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Benefits fraud

If you are aware of someone who is fraudulently claiming benefit you should report him or her.

Types of fraud

  1. A person claims benefit stating that they live alone, but they have a partner living with them.
  2. A person (or their partner) has not declared that either of them are working, part-time or full-time.
  3. A person (or their partner) fails to disclose that:
    • They or their partner own another property or land;
    • or that they have savings. (Bank/Building Society/Post Office Accounts, Stocks, Shares, Unit Trusts, National Savings Certificates, Income/Premium Bonds.)
  4. A person (or their partner) fails to disclose that they have other income. This could be a private pension or other state benefits.
  5. A person fails to disclose that they are no longer living at the house for which they have been claiming:
    • Housing Benefit;
    • or a discount under Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
  6. A person fails to disclose that someone else is living in the house, such as a lodger.
  7. A person claims benefit to pay rent, but the tenancy or rent details are false.
  8. A person lives with the owner of that property and they are closely related.
  9. A person claims benefits at a property that they have never lived in.

Please note: This list is not exhaustive.

Do you know of anyone committing benefit fraud?

If they claim Housing Benefit or a Council Tax Reduction fraudulently and you want to report it, contact us:

  • Phone: 01422 393514 (The Fraud Hotline).

Report benefits fraud

You do not have to give your name and address, unless you wish to do so. The more information you can give, the more likely it is that the fraud can be detected. Things that help us to investigate are:

  • Names of all the people in the household.
  • Descriptions of the persons involved, including any potential violent behaviour.
  • Registration number and descriptions of any vehicles used.
  • Employer's name and address and if that employer is aware that benefit fraud is being committed.
  • The time a person may leave and return home from work.
  • Any alibi that may be given by the person committing fraud.
  • How long the fraud has been going on.

Please note: This list is not exhaustive.

When we get this, Council Officers who investigate fraud will look into the matter and take any action needed. If they are claiming benefit fraudulently, their benefit will be stopped and any overpayment will be recovered. We may also decide to take legal action.

Cases of fraud

When we find that an overpayment of benefit has taken place, it must be repaid.

If there is evidence that a person has committed a criminal offence, we may decide to take further action. This can include:

  • The issue of an official caution;
  • a financial penalty;
  • or prosecution through the courts.

(Figures to 31st March 2021) Calderdale Council has administered:

Formal Cautions 552
Administrative Penalties 529
Prosecutions 380

Below are details of some of the benefit fraud cases that have been successfully prosecuted:

After failing to declare that she owned another property, an Elland woman got a suspended prison sentence. She was convicted of claiming over £31K in Housing Benefit that she knew she was not entitled to. The fraud occurred from 2009 to 2017 and came to light during a review of her claim.
In November 2019, a Brighouse man received a prison sentence suspended for 18 months. This was after he claimed over 19K in Housing Benefit and Council Tax discounts. The fraud began in 2010 when he failed to report that his partner had moved into live with him. He then continued to make false statements, declaring that he was living alone.
A Halifax man failed to report that he had was working while claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Discounts. He was convicted in July 2019 of claiming over £4K that he was not entitled to receive. He was given a 150 hours community punishment order and ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs.
In October 2019, a Halifax women received a 10 week curfew and a 12 month community punishment order. This was after she failed (over a four year period) to declare she was in receipt of a student loan. When she was interviewed, she admitted that she knew her loan would affect her benefit. She was not able to explain why she had not reported it.

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