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You commit benefit fraud when you, on purpose, claim benefits that you are not entitled to. Many people find themselves stuck in this situation.
Benefit fraud has been increasing day by day. It is taking a toll on various countries’ economies. This is why countries are more diligent about it now and are urging you to report any type of fraud you see happening.
However, different countries have different rules about benefit fraud. Some countries add benefit fraud on your criminal record; some don’t. Similarly, there are different penalties set for benefit fraud by all countries.
If you are stuck in such a situation, you can take help from Farid Zamani Lawyer. In this article, we will help you understand some basic things about benefit fraud.
What happens if you are a suspect for benefit fraud?
If you are a suspect for benefit fraud, you will be contacted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Apart from this, your local authority or Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency can also contact you.
Furthermore, the benefits you were getting will be stopped, and a letter will be sent to you telling you about this.
Also, the Fraud Investigation Officers may visit you. You can also be called for an interview, known as the interview, under caution. During this interview, you will be asked questions related to the claim. Then the FIOs will gather all the evidence. Depending on that evidence, they will decide whether to carry on with the case.
What is the interview under caution?
The interview is a formal interview. It is mostly recorded and is used against you if any criminal investigation occurs.
It’s important that you go well prepared for the interview. Dress up formally and be prepared to face any type of questions. However, remember not to lose your calm during the interview.
What happens after the investigation?
If it is proven that you committed the fraud, then you will be penalized. This depends on the intensity of the fraud.
The first thing that every person will have to do is return the overpaid money that you made from the fraud. You will be given a certain time span during which you will have to return the money. Otherwise, the government will take your property away from you.
You might be asked to pay the penalty by the court. This penalty in the UK is from £350 to £5000. Furthermore, the benefits you were getting might be reduced or stopped completely.
What are the types of benefit fraud?
Benefit fraud has various types. All of them are treated in a different way. We have listed below some of the types of benefit fraud that we came across.
Working and claiming
This involves people who are getting housing benefits tax reduction by stating that they should get job seeker’s allowance but are in fact working.
Non-disclosure of capital, income, or property
In this case, people do not disclose all their savings, income, capital, etc. They also do not disclose if their wages increase in order to get a benefit more than they should.
Non-disclosure of partner
In this case, people do not tell that they are living with a partner in order to get housing benefits and council tax reduction.
False claims of homeowners
In this case, homeowners show that they do not own the property and are living as a tenant in someone’s house. They make fake rent books, tenancy agreements, and landlords.
Benefit fraud is on the rise globally. However, if you get in such a situation, you should always contact a good lawyer who understands the rules and regulations of your area.