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Thread: Welfare Inspectors

  1. #1

    Default Welfare Inspectors

    I met up with a friend of mine the other night for a drink. This guy, who I hadn't seen for quite a while, works in a local social welfare office.

    I would have had some guess at the possible issues he and his colleagues faced but in reality, I had no clue.
    Hearing of my friend's experiences first hand shocked me; I don't shock easily.

    He told me of social welfare inspectors who've been simply too frightened and intimidated to carry out their inspections on people who they believe are defrauding the system.

    People who are well known to the Gardai, who have unaccounted for assets such as new cars, televisions, technological gadgetry, the latest fashionable clothing etc, yet claim to have no income. He told me of one inspector who visited a house that was laiden down with what could only be described as "stock" from some shop or supermarkert - there were literally crates, boxes and even a pallate of goods which the welfare recipient explained, were "bought in for the Christmas!" Stolen goods? Perhaps, but even if they were bought, where did the money come from?

    It's common for inspectors to be threatened and intimidated and, as they often live in and around the same vicinity as the people they're inspecting, their identities and sometimes addresses are well known. As a result, some are too frightened to upset certain difficult clients - it's simply not worth it.

    Staff at the public office are now required to interview some welfare recipients to assess their "job seeking" progress. However, some have never worked, as their records clearly show, and when they are (as is now practice) requested to provide evidence of actual job seeking or to attend edcational courses, all manner of abuse is let fly at staff. Taking verbal abuse is now seen as being simply part of the job.

    Another area he told me about was the inspection of lone parents, which he said, takes up an inordinate amount of time and resources for the Department.

    Inspectors carry out surveilance of homes, morning, noon and night to ensure that the man who claims to be, "just visiting my kid" isn't actually living at the address. Inspectors will call to homes at unexpected times, make enquiries with neighbours, jot down car registration numbers and even check facebook accounts to establish who is living with who.

    Having "lone parent" status in social welfare terms can be quite lucrative but it would appear that this cat and mouse game is costing the Department as much as it is saving.

    Finally, he told me of the office visits for monthly sign-ons. Some welfare recipients refuse to come to the signing office (public office) on the requested day as they fear running into people with whom they are "feuding".

    My friend told that there have been mass brawls in other offices, thankfully not his, and so, in the interests of public and staff safety the Department allow special appointments to be made for signing for anyone who's involved in a feud. That made me laugh out loud - but he assured me it was no joke.

    By the end of our chat I (usually a Liberal Leftie) felt I had turned Right.

    I was angered by the stories of intimidation and abuse that the ordinary public servants had to endure and I was also really annoyed by the fraudsters who seem to be free to intimidate their way to getting whatever they want.

    We've all heard about the bankers, developers and politicians who've broken, escaped from and even mocked the law. Well, there is another group who have no fear of the law either, who scam our money right from under our noses. Sure, the scale is smaller but the arrogance, greed and indifference to others is the same among this cohort as it is among the corrupt bankers, developers and politicians.

    It seems to be us suckers in the middle who have most reason to fear the law, or indeed to even take it seriously.

    I'm not usually one for calling for tougher law enforcement and tougher laws as, like all liberals, I value our collective freedoms and I believe that most people do not need tougher laws or law enforcement to ensure that they behave in a respectful and civil manner.

    However, unfortunately, there are some who seem to need more stick and less carrot - there simply is no other way.

    PS: I'm not calling for reduced welfare rates; times are tough for everyone and the cost of living in this country is still high. I'm simply calling for thugs to be dealt with accordingly and not to be allowed to bully civil society.

  2. #2
    Politics.ie Member daveL's Avatar
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    Too late to turn the ship around now. We're well into the era of entitlements and gains in return for nothing. Less than nothing in fact.

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    Its very simple, if they feel unsafe whilst on an inspection they withdraw and when they return to the office write to inform the client that they must attend an interview and bring along proof of job seeking.

    It matters not what a person has in their home, the welfare inspector isnt there for that, there job is simple, validating a claim. If they feel a crime is being commited report it to the Gardai.

    If the Client fails to prove they are looking for work then cancel the claim.

    If the Inspector lives near the client send an alternative Inspector.

    I have delt with the Welfare Inspectors myself, I have found some of them to be rude and up their own arse so I can well imagine why some people might equally be rude back to them.
    Last edited by Neutron; 23rd October 2012 at 08:42 PM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveL View Post
    Too late to turn the ship around now. We're well into the era of entitlements and gains in return for nothing. Less than nothing in fact.
    It 's never too late Dave. We have values, standards and laws but we're not applying them justly.

    If, for example, you were to attack a Minister of the Government, a high court judge or a member of an Garda Siochana, you'd be dealt with quite severely as, you'd have attacked more than an individual but an office.

    I believe that any bullying or intimidating of civil and public servants should be treated with just as seriously as such behaviour actually attacks the very core of our democracy. If it goes unpunished it undermines the entire system.

  5. #5
    Politics.ie Member southwestkerry's Avatar
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    Its unfortunate fact off life these days that such carry on is in fact common however it would be wrong to label every one on welfare in the same way. I would think myself that those mentioned in the OP would account for less than 5% off all those on welfare. Mind you I am only quoting my own belief on the matter. I am not saying that figure is correct.
    Personally its very easy for the minister in charge to send out people to investigate such matters and its only correct they do, but is their any one keeping tabs on the expenses system the civil service use on a day by day bases that would account for as much iffy spending as those wrongly claiming welfare.?
    I know its not really the same but I am just using it as an example.
    A ship at harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutron View Post
    Its very simple, if they feel unsafe whilst on an inspection they withdraw and when they return to the office write to inform the client that they must attend an interview and bring along proof of job seeking.
    Not possible in the case of a lone parent inspection.

    It matters not what a person has in their hime, the welfare inspector isnt there for that, there job is simple, validating a claim. If they feel a crime is being commited report it to the Gardai.
    Of course it matters; inspectors assess means which includes income and assets.

    If the Client fails to prove they are looking for work then cancel the claim.
    That's normally what happens.

    If the Inspector lives near the client send an alternative client.
    Not always an option.

    I have delt with the Welfare Inspectors myself, I have found some of them to be rude and up their own arse so I can well imagine why some people might equally be rude back to them.
    Do you think it's okay to threaten and intimidate them?

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Septic Frank View Post
    Not possible in the case of a lone parent inspection.
    Simple again, withdraw if feeling threatened, return with another inspector of bigger build.

    Of course it matters; inspectors assess means which includes income and assets.
    Im sorry but this is false, means is what you have in your bank account, stocks and shares, land, high valued assets.Its not about having a PS3 sat in the corner or the latest flat screen TV. You can have a few grand in your bank and still qualify for welfare.

    A Welfare Inspector has no right to question anything in relation to your home, they only have the right to inspect your bank accounts and land register.



    That's normally what happens.
    No issue then.

    Not always an option.
    Make it an option, all welfare inspectors cant live on top of each other and there are more than one inspector for each area.

    Do you think it's okay to threaten and intimidate them?
    No, but as I have said, Inspectors are no saints themselves. I can understand how some people will become angry with them as to the way they are being judged.

    Recently whilst unemployed myself I had to deal with an inspector, He tried to act above his weight and remit, He spoke down to me and gave me no respect. I soon put him right.

  8. #8
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    Had to put a rude inspector right many years ago,she was far wiser on the need for respect and good manners after her visit-Had i been more cool headed i should have asked her out ,she was gorgious too.

  9. #9
    Politics.ie Member Victor Meldrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveL View Post
    Too late to turn the ship around now. We're well into the era of entitlements and gains in return for nothing. Less than nothing in fact.
    There is a world of difference between those who are made redundant and those who never worked. I resent how my income is taken and given to these people, but once they have kids, there is little the state can do, thus far.

    Forced adoptions in cases of repeated criminality/anti social behavioral or after the second child by different fathers might have merit, but then that could be tricky to sell to the electorate.

    It is the example they set for their kids that is the real problem.

  10. #10
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    FFS - Is it so hard to actually create a thread title that actually gives specifics on what you point is? Threads with meaningless titles are usually zooed.

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