Press release

Benefit fraud and error at record low level

New figures show that fraud and error in the benefits system remains at the lowest level ever recorded.


Overall fraud and error stayed at 1.8% with claimant and official error both falling to record lows.

Dedicated investigators work hard to pursue and prosecute those who try to defraud the system. Last year £980 million of taxpayers money was recovered – the highest amount ever and £50 million more than the previous year.

Welfare Reform Minister, Lord Freud, said:

Benefit fraud is a serious crime taking money away from those in genuine need. That’s why our investigators work tirelessly to target criminals and bring them to justice.

We are implementing vital reforms to improve detection, prevention and recovery to protect taxpayers money. The fact that fraud and error is at a record low reflects that work.

Last year we referred over 5,000 people for prosecution for fraud and issued nearly 8,000 penalties.

To strengthen the fight against fraud and error in the benefit system, the government:

  • introduced the Fraud and Error Service to prosecute fraudsters across the benefits system
  • has toughened measures to deter fraudsters, including increasing loss of benefit penalties and financial penalties up to a maximum of £5,000
  • is using data from the Real Time Information system to detect undeclared earnings or income and correct or adjust a person’s benefits.

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Published 19 May 2016