How we deal with Housing Benefit fraud
Updated: 17 May 2013
Housing Benefit fraud affects everyone. Money obtained through Housing Benefit fraud takes funds away from our schools, hospitals, housing and roads. The cost involved in dealing with fraud could be used to provide improvements in other public services. Measures introduced to prevent and detect fraud may inconvenience those with a genuine entitlement to benefit and may mean it takes longer to deal with all claims.
What the Housing Executive does about fraud
The Housing Executive is fully committed to trying to stop fraudulent claims from the outset. Procedures have been put in place to detect and prevent fraud when a new claim is made and during the lifetime of a claim.
Preventing fraud on new claims
Anyone making a claim for Housing Benefit must provide evidence to support their claim. This would include evidence of their identity, their family circumstances, their incomes and their tenancy. Housing Executive staff will carry out checks to ensure that this evidence is genuine.
After an award of Housing Benefit has been made a claimant must notify the Housing Executive of any changes in their circumstances that may occur.
Checks on ongoing claims
During the life of a claim, further checks will be made to ensure that the entitlement to Housing Benefit still exists and that the right amount of benefit is being paid. This may involve visits to homes, postal or telephone checks. Information submitted in support of a Housing Benefit claim will be checked at regular intervals against information held by other Government departments and agencies. Some of these checks will be done electronically, by comparing information held on a persons Housing Benefit file against data held by other government departments and some private sector organisations
Action will be taken in all cases where fraud is found. Overpayments of benefit will be recovered and those people committing fraud will be prosecuted. In the financial year ending March 2012 we identified approximately £4.5 million of Housing Benefit payments that were made as a result of claimant fraud and error. This money will have to be paid back by the claimants concerned.
What you can do about fraud
Because Housing Benefit fraud affects everyone in terms of the services they receive, it is in everyone’s interest to help stamp out fraud.
If you suspect that Housing Benefit fraud is being committed you can report the matter to any Housing Executive office in person, by phone or in writing. You can also report fraud online. Any information provided will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and its source will not be revealed. You can provide this information anonymously if you wish.
Information that may help investigate suspected fraud
When you contact us we may ask you for additional information in relation to the suspected fraud such as a description of the person(s) concerned (where perhaps a claimant has withheld information on a partner who has moved in), who the person may be working for (where a person is claiming benefits and fails to report they are also working), a description or Registration number of a car that is connected to the suspected fraud etc..
Alternatively you can use the Benefit Fraud Hotline by calling free on 0800 975 6050.
Housing Benefit is there to help those in need provide a home for themselves and their families. Please help us protect this benefit by putting a stop to fraud.