How to Report Benefit Fraud on Universal Credit: Overpayments Cost £5 Billion to UK Taxpayers
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recently disclosed global credit statistics, revealing that fraud and error had resulted in massive overpayments. Fortunately, when fraud is detected, it is possible to take action.
As the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy over the previous year or so, Universal Credit became increasingly important for many. Thousands of families were forced to rely on government assistance in 2020, yet the instability brought with it an increase in fraud.
The Department for Work and Pensions revealed last week that it had overpaid £5.5 billion in Universal Credit in the 2020/21 fiscal year.
This, it said, could have been fueled by a high number of bogus claims, in which people were given money they didn’t deserve.
Gareth Davies, the head of the National Audit Office, issued a strong caution in light of these figures.
“I am worried that the amount of fraud and inaccuracy in the benefits system continues to rise year after year, reaching its highest level since records began,” Mr Davies said.
“This has a significant impact on public money as well as people who suffer income deductions as a result of overpayments.
“I acknowledge that the epidemic and the associated rise in claims has heightened the DWP’s risk of fraud and error.
“It must now evaluate all cases that may have been vulnerable to fraud during this time, while also pursuing our previous recommendations for reducing fraud and error.”
The NAO also recommended that those who attempted to falsely claim taxpayer funds be prosecuted.
Fortunately, there are tools in place to help reduce fraud to the extent practicable.
On its website, the government offers a free service that allows consumers to report someone they believe is committing benefit fraud.
Users are asked to provide “as much information as you can about the person you’re reporting” when utilizing the application.
This could include information such as their name, residence, and the type of fraud they are suspected of perpetrating.
These reports can be made anonymously, or users can provide their name and contact information.
“The Department for Work and Pensions Fraud and Error Service will look at the information you provide,” the government explained after an initial report.
“They won’t be able to reveal the results of their inquiry to you.
“If the Fraud and Error Service discovers that the person has been committing benefit fraud, they will take action.
Brinkwire Summary News” says, “Action can.”