Benefits claimants

Long Read

In response to the pandemic, the Colombian National Development office devised an unconditional cash transfer programme in only two weeks. The beneficiary selection process, which was solely based on data already held by the government, remains shrouded in obscurity.

Long Read

Millions of people rely on India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) to receive subsidised food rations, which have become an essential ingredient of survival for many families during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, access to food rations is not guaranteed for all beneficiaries, with many women being left without access to food at a time of crisis.

News & Analysis

A recent ruling by the British Court of Appeal sided with welfare claimants after a flaw in the income calculating system was revealed. 

22 Jun 2020
Immigration rules that have left 1 million migrant workers in the UK at risk of destitution because they cannot claim universal credit should be suspended on public health grounds during the pandemic, a cross-party group of MPs has recommended. The work and pensions select committee said the no
Long Read

UK Local Authorities are looking at people’s social media accounts as part of their intelligence gathering and investigation tactics.

Long Read

Our partner organisation InternetLab has been researching the Bolsa Familia Program and its consequences for gender and privacy, here are the first results.

30 Mar 2020
An official directive from the Pakistani provincial government of Sindh titled "COVID-19 Mobile Registration System for Needy People" describes its use of multiple databases to identify those in need of welfare funds and disburse cash to them by combining taxpayers' data from the Federal Board of
By 2018, the Danish municipality of Gladsaxe, in Copenhagen, began identifying children at risk of abuse so that flagged families could be targeted for early intervention by applying a set of specially designed algorithms to information already gathered by the centralised Udbetaling Danmark
Advocacy
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is preparing a thematic report to the UN General Assembly on the human rights impacts, especially on those living in poverty, of the introduction of digital technologies in the implementation of national social
20 Oct 2015
For low-income Americans to receive public benefits they are legally entitled to, they must submit to widespread monitoring of their intimate and personal affairs. This monitoring includes sharing a trove of personal documents and information, unannounced home visits from caseworkers, mandatory face
14 Dec 2018
The New York City public benefits system has been criticized for its punitive design, how it too often disciplines, rather than helps, people who are legally entitled to benefits. According to Mariana Chilton, the public benefits system is designed to control, surveil, and penalize low-income people
02 Dec 2016
Private companies are not the only actors pushing for increased control of benefit claimants. The World Bank has also instrumental in funding programmes aiming at assisting government in administrating welfare programmes which has led to futher surveillance of benefits claimants, in December 2016
21 Jul 2012
The State is not always the only actor involved in the surveillance of benefits claimants. Often those practices are encouraged, facilitated or conducted by private companies. South Africa for instance mandated MasterCard to help distribute benefits through biometric debit cards. https://www
02 Nov 2013
In Israel, the National Insurance Institutes sends out anti-fraud officers to spy on benefits claimants. Among the cases reported, a woman had her benefits allowances halved after a man entered her house pretending to be interested in buying the flat next door. The man, who was in fact a NII
01 Feb 2011
The DWP relies on anti-fraud officers who go and spy on benefit claimants to verify their claims. For instance, claimants who declare that they are a lone parent may end up with an officer trying to verify there is no one else living in the house. And once they are confident that the alleged lone
31 May 2018
The surveillance of benefits claimants does not happen only online. In the UK, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is known to be using CCTV footage of public buildings but also gyms and supermarkets to prove some benefits claimants are not actually disabled. Gym memberships are also being