Thursday, April 19, 2012

Costa del Crime

The old name, first given to the Spanish Costa's in the popular press in the 70s  I believe, seems to have taken on a new meaning in recent days. First we had the Government here raising the issue of illegal use of the Spanish NHS now the British Government is pledged to catch those defrauding their system for a large proportion of the 43 million pound they pay out every year to fraudulent claimants living abroad.
In such difficult economic times no Government can afford to ignore the blatant misuse of its limited funds and I am sure a lot of the perpetrators of such frauds will now be caught and brought to justice. For some it will mean a double whammy as being in reciept of some UK benefits will have given them access to the Spanish health care system. I can only imagine that once caught for claiming long term disability or sickness benefit for example whilst able to work, often working on the black here, they will be on interest to both governments.
The small Pension, Benefit & Health care team based in Spain provide support to the estimated 1million Britons living there. They work with the Spanish Authorities on behalf of the DWP and Department of Health to prevent and detect benefit fraud, ensure correct access to the Spanish health care system, and combat misuse of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
What is termed abroad fraud involves a range of scams such as people on means-tested benefits going abroad but failing to declare their absence, undeclared property abroad, and individuals working while claiming sickness benefits. Here in Spain  claims for Income Support or Pension Credit are the most frequently investigated for fraud.
It has puzzled us in the past when we have heard people who are below state pension retirement age talk about getting a a"winter fuel payment". Understandable if they suffered from ill health and received a disability pension but confusing when we saw they working or  running a business here. What goes around comes around as they say and I am guessing they will very soon being feeling pretty sick indeed, when they are found out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While they keep making cuts in the british NHS, the brits will keep coming to use Spanish NHS, which would be ok if they were residents at least as they have to pay taxes in Spain.

But most of them are not and they block the Spanish NHS which now is crap due to British, German and so "health tourism", paid by the average Spanish Joe in their taxes contribution.

Is like what leeches do when they get stuck in your legs, sucking the blood to death, might be the British weather but I am becoming more and more eurosceptic as the time passes by and I'm still stuck in this island...