Housing benefit fraud and investigation
We have a duty to ensure that benefit payments are made only to those who are actually entitled to them. We have a duty to ensure 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 in receipt of Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction. Claimants do not declare all or part of their wages or other jobs.
Non-disclosure of property/capital
This fraud is where a claimant fails to declare 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. They do this knowing that non-declaration will increase their benefit award. An example is 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. They do this knowing 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. This is 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 they are paying rent to occupy their own property.
Failing to declare a change of address
Where a claimant fails to declare that they have moved. If they continue to accept payments for their previous address, they are committing fraud.
False address fraud
This is where a person is claiming for an address at which they are not living. This type of offence may occur with the collusion of the landlord or other tenants.
Where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid directly to them. This is for a period after which they are 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. This can be in areas where there is a large proportion of multiple occupation houses. There could be many seasonal workers looking for short-term lets.
Why you should report housing benefit fraud
It is estimated that benefit cheats cost around £2 billion in stolen benefits each year. 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 0800 854 440 for the National Benefit Fraud Hotline. 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.
Use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512 if you have speech or hearing problems.
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