Benefit fraud is knowingly obtaining benefit to which there is no entitlement. It is the deliberate withholding or providing of false information, or intentionally not reporting a change of circumstances in order to obtain benefits. It covers all benefits, such as Housing Benefit, Income Support, Pension Credits, Jobseekers Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Council Tax Benefit (prior to 31 March 2013), etc. Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and may result in prosecution.
Common types of benefit fraud
The most common types of benefit fraud are:
- Failure to declare earnings or income.
- Failure to declare a change in circumstances.
- Failure to declare savings.
- Failure to declare ownership of property.
- Failure to declare a partner.
- Failure to declare other household members.
- Claiming Housing Benefit whilst not living in the property.
Investigating Benefit Fraud
In the period from April 2008 to March 2015 the Council has undertaken 70 Interviews Under Caution resulting in 38 sanctions for benefit fraud, including 17 cases being reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Cases at the Kirkwall Sheriff Court include an Orkney resident who was put on a community payback order for one year and was told that they must undertake 200 hours of unpaid work for claiming benefit of £12,000 to which they were not entitled; and an Orkney resident who was prosecuted for failing to declare ownership of a property in England as well as self-employed earnings and was considered for the confiscation of funds under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Reporting Benefit Fraud
You can report suspected benefit fraud by contacting the Council's Benefit Team at Corporate Services, Orkney Islands Council, Council Offices, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY. Telephone: 01856873535 Extension 2130 or Direct Dial 01856886304. Available Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00.
You can also email the benefits team or download a copy of our Benefit Fraud referral form from the Related Downloads section of this web page.
You can report fraud online to the Government's website GOV.UK that can be accessed from the Related Sites section of this webpage.
Benefit fraud can also be reported to the National Shared Fraud Hotline on freephone: 08003286340 or for the hard of hearing 08003286341 available 08:30 to 18:30 Monday to Friday. They can also be contacted by post at PO Box No 647, Preston, PR1 1WA.
For more information relating to benefit fraud you can download additional documents from the Related Downloads section of this page.