Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research Finds

Today’s Daily Mail attempt to smear sickness benefit claimants as criminals shows just how desperate ministers are becoming as welfare reform turns into on ongoing farce.

According to the Mail, 23% of all sickness benefit claimants have a criminal record of some form, including a police caution.  According to the Chris Grayling comedy show this is ‘truly alarming’.  What’s alarming in fact is how law abiding sickness benefit claimants appear to be.

According to this Chartered Institute of Professional Development report (PDF)  aimed at encouraging employers to hire people with criminals records, as many as 25% of the general population has a criminal record. As those in receipt of sickness benefit are likely to be poorer than the general population, it might have been reasonable to assume a higher percentage of claimants may have been convicted of a crime.

Many people on sickness benefits have a mental health condition.  It is a sad truth that people with mental health conditions are over -represented in the criminal justice system.  An increasingly few people on sickness benefits may also have a history of illegal substance misuse, once again suggesting that these would skew the figures above the general population’s level of criminality.

So in fact we should all give a big cheer to sickness benefit claimants, who despite ill health and poverty seem to be less inclined to criminality than the population as a whole.

Of course the Daily Mail don’t see it this way.  If you can commit crimes you can work seems to be the spin.  Researcher Patricia Morgan – who presumably gets a quote because she had something to do with the research – makes the astonishing claim that:

“There are people who claim incapacity benefit because they are alcoholics or use drugs. They shouldn’t be allowed to, but they do.

“They do not need to work and often they steal to maintain their drinking or addiction. Generally people who work do not commit crime.”

At a time when bankers, coppers, MPs and newspaper editors have all faced unprecedented investigation into their own illegal activities, this statement  may even be a bit much for Daily Mail readers to take.  Perhaps this is why comments don’t seem to be being accepted on the piece.

The three most senior tories, David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson, have all been involved in illegal drugs, along with Louise Mensch, Nick Clegg and a host of other government figures.  The only reason they don’t have criminal records in because they didn’t get caught.  Cameron has claimed his history of Class A drug use is part of his ‘personal life’ and refuses to speak about it.

Yet the DWP is quite happy to delve into the personal details of sickness benefit claimants and splash them across the front pages in little more than a crude publicity stunt.

This non-story reveals two things.  It’s ‘silly season’ meaning that MPs have swanned off on holiday and there’s not much for hacks to write about.  Secondly it shows that, slowly but surely, public opinion is changing towards claimants as Government smears become ever more ludicrous.

People are waking up to the reality of losing a welfare state that benefits everybody but the rich.   And this Government, steeped as they are in contempt for the poor and benefit bashing, will not know how to cope with that.

44 responses to “Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research Finds

  1. Bloody well put, Johnny!


    John McArdle

    Black Triangle
    Anti-Defamation Campaign
    In Defence of Disability Rights

    • I remember reading ‘Submission’, Paul Reekie’s fine contribution to ‘Children of Albion Rovers’, and I remember the shock and dismay I felt when I read about his suicide. More power to you.

  2. Rudi Affolter

    “People who work do not commit crime”. Pull the other!

  3. Patricia Morgan is a researcher for “Think Tank” Civitas. The Mail conveniently forgot to include that minor detail !

    • Arbeitsscheu_UK

      Among Civitas claims they are:
      Providing accurate factual information on today’s social issues.
      Publishing informed comment and analysis.

      How can Patricia Morgan’s generalisation:
      “Generally people who work do not commit crime”
      Be accurate, factual or informed comment?

  4. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    As ludicrous, not to mention desperate, as this article is, it states that nearly a quarter have been convicted or cautioned for criminal offences in the past ten years. This scientific evidence doesn’t mention, however, whether they were actually on sickness benefits at the time of the offence/caution?
    Also how do the DWP know this? Have they been cross referencing claimants with the police data base? This must be a very time consuming operation and for what purpose exactly.

  5. Thank you for this post. As one of those affected by this it left me feeling that no matter how hard I try to redeem myself, nothing I do will make any difference. I might just as well throw in the towel now – spent most of my prison sentence on suicide procedures (up to and including 24hr watch) but was never ever disciplined for bad behaviour in almost 5 years.

    How the hell can anyone rehabilitate or recover in this kind of mindset?

  6. Pingback: Sickness benefit claimants remarkably law abiding, research finds | Black Triangle Campaign

  7. Pingback: Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research Finds | WeAreSpartacus News |

  8. Another possible distortion is the extent to which people on low incomes are restricted from accessing legal advice/representation, or at least the very best and/or most expensive legal advice/representation. My own rigorous scientific research estimates that if someone commits a crime they are 67.298% more likely to be convicted of that crime if they are a benefits claimant. [Source: RNG, 2012]

    > “This must be a very time consuming operation”

    Whilst there is time to produce statistics that paint benefits claimants as criminals, it would seem that there isn’t time to continue with the DWP’s annual ‘Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-up’ report.

    Click to access take_up_irb_consultation.pdf

    One of the reasons for not continuing with the report is how long it takes: “This currently takes 2 Full Time Equivalents to produce, and would require the cessation of other work to resource.”
    Clearly it would be very unfortunate if everyone knew how many billions of pounds of benefits are left unclaimed each year. It might lead to calls for some sort of – heaven forbid! – policy response to increase take-up. Something which, in turn, would benefit those wretched criminal undeserving poor people. The horror!

  9. defytheeconomy

    Reblogged this on defytheeconomy.

  10. I read the article earlier today and when I read it it was accepting comments, and I left one asking them not to start another hate campaign against sick and disabled that are all tarred and how damaging it is to innocent people and also asked what happened to responsible journalism?
    Oh well, perhaps they listened? shame they didnt pull the peice too!

  11. Eric Greenwood

    Sick = criminals, lock them up in send them to work in prisons.. This is what these people want to see..They are criminalising the sick. if you are sick you must be a criminal..

    • Err hang on? Work? In prison? Good fucking luck with that, i aint doing fuck all when i go down.
      What are they gonna do? Send me the big house fpmsl!

  12. “piece” cant spell but hit post and saw it too late!

  13. Anita Bellows

    I am commenting here because I need to vent my anger. There has been a special committee report, who found Grayling’s statements about disabled people very unhelpful and counterproductive (in the light of the increase of attacks against disabled people), and asking that they should be checked first by DWP press office. I wrote to the DWP press office and I am planning to make a complaint about the daily mail and to write to the members of the special committee about this. Get angry, do complain, write to your MP, do not reason with them, fight them. These people are disgraceful and should be exposed for what they are.

  14. I have just sent a letter to my MP complaining about the DM article! You should do the same. Here is the link:-

  15. will make a change when im out in my wheelchair to have civis pause and speculate if im a criminal rather than mutter ‘sponger’ under their breaths

  16. These lot sound like the ‘master race’ lot who had a more ardent version of this present bull our load of toffs are peddling. They were a totalitarian regime and they did not get away with it. Thank you Johnny 4 all your hard work-This lot will not last as even after the cuts outlined-their City friends are still poised to down-grade the UK’s credit worthyness!

  17. I actually am on ESA and have a criminal record. Both are due to mental health problems. I would like to point out that people with mental health problems have to be raving mad in the eyes of the professionals to have that excuse them from conviction.
    These are the same mental health professionals who will happily send someone off to court due to their ‘zero-tolerance’ policy (even non violent as was my case) without any discretion as to their patient’s health, the same professionals who bully, abuse and neglect people in some quite shocking circumstances yet face no convictions themselves. Apparently the CPS always says it’s “not in the public interest” to prosecute.

  18. yet more hate-propagander, so some people have criminal records – and? i personally don’t but what about these hypothetical examples? the guy who stole food whilest in his wheelchair to feed his child after he ended up in a wheelchair after a car accident where his wife was killed and he’s having to wait over a year for his DLA appeal? or what about the disabled person who was in a low paid job, but couldn’t afford to pay their council tax (or merely objected to it for their own reasons) – gets sent to prison as “an example” – still a criminal record, but you don’t have to be able to do anything to not pay a bill – even the guy who was blind, mute, deaf and tube-fed could do that without even the slightest help! – so are they able to work cause they have a conviction? or someone who was attacked and fought back 9 years ago but the police decided to prosecute them because the were an alternative or gay and “if they didn’t want to be attacked they shouldn’t dress/act like freaks” (this WAS said to my goth ex by a cop after he was attacked and had his face and forehead shredded with a glass bottle – the attacker had followed him all the way home before attacking him – he still has the scars to this day) still within the 10 year limit but anything could have happened to make them sick/disabled since then, as the lady above said what if your convicction or caution was caused by your mental health issue – yet they still say you are fit for work even though you have the conviction to prove your illness is out of control – when i was younger i knew people who boasted about cheating the system by saying their drug abuse had made them disabled, i always thought that was wrong, and i wasn’t disabled then but i’ve also known people in all lines of work who were criminals – hell, are they so stupid as to think we’ve forgotten all of them getting busted over the expenses thing (and it was like 99% of them too) – and the ones they can STILL claim are criminal, no-one on a wage like theirs needs that much extra “to help them perform better” when the country cannot look after it’s sick, disabled, elderly and children – the end of it is – A. “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” – i’m not a christian but hell it’s true (maybe we should try to find out about what they’ve been done for – including the things daddy paid their way out of) and B. you cannot make sweeping generalisations and get away with it – because the innocent that you are smearing with this shit will turn round and go for your jugular if you keep doing it

    • Motoring convictions?
      Almost impossible to avoid those these days>
      Non fact non story as far as im concerned.
      Unfortunately gutter press readers are fairly hard of thinking

  19. Chris Grayling is a Lying Cunt

    Fuck this rat-faced Nazi piece of shit!!

  20. how many of the general population have a record?

  21. I comfort myself with the knowledge that one day, in the future, people like IDS and Grayling will not be alive.

    • Awful as it sounds I would quite like to see one of them suffer a stroke and lose all their power of communication and have to use a wheel chair or there is always MS or Parkinsons something truely awful that makes them disabled so they have to rely on carers etc I KNOW THAT WONT EVEN BE AN ISSUE TO THEM because they can pay for it privately and they dont need more money but their wives may leave because of it but a good dose of reality!
      (nasty bitch, but it istheir fault, it’ll be get your own back time!)

    • Let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later!

  22. BTW, do these Civitas cunts, or that researcher mentioned, have a twitter feed we can all bomb the shit out of?

  23. So if they have a criminal record, what’s the point of finding them fit for work?Because as well as being too ill to work, so no one will give them a job, they also have a criminal record, so no one will give them a job.

    Own goal really.

  24. These figures will be one to watch. Grayling has given us a baseline to work on. When crime rates begin to soar from those kicked of sickness benefits who stand to lose any means to feed and/or house themselves, many will have no alternative but to turn to crime, shoplifting etc to stay alive.

    It will then be easy to compare the data and proove that Grayling’s policy has driven the sick to crime to survive.

    • They either won’t give a fuck, or they’ll use it as an opportunity to be even MORE evil and cruel.

      Remember, these people run the media. They get to decide what “is” is.

  25. Marvellous post Johnny Void.

    When the full welfare reform bill comes into effect the Government will be in a serious crisis. Delegation is one thing, but administration is the most important.

  26. Anita Bellows

    I found the study here
    Apart from all the caveats which means that any figures have to taken with caution,
    Look at table 1.4
    Add all the people receiving benefits related to disability (IB+DLA+SDA+PIB+AA) : 6467,000
    Add the number of claims by offenders (for the same categories) : 643,000
    %= 9.942 . So the percentage is less than 10%
    Same for number of claimants which were jailed = 1.9%

    Grayling based his percentage on only one figure, the number of people claiming incapacity benefit which has the highest percentage.

    Last point: Patricia Morgan has nothing to do with the study. It is implied in a way she is named in relation with the report, but in fact she used or still works for Civitas and the Institute of Economic affairs, 2 right wing think tanks, and she contributes regularly to the DM. She was used to give credibility to the study and the article, that is all.
    I would love to have so follow up on this story

  27. Those 23 and 25% figures come from different reports using a different definition of “criminal record”. I did some digging and some sums, and the total number of adults identified as offenders in the Justice/DWP report is under 10% of the over-18 population at the time it was based on.

  28. Stephen Bunting

    This makes me spitting mad – but I guess spitting in public will soon become a public order offence if it isn’t already….

  29. Pingback: Do a quarter of sickness benefits claimants have a criminal record? | Black Triangle Campaign

  30. Pingback: Size matters

  31. Pingback: Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research ... | They did what? |

  32. Pingback: 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 | the void

  33. Pingback: Repost/reblog from “the void” 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 1 « Launchpad: By and for mental health service users

  34. Pingback: Sickness Benefit Claimants Remarkably Law Abiding Research Finds | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's |

  35. Pingback: Watch Out Surrey, Here Come The Benefit Claimants! | the void

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s