MORE than 435million of "mobility" benefits for the disabled are going to junkies, alcoholics, asthmatics and people with bad backs.
The handouts of up to 49.85 a week are meant for people with "severe" walking difficulties.
Many get it simply by filling out a form, without any checks by a doctor.
Ministers fear the rules are so lax that cash is being handed to the wrong people. Official figures show 19,400 people with drug or booze problems get the help, along with 30,900 asthmatics and 128,300 with "unspecified" back problems.
The cash is part of the Disability Living Allowance designed to help those with a serious disability.
It comes in two parts - a care component of up to 71.40 and the 49.85 mobility payment.
To qualify for the mobility element, claimants should be "unable or virtually unable" to walk, or have no feet or legs.
It can also be claimed by blind, deaf and mentally ill people who need help to walk.
A total of 3.2 million people now claim the benefit at a cost of 12BILLION a year - the same as Britain's entire transport budget.
The Government plans to replace the benefit with a new Personal Independence Payment.
Crucially, this would involve claimants being assessed by doctors, ensuring the cash goes to the right people.
A Whitehall source said: "At the moment someone with back pain could get 50 a week DLA mobility by simply filling out a paper-based assessment.
"The new face-to-face assessment will help to make sure the support goes where it is needed the most and that the benefit remains accurate."