Benefit fraud

Benefit fraud occurs when:
  • You lie to obtain an advantage to which you would not otherwise be entitled to.
  • Not declaring a change in circumstances that impacts your eligibility for benefits.

You may be prosecuted for violations of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 as amended, or the Fraud Act 2006 if you submit false benefit claims or fail to notify the Council of changes to your circumstances while claiming benefits. You must refund any overpaid benefits.

In the event that your circumstances change, it is your obligation to tell the Council as soon as it occurs. This includes any financial adjustments made as a result of the claimant, another household member, or anyone moving in or out. You can use the Council's online change in circumstances form.

Examples of benefit fraud include:

  • residing in a household with a partner or another adult who is not declared for the purposes of a benefit claim
  • not disclosing your full salary as well as the income of any other household members
  • failing to declare an occupational pension
  • failing to declare savings, capital, investments, property or land
  • failing to declare receipt of a student grant bursary or loan
  • failing to declare you have vacated a property and continue to accept housing benefit payments
  • pretending to rent a property which you actually own
  • providing false documents to mislead the council about the true circumstances

A partner is a person you are married to or have a civil partnership with or a person you live with as if you were their partner. A partner does not have to stay with you seven nights per week but will be classed as resident if your address is their principal home.

Another adult is a person in your household over the age of 18 who is not your partner and will be classed as a non-dependent for the purpose of assessing your claim. Depending on the individual circumstances, a non-dependent's income will often affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to.

You can report fraudulent benefit claims at the Department for Work and Pensions website or by calling the DWP Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440 (Textphone users can call 0800 328 0512).