Benefit fraud and benefit payment errors have risen by £300 million since 2010, according to figures from the National Audit Office (NAO).
The coalition government has pledged to cut benefit fraud, but overpayments, benefit errors and benefit fraud cost the taxpayer £3.5 billion last year – an increase of 9% on the previous year.
NAO figures show that £1.2bn was written off as a result of benefit fraud, while £1.6bn was paid to benefits claimants who had made calculation errors in their claims – and £800m was lost in benefit overpayments.
The Daily Mail reports that the NAO has refused to sign off the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) accounts for the 24th successive year.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has repeatedly vowed that the government will make work pay – and that the DWP will crack down on benefit fraud and benefit errors and overpayments.
Welfare minister Lord Freud has said the government is anticipating a record number of prosecutions for benefit fraud in the coming year.
The NAO has said benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Pension Credit are most likely to be targeted by those making fraudulent claims because assessment relies on claimants giving accurate details.
However, the processing of claims by Jobcentre Plus can be subject to delays – and in cases where claimants may work part-time, benefit overpayments can occur as a result of DWP delays in assessing a claimant’s part-time income.
Duncan Lewis Benefit Fraud Solicitors
Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of criminal solicitors and can advise claimants facing charges of benefit fraud – including JSA, disability benefit, housing benefit, Income Support, Pension Credit and Council Tax fraud.
For expert advice and representation on benefit fraud charges, contact Duncan Lewis criminal solicitors on 020 7923 4020.