Benefit fraud

An overview of benefit fraud and how we deal with it

Benefit fraud costs us all money. The government estimates that up to £3 billion pounds is lost to benefit fraud each year. This means that £120 of the money tax payers pay goes directly to those who commit fraud, when it should be going to families and individuals who really need it.

A comprehensive policy, approved by elected members, ensures that fraud has a high profile in North Lanarkshire. We have an Investigations Team, consisting of 15 professionally trained and accredited fraud officers. There are also stringent checking and verification processes for the assessment of claims, so that potential fraud can be identified at an early stage.

If we can uncover fraud and stop people who might be thinking of committing fraud, we can make sure that your money is spent effectively on those who need support. This is why, with your help, North Lanarkshire Council is committed to stamping out fraud

The work of the Investigations Team

The team investigates referrals from many different sources, including:

  • the fraud hotline/information from the general public
  • benefits assessment teams and other council sections
  • the Housing Benefit Matching Service (HBMS) - this compares information held on housing benefits systems with information held for other social security benefits and tax credits
  • the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), comparing housing benefit information with other government records, including student loans, payroll, pensions, National Insurance numbers, health service payroll
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

We also undertake proactive exercises to target specific areas of fraud.

Once a referral is accepted for investigation, an officer will investigate the case fairly and in accordance with the law, ensuring that appropriate action is taken to stop fraud where it is found.