Check your Housing Benefit, Council Tax entitlement and Council Tax online; log onto OpenAshfield.
The Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support scheme is for people on low incomes who genuinely need help with their housing costs.
We are committed to combating benefit fraud and stopping the cheats. If you know someone is committing fraud, you should report it.
As part of our work against benefit fraud we use the Verification Framework. This is a Government initiative meant to:
- detect and prevent fraudulent claims
- set a minimum standard of evidence needed
- encourage accuracy in calculating claims from the start of a claim.
What is fraud?
The main ways that people commit benefit fraud are by making a false statement on their claim form or by failing to report a change in their circumstances promptly.
By doing either or both of these, they may be committing a criminal offence under Social Security legislation or other legislation such as the Fraud Act 2006.
When someone commits benefit fraud, everyone who pays Income Tax or Council Tax is a victim and is being cheated out of other essential services by the greed of those who are not in genuine need or entitled to assistance.
This type of fraud costs the taxpayer an estimated £2 billion per year. This equates to more than £70 for every taxpayer. This money could be invested in essential services.
What types of fraud are there?
Common types of benefit fraud are people who:
- work but do not declare it
- claim as a single person but actually have a partner living with them
- do not tell us about the full amount of income, savings or capital they receive/have
- do not tell us if other adults are living in the household
- claim for an address when they are not living there
- claim in more than one name
- do not declare that they are living in a property owned by a close relative
- do not tell us their true personal or financial circumstances.
If someone knowingly assists a claimant with a fraudulent claim they may also be guilty of an offence.
Loss of benefits
Anyone found to be committing benefit fraud will see a loss of benefits but administrative errors may also result in a loss. There are 5 levels with different penalties:
- Level 1: offences which result in an Administrative Penalty (Ad Pen) or caution will continue to result in a Loss of Benefit penalty of 4 weeks
- Level 2: for a first benefit fraud conviction the penalty duration will increase from 4 to 13 weeks
- Level 3: where there are 2 offences within a set time period, with the latter resulting in a conviction the penalty will be for a period of 26 weeks
- Level 4: 3 year penalty will be introduced where there are 3 offences within a set time period the latter resulting in a conviction
- Level 5: an immediate 3 year Loss of Benefit for serious organised and identity fraud cases.