Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why Aren't More Young People Doing This?

From Australia:
UNIVERSITY students are entering into "sham" marriages in a bid to get financial support to cope with rising tertiary costs.

As the Victorian Government moves to pressure Canberra for improvements to support schemes such as Youth Allowance and Austudy, students admit they are resorting to drastic measures in a bid to qualify for government aid.

One student from the University of Sydney told The Age he married his housemate a few years ago in order to become eligible for the Independent Youth Allowance.

Under the scheme - which critics claim is either too hard to obtain or insufficient to make ends meet - students can receive between $194.50 and $355.40 a fortnight if they can prove they are "independent" through a range of criteria, such as earning $18,850 after spending 18 months out of school, having deceased parents, or being married.

"We went to the registry on Thursday and by Monday we were at Centrelink. [Note: the Australian welfare office.] It seemed like the easiest, clearest solution - simply because there was no other accessible means for us to survive," said the student, who did not wish to be named.
Gaming the system! Gotta love it.

I've floated the idea with some acquaintances about a possible exploit that more Americans can use to similarly game our insurance system, via using the newly minted "domestic partnership" laws.

It's simple. Two young men (Or any combination of men & women, really.) have left college and remained good friends. One is a successful management type or office drone with a good benefits package including health care for himself and his "partner." His buddy is an artistic type with great ideas and a great future, but nothing in the way of insurance and health care.

They move in together, then go downtown to register as "domestic partners." Now the artistic type has access to the same excellent health care system as the office drone at a fraction of the cost it might otherwise be if he was single and alone!

The office drone has little to fear. Workplace harrassment laws will protect him. He doesn't even have to say anything at all. He can continue to live his life as a swingin' single guy. Only the folks in Human Resources will really know and they can't say anything. If they did for some reason, via whispers or rumors, then we're back to workplace harrassment protection.

It ought to be easy to keep the insurance fraud sniffers away. They have to prove fraud. You need only assert they are delving into your personal life and how you choose to live it is your business. Keep your morality out of my bedroom!

It seems such a fundamental and easy dodge it really surprises me that more artist types aren't taking advantage of it.

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