Press release

New benefit fraud and error campaign: 'Benefits. Are you doing the right thing?'

A new benefit fraud and error advertising campaign will be launched today (3 January 2014).

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Benefits. Are you doing the right thing?

Six pilot areas across the country will be targeted with posters, newspaper adverts, Facebook adverts and letters to claimants – urging people to report suspected benefit fraud or changes to their circumstances.

The aim is to encourage claimants to tell authorities about changes that might affect their benefits – like getting a job or moving in with a partner – before a long-term fraud and overpayments can take place, and to change people’s attitudes towards benefit fraud.

The adverts and posters – featuring satellite images of the areas with local landmarks – state:

Claming benefits? Got a new job? Make sure you tell us. We’re checking benefit claims.

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When you report benefit fraud we investigate it. If you know someone claiming benefits who shouldn’t be, call us. Help us catch benefit cheats.

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email accessible.formats@dwp.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Letters to claimants will highlight the importance of:

  • notifying the DWP of a change in circumstances
  • how it is everyone’s own responsibility to inform authorities of a change
  • the risk of a financial penalty of up to £2,000 or criminal prosecution for failing to do so

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

It is only a small minority who commit fraud – but it costs the country over £1bn a year.

We are keen to make sure that claimants know that even small overpayments can really add up over time, so they must get in contact with us and let us know about changes in circumstances straightaway.

The new pilot campaign will help us stop fraud and overpayments before they even happen.

The 6 pilot locations are:

  • Southwark
  • Blackburn
  • Hounslow
  • Blackpool
  • Epping Forest
  • Cardiff

The campaign will last 4 to 6 weeks with each area being targeted with a different mix of advertisements and direct mail.

Members of the public can anonymously report benefit fraud to the National Benefit Fraud hotline on 0800 854 440 or at gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud.

Background

The preliminary estimate of total overpayments due to fraud and error in 2012/13 across all benefits is £3.5 billion.

  • 0.7%, or £1.2 billion, of total benefit expenditure is overpaid due to fraud
  • 0.9%, or £1.6 billion, of total benefit expenditure is overpaid due to claimant error
  • 0.4%, or £0.7 billion, of total benefit expenditure is overpaid due to official error

  • 4.6%, or £250 million, of Income Support expenditure was overpaid
  • 4.2%, or £220 million, of Jobseeker’s Allowance expenditure was overpaid
  • 5.5%, or £420 million, of Pension Credit expenditure was overpaid
  • 5.3%, or £1,270 million, of Housing Benefit expenditure was overpaid

Source: Fraud and error in the benefit system: preliminary 2012/13 estimates

Contact Press Office

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Published 3 January 2014