It seems to me that ‘welfare cheats’ is a phrase that is used by journalists, politicians and right wingers. It’s a way of getting people who claim honestly (and the less said about the difficulties inherent in claiming our entitlements the better) and taxpayers to castigate those people who are living the life of Riley on the incredibly generous ‘government handouts’ whilst maybe also doing dodgy off the books jobs.
The government make a big thing out of proclaiming how much money is fraudulently claimed each year whilst failing to recognise that enormous sums are unclaimed by those who are entitled but unaware, or entitled but reluctant, to claim. The language used is loaded to make you think about ‘scroungers’ and ‘cheats’ and to become incensed by the actions of a few in order to make people who do not know the realities of claiming or living on benefits, plus the majority genuine claimants believe that more money should be poured into fraud departments whilst the claim process should be toughened.
Those of us who claim benefits know just how generous the sums awarded are. We know how much harder it’s getting all the time to complete claim forms and prove just how disabled we are. Yes there are some people who still manage to claim fraudulently and/or work whilst claiming they are incapable, but the majority of claimants are honest.
It’s this type of programme that makes me utterly deplore the kinds of ‘reality’ broadcasting that has become the norm.