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Benefit Fraud


Attempting to get payment from government without being truly entitled to such has become rampant these days. And authorities in charge of benefits have been trying for year to put in place strict measures to curtail the menace. The UK DWP reports that fraudulent benefit claims accounted for nearly £900 million in 2008 to 2009. Meaning of benefit fraud, types of it and how not to get implicated among other things, are what this article is set out to discuss.

Benefit fraud is when someone tries to fraudulently claim a state benefit which they are not entitled to by deliberately failing to disclose some change in their personal circumstances. Fraud is fraud they say, but this is a strictly complicated area. It is a deliberate falsification of information or not telling the government council something because you know or think that you will be better off as a result.

If you make false claims or do not tell the agency of changes when they happen, you will not only repay any overpaid benefit but you may also be prosecuted for offences under the Social Security Administration Act or the Theft Act. In the US, present figures estimate that the amount of fraud in the welfare system runs into billions of pounds each year.

The two most common ways in which benefit fraud is perpetrated are when a person receives state benefits, but yet continues or begins employment and when the receiver of state benefits claim that they live alone, when in truth they are financially supported by a partner or spouse. The law advocates that failing to inform the state that your partner is now living with you, or that you have moved house, or that a relative has died, leaving you some money is a crime.

Various types of benefit fraud people commit?

The following are common types of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit-related fraud that people commit:

•  Living together with their partner but claiming benefit as a single person.

•  Divulging the details of all their income or capital.

•  False tenancies - This implies a situation where a landlord and tenant conspire to create false tenancy with heinous mission of taking advantage of the Benefit Scheme.

•  Non-Residence claim This is where claims are made from an empty property.

•  Some claimants do not give details of other people who live at their address. This is what is called non-dependant and lodgers claim.

These are just some of the types of many ways in which benefit may be committed either knowingly or unknowingly. There are still several others ways to commit the fraud or get implicated. It should also be added that all manner of people including pensioners and even physical challenged people can commit benefit fraud. It is therefore advisable to consult with your attorney before filing any document with government agency.

In most cases, apart from the perpetrators, some government officers in charge of benefits scheme have fallen victims of benefit fraud. This is simply because they are the ones that receive blame for the sins of others. Their fault is usually attributed to lack sheer carelessness by not carrying out thorough check on the information provided to them by benefit applicants before issuing the benefits. Therefore, government officers should ensure proper crosschecking and verification of every bit of information filed in order to avoid illegal claims and issuance of benefits to people who do not merit it.

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