The National Fraud Authority estimates benefit fraud costs the UK economy £1.6 billion per year.
Fraud can start when a claim is made and the person fails to disclose all of the information required in order to assess the claim correctly. For example if all income or all members of the household are not declared. The to assess the claim. For example if all income, members of the household or savings are not declared.
Fraud can also happen during the life of the claim when the claimant fails to notify a change of circumstances that may affect their entitlement to benefit. For example, if someone new moves into the household or if wages increase. All claimants have a duty to notify the Council of any changes in circumstances in writing as soon as they happen whether or not they think that it will affect their entitlement to benefit. A failure to do so is a criminal offence.
Indicators to suggest benefit fraud
Please not that the following are just indicators and not definite proof that fraud is being committed. This list is not conclusive and there are many other circumstances that may affect entitlement.
- A working partner moving into the property and no change in benefits (such as free school meals)
- Affording luxury goods such as a new car or expensive holidays
- Bragging that they are cheating the system
- Property left empty for several weeks or grown up children living there on their own
- Improvements being carried out to the property e.g. contractors decorating
To report any suspicions in relation to Housing Benefit Fraud you should contact the Department for Work and Pensions in one of the following ways:
- Online – www.gov.uk/benefit-fraud
- By Telephone – National Benefit Fraud Hotline 0800 854 440
- By Post – NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston, PR1 1GP