Hello Jack, how's your back? Johnny Robinson quizzed by welfare official over 'years of incapacity payouts'

Labels: ,

By Sara Nathan

Back troubles: Johnny Robinson has been claiming incapacity payouts for a condition that affects his back but he is now under investigation

Eccentric X Factor hopeful Johnny Robinson will be questioned on suspicion of being a benefits cheat, it has emerged.

The 45-year-old singer, who has proved to be a somewhat bizarre hit on this lacklustre series, has been claiming incapacity payouts for a bad back for more than a decade.

However, the former drag queen will now face questioning from the Department for Work and Pensions after continuing to collect his handouts – despite the fact millions have watched his energetic routines on the ITV1 talent show.

The unemployed wannabe, who lives on his own in a bedsit in Harrow, north-west London, is believed to have been receiving £92.45-a-week in handouts.

He suffers from arthritis-related condition spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae causing a stiff spine.

Yet his performance on last Saturday’s X Factor was particularly lively as he sang Darkness hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love.

He was lowered on to the stage by crane, then danced from side to side and even skipped around the judges.

A point to prove: The former drag queen has been putting in some very energetic performances despite his apparent back issues

An acquaintance reportedly contacted welfare inspectors, who will now call him in for an urgent reassessment of his condition to see if he is a genuine claimant –or a cheat.

Friends say Johnny has rarely worked due to his ailment and has had to take heavy duty painkillers and sleep on the floor to give his back extra support.

X Factor chiefs last night said they knew he was getting incapacity payments since he has been on the live shows.

Taken for a ride: Johnny is now under investigation by welfare officials after it emerged that he has been on incapacity payouts for years

They advised him, under the circumstances, to contact the DWP.

A spokesman for the Government department said yesterday: ‘We cannot comment on an individual case, but we are in contact with Mr Robinson about his situation.

‘Incapacity benefit is there to support people who are unable to work and if someone’s circumstances change or new evidence comes to light, they may not get the benefit any more.’

There were similar concerns last year when it emerged finalist Wagner claimed incapacity benefit despite energetic performances.

Meanwhile, a contestant voted out two weeks ago has been reinstated. Ashford Campbell, 19, of boy band Nu Vibe –the first act to be voted off by the public –will join remaining act, The Risk, after its member Ashley Baptiste quit yesterday.

The move is set to infuriate viewers who shelled out money to save their favourite acts.