Lewes District Council

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Benefits
Lewes District Council
Southover House
Southover Road
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1AB


Tel: 01273 471600
benefit@lewes.gov.uk

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Housing Benefit Fraud

We take a pro-active approach to catching those making false claims of Housing Benefit.

We ensure those entitled to benefit receive their correct entitlement. We also have an obligation to prevent abuse of the system by those who claim benefit falsely. We are committed to tackling benefit fraud.

We know that most claimants are honest but we have a responsibility to tackle those who are not.

We take positive action to make it harder to commit benefit fraud and stop those who might be thinking of doing it. We also encourage people to report those who are making fraudulent claims.

We have stricter controls when claims are made. Customers must produce evidence about their identity, income and savings before benefit is paid. Where we are supplying benefit payments, reviews are carried out to check entitlement during the course of a claim.

We have improved our methods for gathering and using intelligence to catch more fraud. We work closely with other agencies such as the Benefits Agency, other councils, the police, Inland Revenue and the Post Office.

We perform a regular data matching exercises. This cross-checks information held by all our departments and other agencies.

Committing Fraud

There are many types of fraud in Housing Benefit. Common offences include people working who do not declare this, claiming as a single person but live with a partner or from an address but donít live in that property.

You must tell us your true amount of income, capital or savings and when there is a change in their circumstances. Landlords must not continue to receive benefit for people who are no longer their tenants.

Punishment

A range of actions are available as a punishment for committing benefit fraud.

A Local Authority Caution could be issued. This is an official warning provided as an alternative to prosecution. If another benefit offence is committed and a prosecution takes place, this caution will be taken into account by the Courts.

An Administrative Penalty may be issued. This is similar to a fine and is calculated as 50% of any benefit overpaid as a result of fraudulent activity. It is paid in addition to repaying the overpayment.

A Prosecution can be heard at magistrates or Crown Court with sentences up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

In addition to the above if an offence is committed wholly after 1 April 2010 then any ongoing benefit entitlement may be reduced for a 4 week period.

Reporting Fraud

You can report a suspicion of fraud, in confidence by contacting our Fraud Team or visiting any Housing Benefit office.

Alternatively you can report fraud with the Department for Work And Pensions Benefit Fraud online form.

The law says we have to keep information about people confidential, so we cannot give progress reports to the person who reported the possible fraud. We ensure those entitled to benefit receive their correct entitlement. We also have an obligation to prevent abuse of the system by those who claim benefit falsely. We are committed to tackling benefit fraud.