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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/loss-of-benefit-as-a-penalty-for-benefit-fraud/loss-of-benefit-as-a-penalty-for-benefit-fraud
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced tougher penalties for people who commit benefit fraud.
Benefits can be reduced or stopped if a claimant, their partner or a family member is convicted of a benefit fraud offence or accepts an administrative penalty for such an offence. An administrative penalty is a financial penalty offered by DWP as an alternative to prosecution.
1. What has changed?
The following measures apply to benefit fraud offences committed wholly on or after 1 April 2013.
The duration of the loss of benefit penalty for a benefit fraud offence that results in conviction is 13 weeks (up from 4 weeks).
If a second benefit fraud offence is committed within 5 years (a ‘linking’ offence), and the second offence results in a conviction, the loss of benefit penalty will last for 26 weeks.
If a third benefit fraud offence is committed within 5 years of the second (and within10 years of the first), and the third offence results in a conviction, the loss of benefit penalty will last for 3 years.
If an offence involves serious organised fraud or identity fraud it will result in an immediate loss of benefit penalty for 3 years.
If an offence results in an administrative penalty or a caution, the loss of benefit penalty will last for 4 weeks (no change).
2. Which benefits can be reduced or stopped?
The following benefits can be reduced or stopped as a penalty for benefit fraud:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Industrial Death Benefit
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Industrial Injuries Reduced Earnings Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Retirement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Unemployability Supplement
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- War Disablement Pension
- War Widow’s Pension
- War Pension Unemployability Supplement
- War Pension Allowance for Lower Standard of Occupation
- Widowed Mother’s or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension or Bereavement Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
The following benefits cannot be reduced or stopped as a penalty themselves. But if they are involved in benefit fraud, any benefit listed above may be reduced or stopped as a penalty instead.
- Attendance Allowance
- Bereavement Payment
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Christmas Bonus
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Council Tax Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Graduated Retirement Benefit
- Guardian’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Constant Attendance Allowance (if a Disablement Pension is payable)
- Industrial Injuries Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance (if a Disablement Pension is payable)
- Personal Independence Payment
- State Pension
- Social Fund payments
- War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance
- War Pension Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pension Mobility Supplement
Certain benefits involved in a fraud offence cannot be reduced or stopped as a penalty, or result in a penalty that reduces or stops another benefit. These benefits are:
- Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme (2008)
- Health in Pregnancy Grant
- Maternity Allowance
- Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) 1979
- Statutory Adoption Pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Statutory Sick Pay
For benefit fraud wholly committed on or after 1 April 2002, the rules allowed for the removal or reduction of benefit for 13 weeks if a claimant, their partner or a family member had been convicted of a second benefit fraud offence.
From 1 April 2010, these rules were strengthened to enable a reduction or removal of benefit for 4 weeks in certain cases of fraud by a claimant, their partner or a family member. The new rules applied if:
- they had been convicted, or had accepted a caution or an administrative penalty, for a first (or non-linking) benefit fraud offence, and
- the fraud was committed wholly on or after 1 April 2010