10 People Accidentally Get £1m from British Goverment in Benefits
The British government has accidentally paid 10 people each £1 million in benefits. Five of the people who received too much income support now owe more than £100,000 each. The biggest amount owed by a single claimant is £136,567.94.
The government has set up a task force to retrieve overpayment worth more than £10,000. Approximately£800 million is incorrectly paid out in benefits each year.
Work and Pensions Minister Andrew Selous discovered the blunder.
"It is unforgivable that while taxpayers are tightening their belts, the government is racking up more debt through poor administration," he said. "We can't go on like this. Ministers urgently need to get a grip and make sure claimants are paid the correct amount."
Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesman Steve Webb said the mistakes reflect the government's "cavalier attitude to money. It's especially galling when thousands of people are forced to apply for crisis loans because the government's benefits system fails to deliver on time," he added.
Incidences of Benefit Fraud
Last year, a single mum told a court she falsely claimed more than £8,000 in benefits so she could support her mother. She was overpaid a total of £2,798.49 in housing benefits, £827.30 in council tax benefit and £4,377.88 in income tax benefit. She escaped a jail sentence.
If you deliberately fail to report a change in your personal circumstances or are dishonest about information supporting your benefit claim, you have committed benefit fraud.
If you are suspected of committing benefit fraud, you may be visited by Fraud Investigation officers from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or be asked to attend an interview to discuss your claim. Your benefit may be suspended while the matter is looked into.
Consequences of Benefit Fraud
Once Fraud Investigation officers have collected facts about your case a decision will be made re whether or not to take further action. If there's evidence that you’re committing benefit fraud, any of the following may happen:
- you may be prosecuted
- you may be asked to pay a penalty as an alternative to prosecution
- your benefit may be reduced or withdrawn
- you will be asked to repay the overpaid benefit
If you are convicted of two separate benefit fraud offenses, you may find your entitlement to certain benefits is reduced or withdrawn for a disqualification period. This is known as the 'Two Strikes' sanction, and you'll be notified if it's applied to your benefits. To report a benefit thief contact DWP.