Benefit fraud

Benefit fraud is theft of public money. This is money which could be used to fund vital services or to help people who genuinely need help.

The Council is committed to the prevention and detection of benefit fraud, and has stringent measures in place to catch benefit cheats.

People who are caught claiming benefits which they are not entitled to will not only be named and shamed but could end up with a criminal record, a heavy fine or even a jail sentence. They will also have to pay back any money they have stolen.

If you suspect someone is claiming benefits fraudulently, please let us know so our Benefit Fraud Team can investigate and take action.

Also if you are claiming benefits please remember that you if make a dishonest claim, or fail to let us know if your circumstances change, you will be caught and prosecuted.

Changes to benefit entitlement and benefit fraud

Important changes to the rules around loss of benefit entitlement following a benefit fraud offence came into effect on 1 April 2010. If someone commits a first offence resulting in a conviction, administrative penalty or caution, it will be subject to a "One Strike" sanction. This means they may lose their right to continue receiving benefit payments for a four-week period, and you will still have to repay any overpayment. They will be notified if the "One Strike" sanction is applied to their benefits. If someone is convicted of two separate benefit fraud offences within five years, they may find their entitlement to certain benefits is reduced or withdrawn for an even longer period. This is known as the "Two Strikes" sanction, and they'll be notified if it's applied to their benefits.

For more information please contact our Benefit Fraud Team (see contacts section of this page).

Last reviewed: 01 - 07 - 2014

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