether you have sex with them (although they are not supposed to ask you this directly), and whether you are viewed by others as being in a co-habiting relationship.  The full guidance for DWP decision makers on co-habiting couple can be downloaded at (PDF): http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dmgch11.pdf

Ultimately it may not be clear whether a parent has broken the law until they face a court, and of course this uncertainty infects the whole system.  Therefore it is not uncommon for claimants to be told by misinformed DWP officials that even spending one night with a partner could leave them liable to prosecution.  The confusion, and chilling effect this  can have on the ability of single parents to form relationships, can be summed up by this thread on the netmums forum where one poster asks:

“I don’t get the rules to be honest, If I go on a date with someone would I have to inform anyone, Also if you have been going out for 2 weeks or something are they expected to move in and financially contribute? Wouldn’t that just be rushing things so to speak?”

The problem is made worse by the Benefit Fraud Hotline, which means any snivelling grass can ring the DWP and report you because they don’t like you and saw you holding someone’s hand or snogging at the bus stop.  Whilst prosecution based on flimsy evidence like this is unlikely, even an investigation can lead to the suspension of benefit payments, as well as the stress of facing a huge fine, criminal record, all benefits stopped for thirteen weeks and even imprisonment.  All just for having a shag.

Wanker Freud informs us not to worry, because Universal Credit will ‘simplify and automate the benefits system to make it less open to abuse.’  So perhaps a computer will decide whether people are in a relationship or not in future, another magical feature of the new IT system which is set to be the most complex and large scale project ever attempted anywhere ever.

In fact Universal Credit, when it is rolled out in 2057, will do nothing to stop the problems outlined above.  All it will actually do is remove humans from the equation.  Which is okay because computers can#amp/’t make mistakes.

There is obviously no excuse for benefit fraud (well, apart from poverty, the challenges of raising children alone, lack of clarity in the rules and the ever moving goal posts).  People with multiple claims or dodgy landlords claiming for non-existent tenants should be condemned and treated the way we treat any else who rips off the tax payer, such as giving them a knighthood and then taking it away a year later.

But these rules are not aimed at organised fraud.  They are aimed at people just getting by, who may have made a mistake, or not declared a few quid here and there.  Compared to the huge sums lost due to tax evasion this is a trivial sum of money, that will place added stress on already over-burdened single parents should they commit the crime of falling in love.

Whilst MPs who did far worse were simply allowed to repay dodgy expense claims, single parents and claimants face abject poverty and even jail for far lesser offences.  However the stories of people going hungry, families separated and children being taken into care will not feature in the press who instead prefer to salivate because a one legged man has been caught playing golf or a wheelchair user went on holiday.

14 responses to “Why Single Mums Stay Single

  1. I do not have children so cannot possibly claim to understand some of the issues outlined, however it appears to me that the government are looking for anyone father of the children or not to take any responsibility other than them.

    you said:
    Pretending you are a single parent to get benefits when you are actually living with a partner is stealing money from the people who genuinely need help.”

    Which is a rather strange way of looking at it, when in fact if they are stealing from the government. By the same logic you could argue they were stealing from the Queen,

    completely agree it has nothing to do with stealing from people in need the fraud is against the government.

    as above:

    fraud levels are tiny compared to comparable sectors, such as tax evasion

    again agree so why is this crime so overlooked, unreported and not sitting in the public brain as it should be?

    as above:

    Therefore it is not uncommon for claimants to be told by misinformed DWP officials that even spending one night with a partner could leave them liable to prosecution. Whilst prosecution based on flimsy evidence like this is unlikely, even an investigation can lead to the suspension of benefit payments, as well as the stress of facing a huge fine, criminal record, all benefits stopped for thirteen weeks and even imprisonment. All just for having a shag.

    WTF! I knew there would be tax on sex soon enough but this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    as above:

    But these rules are not aimed at organised fraud. They are aimed at people just getting by, who may have made a mistake, or not declared a few quid here and there. Compared to the huge sums lost due to tax evasion this is a trivial sum of money, that will place added stress on already over-burdened single parents should they commit the crime of falling in love.

    This is going to get worse because I already know of people rightly or wrongly aiming to break up the family so they can claim at different addresses just to get by. This will also create an even bigger burden on available HB price right rental property, however at the end of the day it is this governments stupidity and arrogance creating these alternate costly situations in which people attempt to survive cuts that send them even further into poverty.

  2. if you are a couple and both ‘signing on’ and have kids, would you get less money?

  3. We all know what’s goin’ on by now,in all its gory fascist detail.
    It’s going to take civil disorder on a grand scale & the toppling of this elected dictatorship to halt this wave of eugenics.
    The bastards are using the cover of ‘recession’ to implement the harshest measures ever seen in our lifetimes.
    I am not afraid of them. Like all bullies,they are essentially cowards.
    I am afraid of what they will DO,because they have the minions who,like the stormtroopers of old,will be only “following orders.”
    I will watch them burn,and I will spit on their graves.

    • Miki67

      eventually this will go one of 2 ways, the legal route to get them out or the civil unrest which I hope does not occur because if they win we will end up like the film V with many more enforced restrictions on our lives.

  4. I was told off by the compliance unit. They spotted me getting out of a car driven by a male when I attended a work focused interview! My brother (the driver) thought that was funny. Interrogation lady at the job centre didn’t. She told me you don’t even have to spend the night with someone to be breaking the rules, shopping together, sharing a meal etc can be viewed as breaking the rules because its down to each local authority so she said. I continue to feed my ex once a week. At every work focused interview I am asked ‘do you have a boyfriend?’ ‘Are you thinking of getting back with your ex, ever?’ ‘Have either of you talked about it?’ ‘How often does he visit his children?’ ‘Which days?’. Not being funny but what’s it got to do with them? I wasn’t aware that my sex life (or lack of) and contact arrangements for the kids were any of DWPs business! I’m living like a nun at the moment. I don’t go out, only my family visit occassionally and my ex takes the kids somewhere else, just so there’s no petty excuse to drag me in for interrogation in front of the kids.

    • darkestangel32,

      Thank you for posting your experience as I stated in a post above I am not well up on this area because it does not apply to me.

      That said I have never heard the bloody like what have we got now the DWP Gestapo deliberately intent on destroying personal rights, freedoms and personal relationships.

      First of all what is your obligation to the DWP to receive your benefits ie for example if you are a job seeker you have to follow certain rules to receive your benefits so what are yours? And I mean legal ones not rules made up by DWP monkeys.

      you said:

      At every work focused interview I am asked ‘do you have a boyfriend?’ ‘Are you thinking of getting back with your ex, ever?’ ‘Have either of you talked about it?’ ‘How often does he visit his children?’ ‘Which days?’. Not being funny but what’s it got to do with them?

      exactly what is it to do with them, this is where you need to find out your legal obligations of your claim as once you do that you will know if this type of questioning is allowed in law.

      for example to my mind you are allowed to any personal life you want so long as you do not break the rules.

      Are they saying nobody is ever allowed to stay overnight at your house male or female or just male? what are the real legal rules on that?

      If I was in this position I would read up on my legal obligations relating to EX, people visiting my home and any overnight stays etc and then because the DWP Gestapo stated

      told me you don’t even have to spend the night with someone to be breaking the rules, shopping together, sharing a meal etc can be viewed as breaking the rules because its down to each local authority

      I am sorry I do not believe what she/he says because in that case you would be confined to your home not allowed to have relationships with any person in case you were breaking the rules.

      I would ring the local authority as well and find out any legal laws relating to your situation and the DWP which I suspect the DWP Gestapo has made up to frighten you, then my next interview would go something like this.

      I am not sure why you are questioning me regards my personal life are you accusing me of breaking the law with regards my claim? as if so I would prefer to make an arrangement to be interviewed under caution with my solicitor present. That should make them shut up!

      I am not breaking the law regards my claim because I am doing XYZ which are my legal requirements of my claim and I am not currently involved in any relationships with my EX or otherwise that meets my legal requirements to provide you with any further information under the current rules, regulations and guidelines. If those relationship circumstances change in any way where I am legally obliged to inform you then I will do so at the appropriate time.

      please get yourself well informed and understand the legal obligations of your claim and what you are legally obliged to tell them as once you have done that you can live your life without fear and being questioned in this manner.

      Let me know how you go as I would be interested to know what your legal obligations are in these circumstances.

      • I don’t have to look for work because my youngest is only 2yrs old so that part’s clear to me. I think a FOI request may be in order regarding the rules about the other stuff, to be printed out and produced to any advisor who tries the scare tactic😉 I forgot to say before, the compliance officer was very confused when I told her I’m still friends with my ex. The kids had lots of fun playing with the chairs and distracting her though. For some reason they like the jobcentre, I don’t.

        • Hi DARKESTANGEL32,

          It appears then they are trying to get you to fall in some relationship trap then, next time go in thier offices surrounded by 8 men on leashes on see what they say to that hahaha

  5. kids like job centres because the adults are all focussed on something else and leave them to have fun

  6. Yes – and as a single man also, if I live with a partner she will be expected to feed and clothe ME!

    The benefits system WANTS to keep people alone.

  7. Pingback: How the DWP Harass Single Parents | the void

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  9. Yes I agree what about mothers that are a piece of shit n dump children …?I fought for my girls tooth n nail never stopped that’s sayin something for a single dad right ? Now I have found a lovley women who dare I say it likes what sees after 5 years of looking does that mean I’ve been breaking the law that long ?…more heart ache for my girls the women will run for the hills knowing this I bet . Do I tell dwp about this ???

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