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DWP could inspect benefits claimants’ bank accounts under new rules | Personal Finance | Finance


Changes to benefit rules could see Department for Work and Pensions officials check people’s bank accounts every month to make sure they are not fraudulently claiming their payments.

The new system would see officers checking bank statements to ensure claimants are not being dishonest about their savings, which could affect their entitlement.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is due to announce the new rules later this week in his Autumn Statement, with the Government predicting it will save the Exchequer £500 million in the first five years.

A source said The Telegraph: “Every pound stolen by fraudsters could be spent on our public services or those most in need.”

The DWP recently announced that fraud officers would be reviewing benefit and state pension claims next year to check for any issues such as falsifying documents or falsifying illness or injury.

Fraud and error rates fell by 3.6 per cent over the past year, with around £8.3billion in fraudulent payments, down from four per cent the previous year, at £8.7billion.

The state pension reviews will include claims administered through the ‘Get your State Pension Online’ service during this financial year.

The new operation will review Disability Living Allowance cases for the first time since the 2004/2005 financial year.

Officers will be looking at claims for the following benefits to check for fraud and error:

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit (pension age cases)
  • Pension Credit
  • State Pension
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Definitions of Fraud, Claimant’s Error and Official Error

Officers will look for three types of fraud and error, including:

1. Fraud

This includes claims where the following three conditions apply:

  • The conditions for receiving benefit, or the rate of benefit being paid, are not being met
  • The claimant can reasonably be expected to be aware of the effect on their entitlement
  • As a result of the review, benefit payment is stopped or reduced.

2. Claimant’s Error

  • The claimant has provided inaccurate or incomplete information or failed to report a change in their circumstances, but there is no evidence of fraudulent intent on the part of the claimant.

3. Official Error

  • The benefit was wrongly paid because of a failure to act, delay or incorrect assessment by the DWP, a local authority or HMRC, which was not materially contributed by anyone outside that department, regardless of who of which the information has been processed by the business unit.

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