In Case file #4 I asked you to remember something about Labour introducing the Pension Credit just as the first baby-boomers were beginning their retirement, which almost certainly would have pushed Income Support claims up as the over 60s made up more than half the claimants. Instead of Income Support, they would receive Pension Credit with the added benefit that the means-test would not punish them for having a bit of savings and look mostly at their income instead.
I don't believe for a moment that Labour did this purely out of kindness, considering their actions and briefings against benefit claimants probably contributed to the fall in many of them in the last decade, but this was just a trick to keep Income Support from becoming a headline matter as claims were due to soar. Whilst it was rising among the over-60s, it was falling among those of working age; so much for single mothers fuelling rises in claims. Even with Child Benefits thrown in, living on Income Support isn't easy when you have to raise offspring.
Rule #1 Of The Way of The Fiddler: when you don't want the numbers to go up- divide them. Isolate those that rise from those that do not.
With Income Support split into two, the numbers when compared separately are much more favourable.
Retiring men don't appear to show up, but men tend not to claim Income Support or Pension Credit as much as women. This is possibly because men on average have higher incomes and better pensions but I can't know for sure right now. The slight drop in Income Support in 2008 coincides though with the male retirement of the same group of baby-boomers that started their retirement in 2003. It could mean that men on low-incomes have lost Income Support and not been told or have otherwise chosen not to claim Pension Credit.
Well that's one way of making the numbers cease going up, but what if you want them to rise? If splitting benefits keeps the figures down, wouldn't joining them bring them up? Well that would be too obvious, people would notice. If you want to inflate a figure you need to do it the same way that was done with Disability Living Allowance. You can claim DLA if you are under 60(or 65 for men), have a sickness or disability which substantially affects your ability to care for yourself or to get about and in this case it's important not to confuse 'mobility' with 'travel' as the Coalition does when they justify their removal of mobility DLA for care-home residents. Mobility DLA could be used for postage and packaging for things which a person can not take to or bring from a shop, a wheelchair, a mobile phone and even a basic broadband connection. None of these are for issues with travel, a person can need these things and have no problem at all with travel, just their basic mobility. Someone in a care-home with complex mobility issues but with no problem travelling is still going to have their DLA mobility cut off because of Coalition ignorance unless they go through with that much talked-about U-turn. But being disabled, ill and in need of help isn't enough, you need to have already needed help for at least six months, meaning up to your knees in shit long before some relief is available except in the case of a diagnosed terminal illness. Half of those that attempt to claim DLA will be turned down outright. You have to wonder if the decision-makers base it on a coin-toss.
The quirk of DLA though is that for the over 60s(65) you claim Attendance Allowance instead, but if you already claim DLA when you reach retirement age you can still claim it rather than Attendance Allowance. The difference is that Attendance Allowance doesn't have a Mobility component and doesn't have have an equivalent lower bracket for Care; the AA lower bracket is equivalent to the middle bracket DLA. Because people can keep on claiming DLA rather than AA in retirement, this means DLA was only ever going to grow. There was no transition from DLA to AA as with what happened with Income Support to Pension Credit.
Attendance Allowance is actually an older benefit than DLA which was introduced in 1992; it would have been obvious from the start that Attendance Allowance claims would fall and DLA ones would rise strongly until there were virtually no AA claimants left except for those who become severely sick or disabled after retiring. A spanner is somewhat thrown in the works because of the rising number of elderly people if the intention was to stall the number for people claiming Attendance Allowance. A significant proportion of the rise however was shifted to DLA.
Rule #2 Of The Way of The Fiddler: When you want to arrest a severe predicted claimant rise in a population which votes in high numbers and society will absolutely not forgive you for targeting, transfer many of them progressively to a group which is easier to characterise as possibly undeserving.
Allow pensioners to carry on claiming within this secondary buffer group and give them an incentive to do so(Mobility and lower bracket awards). Be sure to target the buffer group: DLA Claimants, in the press and in public statements.
The difference in eight years is that pensioners are claiming nearly 4.5% more of the share than they did before rather than Attendance Allowance. What if DLA and AA were identical and people were transitioned to AA from DLA on their retirement? If we add Attendance Allowance claimants to the Pension Age figures we get this:
If the rises in DLA and Attendance Allowance say anything, it's that people are getting old. By linking the figures for DLA and AA, politicians set things ready for DLA claimants to be thrown under a bus because of an 'inexplicable' rise in DLA claims. I'm not sure if this rule came in when DLA was introduced or if it was introduced since then and will look around to find out.
Case file #5 is a speculative investigation intended to anticipate deception not just in the compiling of data, but in the use of it.
Case file #5 finds that even if the arrangement of DLA and AA was not deliberate and cynical, then politicians of today are at least in the frame of mind that they can take advantage of it without fear of being scrutinised. In time they might come to realise they are mistaken and for The Files of Mason Dixon, Autistic; the investigation is always on-going.