Reporting the benefit fraud
There are many ways in which individuals can deceive the state by committing fraud. If counting the new types of frauds which appeared in the past few years, it could be said that wrongdoers have become more creative than ever and can find a way of cheating in no time.
One of the most common types of frauds which has increased in the UK is benefit fraud, as the social security system in this country is one of the best in Europe. Significant amounts of money reach those without jobs or other sources of income and offer them good living conditions.
Speculating on these benefits, more and more individuals have started pretending they are in need of financial help and this has raised a red flag on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the United Kingdom. This new type of fraud is known as benefit or welfare fraud.
What exactly does benefit fraud mean?
Welfare fraud in the UK has become such a serious issue that the government has enabled a special legal framework in order to punish such offence. Now, the Welfare Reform Act of 2012 is the main law covering benefit fraud in the United Kingdom.
According to the DWP, benefit fraud is defined as false declaration with the intent of obtaining social benefits. Under the same category of welfare fraud is also failing to disclose any change in their personal conditions which would lead to the benefit to stop. In most cases, unemployed individuals who obtain incomes from other sources are usually known for committing such offences.
Benefits falling under the Welfare Reform Law
There are several types of benefits individuals usually fail to report in order for the authorities to cease them once the person’s condition changes. The most common are:
- employment allowance
- jobseeker’s allowance
- career’s allowance
- working tax credit
- incapacity benefit
- housing benefit
- industrial reduced earnings allowance
- sick leave payment
These are just a few of the types of benefit frauds which are committed in the UK, the list being more extensive.
Reporting benefit fraud in the UK
Unfortunately, the authorities have a few possibilities of spotting all individuals’ benefit frauds, so one of the most efficient ways in which such persons can be exposed is the population who can report to the DWP such suspicions.
The information to be supplied in case of welfare fraud suspicion should contain the name and address of the persons, as well as the type of fraud considered to be committed.
From there, the Fraud and Error Service will take over the case and investigate it. The person reporting the fraud could be asked for an interview with the police, if they disclose their identity; however, anonymous reports can also be filed.
What happens if the benefit fraud is proved?
There are four measures the authorities take when proving the state was cheated by an individual who committed welfare fraud:
- the amount paid by the state outside the scope will be claimed back from the authorities
- a penalty
- a reduction or stop of the benefits
- confiscation of assets
Only some of the benefits will be completely stopped for up to three years, while in the latter situation, this is an extraordinary measure when the individual cannot afford to repay the money owed.
Benefit fraud is very common nowadays, but a good cooperation between the authorities and the citizens can lead to a significant reduction of such crime.