Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th July 2019.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to protect the rights and identities of benefit claimants from people making fraudulent claims using other people's identities.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Most welfare losses, across Government, arise from a failure to report changes of circumstances. Universal Credit provides a single, digital interface through which claimants can more easily report these changes. As such, once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, we expect cross-welfare losses to fraud, error and overpayments to be reduced by around £1 billion.

The Department takes benefit fraud very seriously and is committed to taking appropriate action. We have a dedicated team of investigators working on this issue and are working with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that, where appropriate, the perpetrators of this fraud are prosecuted. Prosecutions for benefit fraud can result in prison sentences.

The Department has been working to improve knowledge and awareness of advances fraud amongst Jobcentre and Service Centre staff. Guidance has also been issued to ensure that staff are aware how to refer cases of suspected fraud to the Department’s fraud team.

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