Housing benefit fraud and investigation
We have a duty to ensure that benefit payments are made only to those who are actually entitled to receive them and that the correct amount is paid.
Housing benefit fraud investigation
Alleged benefit offences are investigated by colleagues from the Department for Work and Pensions. We use a variety of 'tools', including data matching to identify and refer fraudulent claims.
When does a housing benefit claim become fraudulent?
Working and claiming benefit
Working and claiming fraud usually involves claimants who are usually in receipt of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction and not declaring all or part of their wages or other jobs.
Non-disclosure of property/capital
This fraud is where a claimant fails to declare either savings/capital, or the ownership of another property/land elsewhere.
Non-disclosure of income
This is where the claimant fails to declare all of their income, knowing or intending that non-declaration will increase their benefit award, for example, a private pension.
Non-disclosure of partner (living together as husband and wife)
This involves a claimant failing to declare the presence of a partner who is working, knowing or intending that this would affect their entitlement.
Non-declaration of non-dependants and/or sub-tenants
It is fraudulent if a claimant fails to declare the presence of other adults living in the property, in order to preserve or increase entitlement to benefit.
False claims by home owners
This is where the owner of a property falsely states that he or she is paying rent to occupy what is, in fact, his or her own property.
Failing to declare a change of address
Where a claimant fails to declare that he/she has moved, but continues to accept payments of Housing Benefit for their previous address, they are committing a fraud.
False address fraud
This fraud may occur where a person is claiming for an address at which he or she is not in living. This type of offence may occur with the collusion of the landlord or other tenants.
This is where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid directly to him/her for a period after which he/she is aware the claimant vacated the premises. Where the landlord has access to more than one property, there is the potential to move tenants around without informing us.
There are many other ways in which landlords and managing agents can defraud the benefits system, particularly in areas where there is a large proportion of multiple occupation houses and there are many seasonal workers looking for short-term lets.
Why you should report housing benefit fraud
Every year it is estimated that benefit cheats cost around £2 billion in stolen benefits. They are taking public money from people who really need it. The total cost of this fraud is equivalent to £80 a year from each family in Great Britain.
How to report housing benefit fraud
Report housing benefit fraud by telephone:
Telephone the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Your call is free and confidential; you do not have to give your name and address. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.
If you have speech or hearing problems, you can use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512.
Report housing benefit fraud online:
You can report housing benefit fraud online anonymously using either of the links below:
Report housing benefit fraud by post:
NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston PR1 1GP