How we check your claim for fraud
Helping to defeat benefit fraud
When you make a claim for benefit, you must provide proof of all the information you give i.e. income and capital. The information you give to support your claim is checked to make sure it's correct. This helps work out if you're entitled to any benefit and how much you can claim.
Checks can be made at any time, not just when you first make a claim. Sometimes a check is made on everyone getting a certain benefit or on a particular group of people who claim.
You can help limit benefit fraud by making sure the information you give is up to date and correct. You must report changes in circumstances in writing. For advice please contact the One Stop Shop on 01772 906903.
Routine checks on your benefit claim
At the beginning of your claim benefits officers will make enquiries to check the information you've given is accurate.
What you've written on the claim form will be compared with what you told us on a previous claim with this council or any other council, and also with records about you held by other government agencies. Information about you may also be shared with local authorities who must check claims before administering housing benefit and council tax support.
Providing evidence to support your claim
You will be asked to support your claim with evidence, for example your income and capital.
You'll also need to give your national insurance number, or apply for one if you don't have one. If you cannot remember your national insurance number, you will be asked for information (for example your date of birth and address) so your national insurance number can be found.
What happens if a discrepancy is found in your claim?
If enquiries about you don't match what's in your claim, officers may visit or ask you to attend an interview to discuss the matter.
Your claim can't be paid until these checks are complete so it's important you go to the interview and reply promptly to any letters.
What happens if you're suspected of benefit fraud?
If benefit officers believe there may be serious fraud, fraud officers will investigate your claim in more detail. They may gather information about you and family members then compare it with information already given on claim forms or in interviews.
Officers may contact private and other public organisations that hold information on you including:
- building societies
- credit providers
- credit card companies
- money transmission companies
- insurance companies
- credit reference agencies
- education providers
- water, gas and electricity providers
- telecoms companies including mobile telephone providers
- the Student Loans Company
- government agencies including HMRC
Officers can only make enquiries where they have reasonable grounds to believe you're committing fraud or helping someone else to do so.
Personal information and your rights
We collect and keep information about you relating to any benefits you claim. It's allowed by law to cross check this information and share it with certain other organisations.
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you a right by law to know what personal information is held about you by organisations.
Where to get help
If you're concerned about checks on your benefit claim or being asked to give evidence, you can get help from organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau or our Welfare Benefits advice page.