What benefit fraud is, how benefit fraud is investigated and how to report someone you suspect of committing benefit fraud.
About Benefit Fraud
Like all local authorities, West Lothian Council has a duty to stop fraud entering the Welfare Benefit system. Fraud costs the Government millions every year and it is the vast majority of honest claimants and Taxpayers who are left to pick up the bill.
People are committing benefit fraud where they are claiming Housing Benefit or other Social Security benefits but they have no right or entitlement to benefit.
Investigating Benefit Fraud
In order to identify and stamp out fraud in the benefit system, the council works closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to investigate allegations of benefit fraud.
Below is a list of some of the types of benefit fraud we investigate:
- People who are working but don't tell us this when they claim.
- People who claim to be single but have a partner residing with them.
- People who claim from one address but live at another.
- People who don't declare all their income and capital when they claim.
- People who fail to report changes in their circumstances that affect their benefit.
If, after an investigation has been completed, it is determined that someone has committed a fraudulent act, punitive action can be taken and this can be in the form of:
- An administrative penalty (a financial penalty)
- Prosecution (the case will be passed to the Procurator Fiscal who will decide whether to prosecute or offer an alternative punishment)
- In addition to these, anyone who commits benefit fraud will still be required to pay back any overpaid benefit. Fraudulent overpayments are recovered at higher rate.
Reporting suspected Benefit Fraud
If you know or suspect that Benefit Fraud is taking place, you can telephone the Local Authority Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440 Mon - Fri between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm. If you have speech or hearing problems you can use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512.
You can also report benefit fraud online. Or, if you prefer you can write to us at:
PO Box 224
Any information provided, will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be used only for the prevention or detection of a crime.