What happens when a person is under
If we have reason to carry out an
investigation into a claim, we will firstly gather evidence to
establish whether the suspicion is correct.
Following this, we will work out how much
benefit a person has incorrectly claimed.
Then we decide what is the most appropriate
way to deal with any potential offences. In making this
decision we take many factors into consideration, including (but
not only) whether there have been any previous investigations
into the claim, what the suspected offences are, the length of
time that they have continued and amount of benefit that may
have been incorrectly claimed.
If this is the first investigation into a
claim, the overpayment of benefit is low and the alleged offence
did not continue for long, we may either send a letter to
remind of their responsibilities whilst claiming Housing
Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit to prevent further
investigations into your claim, or ask a customer to
attend an informal interview to discuss the alleged
offences. The customer will be required to repay any
benefit that has been incorrectly claimed.
In other cases, it may be considered at this
stage that a sanction might be appropriate in your case and you
will be invited to attend a tape recorded interview under
caution. This interview is carried out under the “Police and
Criminal Evidence Act” and is the opportunity for the customer to
comment on the evidence held and give an explanation of the alleged
offences. After the interview process is complete, the case
will be referred for a decision to be made on any further action to
be taken. The possible outcomes at this stage are:
- The investigation may be closed with no
sanction although the customer will usually be required
to repay any benefit that has been overpaid.
- If the offences have been fully admitted
during the interview under caution, a customer may be
given the opportunity to accept a formal caution as an alternative
to being prosecuted. This will only usually be considered in
first time offences and will depend on the amount of overpaid
benefit and period of offences. Customers will also be
required to repay any overpaid benefit.
- Customers may be given the option to pay an
administrative penalty as an alternative to prosecution. This is a
fixed 30% of the amount of overpaid benefit which a customer will
have to pay in addition to the repaying the overpayment. Again
this will only usually be considered in first time offences and
will depend on the amount of overpaid benefit and period of
- If it is considered that a sanction is
appropriate in your case but a caution or administrative penalty
cannot be considered, prosecution will be authorised and the case
passed to Solicitors to proceed with the matter. Compensation may
be requested for the overpaid benefit to be repaid through the
court but the customer will be required to repay the whole of the
overpayment regardless of this.
- A customer may also be subject to Loss of Benefits
Please note that a sanction will still be
considered for customers who choose not to attend an interview
under caution, and because a caution or an administrative penalty
cannot be considered in these circumstances, the customer is likely
to be prosecuted.
To report suspected Housing Benefit
and/or Council Tax Benefit Fraud within the Redditch