Universal Credit: How to report benefit fraud as overpayments cost UK taxpayers £5billion

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Universal Credit became crucial for many over the last year or so as coronavirus wrecked havoc on the economy. Thousands of families found themselves dependent on Government support in 2020 but unfortunately, the chaos also brought with it rising fraud issues.

Last week, the DWP detailed it had overpaid around £5.5billion of Universal Credit in the 2020/21 year.

This, it noted, may have been fuelled by high numbers of fraudulent claims, where people would have received money they were not entitled to.

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In light of these figures, Gareth Davies, the head of the National Audit Office, issued a stark warning.

Mr Davies said: “I am concerned that the level of fraud and error in the benefits system continues to increase year on year, now reaching its highest level since records began.

READ MORE: Pensions boost: Royal Mail to pioneer ‘third way’ scheme

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Fortunately, there are tools in place to limit fraudulent activity where possible.

The Government has a free-to-use tool on its website which allows users to report someone they think is committing benefit fraud.

When using the tool, users are encouraged to give “as much information as you can about the person you’re reporting.”

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This could include their name, address and the type of fraud they are believed to be committing.

“Action can include removing a person’s benefits and taking them to court.

“Sometimes no action is taken. The person may have declared a change in their circumstances or their benefit may not be affected by what you report.”

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It is also possible to report someone by phone or post through the following details: National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NBFH), Telephone: 0800 854 440, Textphone: 0800 328 0512, Welsh Telephone: 0800 678 3722.

Letters can be posted to: National Benefit Fraud Hotline, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 2BP.

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