What Happens to Benefit Fraudsters in the UK?

This article explains what will happen if you are suspected of committing benefit fraud. Also, you can check which benefits CAN and CANNOT be stopped and what happens to benefit fraudsters if convicted in the United Kingdom.

So, what exactly is benefit fraud?

Benefit fraud is the intentional act of claiming benefits that you do not have entitlement to. As a result, the most common fraudulent acts committed by benefit thieves include:

  • Giving false or inaccurate information.
  • Failing to report a change in personal or household circumstances.
What Happens to Benefit Fraudsters in the United Kingdom?
Note: The UK Rules website (or GOV.UK) explains how to report benefit fraud online and anonymously!

What Happens to Suspected Benefit Fraudsters?

One of the Government departments will contact you if they suspect you are carrying out fraudulent behaviour.

In most cases, it will be one of these departments or agencies:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • The Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency
  • Your local authority

Consequently, they may stop your benefit while they conduct their investigation. If so, you will receive a letter from them notifying you about the cessation.

You might also receive a visit from Fraud Investigation Officers (FIOs). Furthermore, they can ask you to attend an ‘interview under caution’ (an opportunity to discuss your benefits claim).

Benefit Fraud – Available 24/7 and 365 days a year. This is what happens to benefit fraudsters in the United Kingdom…

Note: The main role of Fraud Investigation Officers is to gather facts about the case and to decide whether any further action is needed.

What Happens at an ‘Interview Under Caution’

Being asked to attend an interview can be a little unnerving for some claimants. Even so, the ‘interview under caution’ is a formal discussion and usually recorded. Consequently, it may develop into a criminal investigation at a later date.

Therefore, it may be wise to get legal advice. You can get help and information from a legal adviser (e.g. a solicitor) or from your local Citizen’s Advice.

Citizens Advice National Phone Service
Adviceline: 03444 111 444
Text relay: 03444 111 445
Available Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

What Happens to Benefit Fraudsters after Investigation?

So, you committed benefit fraud – or you attempted to cheat the benefits system in the United Kingdom! If this is the case, several things can happen, such as having to:

  • Pay back any overpaid money you received.
  • Attend court or receive a financial penalty (which can be from £350 up to £5,000).
  • Suffer your benefits being reduced or completely stopped.

Benefits Sanctions When Convicted of Benefit Fraud

Receiving a conviction for committing benefit fraud is a serious matter. Hence, you may get a reduction in payments or they may stop altogether – for a period of up to three (3) years.

As a general rule, the number of times you cheated the welfare system determines how long they will stop for. Nonetheless, the UK Government can only reduce or stop certain types of benefits (called ‘sanctionable benefits’).

Note: They can reduce other benefits you are getting if you commit fraud on a non sanctionable benefit.

List of Sanctionable Benefits

If you’re convicted of being a benefit fraudster you can have any of these sanctionable benefits reduced or stopped:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Industrial Death Benefit
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Industrial Injuries Reduced Earnings Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Retirement Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Unemployability Supplement
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Pension Credit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • War Disablement Pension
  • War Widow’s Pension
  • War Pension Unemployability Supplement
  • War Pension Allowance for Lower Standard of Occupation
  • Widowed Mother’s/Parent’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension/Bereavement Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit

Non Sanctionable Benefits (cannot be reduced or stopped)

Despite being convicted of benefit fraud these benefits cannot be reduced or stopped:

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Bereavement Support Payment
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Christmas Bonus
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Graduated Retirement Benefit
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Constant Attendance Allowance (where a Disablement Pension is payable)
  • Industrial Injuries Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (where a Disablement Pension is payable)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • State Pension
  • Social Fund Payments
  • War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance
  • War Pension Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

Exceptions to the Rules for Benefit Fraudsters

Some exceptions apply to benefit cheats who receive specific benefits. Thus, none of your other payments would reduce or stop if you get:

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