Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer’s Allowance claims


by guest
23rd December, 2010 at 10:38 am    

This is a cross-post by Sarah.

The case of Lubna Qazi has got me thinking. Mrs Qazi, 53, admitted falsely claiming Carer’s Allowance of up to £18,000 while working as a DJ for BBC Asian Network in Birmingham.

She began claiming the benefit in 2002 after her husband had a stroke. She started work at BBC Asian Network in early 2003- but for 7 years, she did not declare her job as a DJ to the DWP. She was earning more than the £95 a week allowed for people claiming Carer’s Allowance.

I am usually the last person to agree with benefit fraud. If Mrs Qazi had never been a carer and had claimed Carer’s Allowance, or if she had continued to claim the benefit after her husband had been cured of his health problems, I would have been the first person to strongly dislike her for this.

However, Mrs Qazi was genuinely her husband’s sole carer during the 7 years- a fact recognised by Birmingham Crown Court and the reason why she received a conditional discharge rather than a three month jail term. She has also been ordered to pay £100 legal costs and to return over £17,000 to the DWP.

This is a large sum of money, and there is no doubt that Mrs Qazi should have notified the DWP of her change of circumstances long ago. But she has not worked for the BBC since informing them of the case against her early this year.

As a disabled person whose parent carer claims Carer’s Allowance, I know others in the same situation. Our parents all had talents and careers before becoming our carers. They did not choose their caring roles- any more than we chose our disabilities.

Carers are all people, too. Many of them have intelligence and skills that can and should allow them to earn far more than £95 a week. By caring for us in our own homes, they are saving our hospitals and residential care homes a lot of money, time and trouble-as well as giving us a good quality of life- a life spent with family and friends in a familiar environment. They rarely complain, yet they are allowed to earn just under £150 a week for all their hard work- and that includes the benefit. Most of them rarely get a break.

Here’s a thought for those who think I am starting to rant- if a person working the 9 to 5 earned under £150 a week, would they be coming close to earning the minimum wage? I don’t think so. Well, many carers work very hard 24/7. For their caring jobs alone, they deserve to earn far more than the minimum wage.

I realise that this is wishful thinking, but personally, I would like nothing more than to see either Carer’s Allowance, the £95 weekly earnings limit, or both of these raised to at least minimum wage level by the Government.

For once, I am pleased to see someone not being sent to prison for benefit fraud.


              Post to del.icio.us


Filed in: Disability,Economics






12 Comments below   |  

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer’s Allowance claims http://bit.ly/fqzD4o


  2. Alom Shaha

    For the carers out there: "For once, I am pleased to see someone NOT being sent to prison for benefit fraud" – http://bit.ly/fqzD4o


  3. Rosa

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer’s Allowance claims http://bit.ly/fqzD4o


  4. wmd-gnome

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer’s Allowance claims http://bit.ly/fqzD4o


  5. Case Of Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer’s Allowance Fraud Raises Bigger Questions « Same Difference

    [...] Cross posted here. [...]


  6. Hooey » Blog Archive » Pickled Politics » Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer's …

    [...] £95 a week allowed for people claiming Carer’s Allowance. … View original post here: Pickled Politics » Asian Network DJ Sentenced For Carer's … Tags: a-week-allowed, allowance-, asian, bbc, but-for, dwp, early-2003-, for-people, her-job, [...]




  1. Yakoub — on 23rd December, 2010 at 10:52 am  

    My spouse was forced to pay back around £1000 in CA, because she had continue to claim it after I became the carer of our severely ASD/ADHD/SLD son.

    I would have been entitled to precisely the same amount during the same period. Funnily enough, when I then claimed CA, it wasn’t backdated.

  2. Refresh — on 23rd December, 2010 at 2:26 pm  

    Agree entirely with you Sarah. The state is small-minded and is run by self-serving politicians.

    Chasing after supposed ‘benefit cheats’ appears to be more politically productive than dealing with tax avoidance and evasion.

    Small-mindedness as an ideology could easily become pandemic as cuts begin to bite, and if Murdoch gets his way it will become globalised.

  3. Don — on 23rd December, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

    Refresh,

    There was a lot of anger in the country over MP’s expenses and bankers in general. They can’t make that anger just go away, but they can redirect it.

  4. joe90 — on 23rd December, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

    It is truly outstanding how the culprits responsible for the economic crisis i.e the bankers have got away with squandering hundreds of billions and faced less than a slap on the wrists.

    Yet people usually the working class are hunted down by an armada of administrators, courts and bailiffs for being overpaid benefit or did not notify the authorities of change in circumstance.

  5. Rumbold — on 23rd December, 2010 at 9:46 pm  

    It is a perverse system- I have met people who work on an ad hoc basis (over the permitted work earnings limit) and fear to declare it otherwise they will lose their housing (which is often tied to other benefits).

  6. MaidMarian — on 24th December, 2010 at 11:09 am  

    OK – First, it does sound as if the court used some sensible discretion here so well done there. But I think that this rather points to a wider issue. The problem here is not as such the rules (as Rumbold says, perverse as it may be in practice). Isn’t the wider issue here the lack of consensus on benefits?

    We can make benefits as hard or as soft as we like – ultimately, some Minister has to go and ask the public for £Xbn. The public have a right to expect this to be used in certain circumstances and it seems to me that most public comment on benefit seems to work on the basis that benefit should be given to the, ‘deserving.’ ‘I know a good case when I see it,’ seems to be the preferred criterion. The Minister has to say who will be given benefit, and what circumstances s/he sees it being given out in.

    What this has all resulted in is a phenomenally complex system where all the government attempts to cover all eventualities, with the best of intentions, but too often this works against people, which seems to be what has happened in this case. I would guess that most people would think that this person is, ‘deserving.’ The problem is that the system tries to legislate for motive which is always a terrible idea. Interestingly we something similar with immigration, but that’s another story.

    What this has resulted in is that benefits can often seem to go to those best able to meet the criteria, rather than those most deserving per se. I am sure that if I looked at Abu Hamza’s benefit claims, he met every strict criterion. That being said, I’m not certain that trying to legislate for motive on the assumption that everyone is always honest is a good idea.

    What we really need to work around is the idea that in benefits we have to legislate for motive. The alternatives are not obvious and certainly not palatable. Would we, for instance, want the benefits office just to, ‘tell,’ people what there are entitled to on a case-by-case basis? I am sure the people in this case are deserving and did not set out to fraud the system, but that system is there for a reason and railing about it rather overlooks how we got to where we are on benefits.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2010. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
With the help of PHP and Wordpress.