Benefit fraud

Benefit fraud is when you:
  • make a false statement in order to gain benefit you would not otherwise be entitled to
  • fail to declare a change of circumstances that affects your benefit entitlement

If you make false benefit claims or do not inform the Council of changes to your circumstances if you are claiming benefit, you will have to repay any overpaid benefit and may be prosecuted for offences contrary to the Social Security Administration Act 1992 as amended or the Fraud Act 2006.

It is your responsibility to keep the Council informed of changes in your circumstances at the time they occur. This includes any financial change relating to the claimant or any member of the household or anyone joining or leaving the household. You can use the Council's online change in circumstances form.

Examples of benefit fraud include:

  • living with a partner or another adult who is not declared for the purposes of a benefit claim
  • failing to declare your true income or the income of any other household member
  • 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).