Benefit Fraud

We are committed to detecting and preventing benefit fraud.

The types of fraud we deal with include:

  • not declaring earnings or other income
  • not declaring a property or capital
  • not declaring a partner you live with
  • not declaring a change of address
  • not living at a property
  • making a false application for housing
  • subletting a council property
  • falsely claiming a Council Tax discount or exemption.

Report benefit fraud

To report benefit fraud, use our online form below.

To report benefit fraud anonymously, you can call 0800 0851 637.

If you are suspected of fraud

If enquiries about you do not match the information we hold, officers may visit or ask you to attend an interview to discuss the matter.

If officers believe there may be serious fraud, officers will investigate your claim in more detail. They may gather information about you and may contact other organisations that hold your details. These may include:

  • banks and building societies
  • the Department of Work and Pensions
  • HMRC (the tax office)
  • your utility providers.

Options available to the council

Where the investigation leads to an overpayment, you will have to pay it back in full.

Where the fraud is considered serious, we may:

  • issue a penalty
  • issue an Administrative Penalty
  • prosecute in the courts.

Counter-fraud work

We have not used our powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014.

We have a Corporate Fraud and Compliance Officer who investigates cases of benefit fraud. Some information about these investigations can be found below.

  • In 2018/19, there were 113 fraud referrals received from the DWP relating to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. 
  • There were 39 referrals, 25 of which were completed within the year.
  • Following the investigations, we recovered a total of £36,407.73 in Housing Benefit overpayments and £9,301.89 in Council Tax Reduction non-entitlement. This included a prosecution where the claimant was fined £1,500, as well as costs of £3,244.
  • Other areas of investigation included Right to Buy applications, tenancy fraud and single person discount. 
  • As a result of the investigations we issued two civil penalties and three warning letters, and two tenancies were surrendered.
  • Approximately £30,000 was spent by the council on the investigation and prosecution of fraud.

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