Benefit fraud is where people claim housing benefit and council tax support and/or social security benefits when they have no right to claim it. It is often thought of as a victimless crime, but this is not true. It costs the city of Leeds an estimated £1 million each year which could instead be spent on improving public services to the citizens of Leeds.
Leeds City Council is determined to stamp out fraud and has a dedicated benefit fraud team to prevent Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support fraud. It is a criminal offence to commit benefit fraud and if we think that someone is fraudulently claiming benefit or support, or helping someone else to do so, we will investigate their circumstances with a view to prosecution.
Working and claiming - This usually involves claimants who are receiving Housing or Council Tax Support on the basis that they are entitled to job seekers allowance or income support but are in fact working.
Non-disclosure of property, capital or income - This is where the claimant does not tell us about all their income, savings, capital or property so that the amount of benefit that they get is higher than it should be.
Non-disclosure of partner (living together as man and wife) - This usually involves a claimant receiving job seekers allowance or income support and not telling us that they have a partner, knowing that this would mean that they would not be entitled to benefit.
Non-declaration of non-dependants or sub-tenants - This is where a claimant does not tell us about other adults living in the property so that they keep, or increase, their entitlement to benefit.
False claims by homeowners - Where the owner of a property falsely claims benefit, stating that they are paying rent for the property, inventing a fictitious landlord and using false rent books and tenancy agreements.
False address or failing to declare a change of address - This is where the claimant is claiming benefit for an address where they do not live. These types of offences can involve the landlord or other tenants, or occur when the claimant doesn’t tell us that they have moved out of a property.
Landlord fraud - Where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid direct to him or herself when they know that the claimant has left the premises
Fictitious tenancies - Where a tenancy is created between friends or family where the property would not normally be rented in order to obtain benefit to which they are not entitled.
There are several ways you can tell us about suspected fraud. You can do this anonymously or, if you give us your name we will keep this confidential. We have trained and experienced staff who can provide you with advice if you are unsure about whether to report a suspected case of fraud.
Write to us at Investigation unit, Selectapost 3, Civic Hall, Leeds LS1 1JF.
Email us at email@example.com.
Ring our freephone fraud hotline on 0800 915 6661.
It is important that you supply us with as much information as possible as this helps us to gather enough evidence to successfully prosecute an offender. We are not be able to provide updates on individual reported cases, due to the Data Protection Act (1998) and Human Rights Act (1998).
For further information about what we can all do to help prevent benefit fraud and its costs to society, visit the DWP Benefit Fraud website and the National Anti-Fraud Network website. Links to these sites are on the right.