Universal credit: How to report benefit fraud as overpayments cost UK taxpayers £ 5 billion | Personal Finances | Finance
Universal credit has become crucial for many over the past year or so, as the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the economy. Thousands of families found themselves dependent on government support in 2020, but sadly the chaos has also resulted in growing fraud problems.
Last week, the DWP detailed that it overpaid around Â£ 5.5bn of universal credit in the year 2020/21.
This, he noted, may have been fueled by a high number of fraudulent claims, where people allegedly received money to which they were not entitled.
In light of these numbers, Gareth Davies, the head of the National Audit Office, issued a stern warning.
Mr Davies said: “I am concerned that the level of fraud and error in the benefits system continues to increase year on year, now reaching its highest level since registrations began.
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Fortunately, there are tools to limit fraudulent activity where possible.
The government has a free tool on its website that allows users to report someone they believe is committing benefit fraud.
When using the tool, users are encouraged to provide â€œas much information as possible about the person you are reportingâ€.
This could include their name, address, and the type of fraud they are supposed to be committing.
â€œThe action can include removing a person’s benefits and bringing them to court.
“Sometimes no action is taken. The person may have reported a change in their circumstances or their performance may not be affected by what you are reporting.”
It is also possible to report someone by phone or mail via the following contact details: National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NBFH), Phone: 0800 854 440, Textphone: 0800 328 0512, Welsh Phone: 0800 678 3722.
Letters can be mailed to: National Benefit Fraud Hotline, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 2BP.