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Benefit Fraud Law

What is benefit fraud?

According to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), a benefit fraud occurs when someone obtains state benefit they are not entitled to, or deliberately fails to report a change in personal circumstances. Among the most common forms of benefit fraud is when a person continues to receive unemployment benefits even after being employed. Benefit fraud can either be intentional or a result of ignorance and each case is seen on its merits by the DWP. Because of its legal implication, questions about benefit fraud are among the most commonly asked questions on JustAnswer. Below are few of the more frequent questions about benefit fraud.

What type of sentencing would someone with no prior convictions receive for benefit fraud?

In benefit fraud cases, many things are taken into consideration including the amount of money owed, previous convictions or criminal records, and whether it was planned to commit fraud or a result of lack of knowledge. If there were no aggravating circumstances and genuine ignorance or lack of knowledge can be established, the sentencing may not be strict. Probation as well as repayment of the benefit is likely in small cases. However, courts would evaluate each case differently, and the outcome or sentence can depend on the specifics of each case. To know more about how your specific case may be evaluated by the court, you can get the expert opinion of lawyers on JustAnswer.

If someone does not declare payments made from overseas relatives for children is that considered benefit fraud?

Benefit fraud is when you fail to report any income by fraudulent means. Not knowing what to claim and other stressors would be considered a mitigating factor in many cases, but it is unlikely to be seen as an excuse for the conduct. While it is still likely to be seen as fraud, the intent to defraud may not exist in such cases. In such situations, retaining the services of a lawyer may be the best course. It would help you negotiate a deal for repayment at terms that you can meet. If you are not sure of your exact situation and the course of action you should take, asking a lawyer on JustAnswer may be a good first step to take.

Would the following be considered benefit fraud in the UK?

Case Details: Immediate relatives help by providing a loan when needed to a person who is a lone parent and takes house benefits, income support, child tax credit and child benefit.

Anytime there is any form of support payment made, it should be reported to the benefit offices. Failure to do so would be considered benefit fraud regardless of the circumstances and the nature of the benefit received. The circumstances of individual cases may determine whether the authorities see the violation as intentional benefit fraud or a fraud resulting from ignorance.

What is the statute of limitations on state benefit fraud for a person charged in 2003?

For a person charged in 2003 the statute of limitations does not apply. Once a person is charged, the time it takes to have a hearing and sentencing in a case is not limited by the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations normally determines the time after an offence that charges may be filed against a person. If your hearing is taking more time than it should, you could consult with the prosecuting attorney or the judge that is assigned to your case. If that still does not get you a hearing, you could consider filing a complaint against the prosecutor and judge for failing to give you your right to a speedy trial.

Is it possible to find out the source of information while being investigated for child benefit claims in the UK?

In cases of benefit fraud, there generally is no way of finding out the source of information that started an investigation. There is a difference between intelligence and evidence. Anybody giving evidence against you in the court has to be disclosed to you. Such a person would have to testify against you in court and can be cross examined by your legal representatives. Intelligence can be as simple as a tip off to the authorities. With benefit fraud in the UK there is a hotline where people can call and they do not even take the details of people calling in, so the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) probably do not even know this person's identity. Even if they did, anonymity would reign. While the authorities are legally required to disclose the identity of anyone providing evidence against you, they do not have to disclose the source of intelligence to the defendant.

The DWP in recent years has expanded the scope of benefit fraud to cover a wider range. Now, even failing to inform the state that your partner is now living with you, or that you have moved house, or that a relative has died, leaving you some money could be considered as a benefit fraud by the authorities. Under such a situation, how do you know whether you are within your legal rights or whether you are unknowingly committing benefit fraud? If you are not sure, asking a lawyer on JustAnswer can help you get a quick answer.

Ask a Criminal Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: General
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
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