Societies which pay their members cash benefits find it hard to recover overpayments. It is difficult to discern which overpayments result from human error and which from intentional claimant fraud. Further, those required to repay the excess benefits tend to claim lack of resources to do so.
In 1987, the total debt owed to local social security offices in the UK was £87 million. This is more than twice the debt which existed in 1984, and it continues to grow.