Dudley Council takes benefit fraud very seriously. Although the vast majority of people who claim benefits are honest, those who steal benefits are picking the pockets of law-abiding residents.
Benefit fraud investigation is now coordinated by the Department for Work and Pensions. Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that benefit fraudsters stole an estimated £900 million from public funds nationally, that's why we are determined to catch them.
Remember - It is important that you provide as much detail as possible about who you suspect of claiming benefits fraudulently, such as who they are, where they live and what it is you suspect them to be doing.
Any information supplied is done so in complete confidence.
We are responsible for dealing with various other types of fraud, including abuse of disabled parking blue badges and housing tenancies, interference with procurement processes and misuse or theft of council resources/property.
You can assist us by reporting fraud and all concerns shared with us will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Many people assume that benefit fraud is only committed by those who are working 'cash in hand' whilst claiming benefit. This is not the case, the following are further examples of benefit fraud that is regularly investigated by the fraud team:
- Working whilst claiming - this involves claimants or their partner who are receiving housing/council tax benefit on the basis that they are not working but are in fact working. The work could be part-time, full-time, self-employed. All types of work have to be declared to the Council, it is then the Councils responsibility to determine whether or not the entitlement to benefit is affected.
- Non-disclosure of property, capital or income - this is where the claimant or their partner does not tell the Council about all their income, savings, capital or properties they own.
- Living Together – (includes - living together as man and wife, whether they are married or not, also civil partners or same sex couples) - this involves a claimant receiving housing and council tax benefit and fails to inform the Council they have a partner.
- Non-declaration of non-dependants (adults over 18) - this is where a claimant does not tell the Council about other adults living in the property. Other adults living in the property can reduce the amount of entitlement to housing/council tax benefit. Also the claimant has to keep the Council informed of the other adults financial circumstances e.g. if they return to work.
- False claims by homeowners - this is where owners of properties invent fictitious landlords/rent books/tenancy agreements. They themselves pose as claimants and subsequently make a claim for housing benefit.
- Fictitious tenancies - this is where a tenancy is created between friends or family where normally there would be no tenancy at the property. The purpose of this is to ‘contrive’ or ‘make up’ a tenancy, misleading the Council to pay housing benefit for a tenancy that does not exist.
- Fictitious address or failing to declare a change of address - this is where the claimant continues to claim housing and council tax benefit at an address they have moved out of. This type of benefit fraud can involve the claimant, landlord or other tenants.