Investigation of benefit fraud and council tax discount fraud

Benefit fraud and Council Tax discount fraud is thought of as a 'victimless crime', but this is not true.

We are determined to stamp out fraud and have a dedicated benefit fraud team to prevent Housing Benefit and Council Tax discount fraud. It is a criminal offence to commit benefit fraud and if we think that someone is fraudulently claiming benefit, or helping someone else to do so, we will investigate their circumstances with a view to prosecution. We will also investigate claims where a person is receiving a Council Tax reduction or discount which they are not entitled to.

How do I tell you about a benefit fraud?

Email: benefitinvestigations@barnsley.gov.uk

Telephone our Benefit Fraud 24 hour hotline: 0800 1382940

This is a free telephone number. You do not need to give your name, just the details of the suspected fraud. The information you give will be treated confidentially and investigated fully. Please give as much detail as possible to help us investigate your allegations. Please note an answer phone will be in operation out-of-office hours.

What action do we take?

If we think someone is committing benefit or discount fraud, we will carry out an investigation into their circumstances. If we have evidence that someone is committing benefit or discount fraud, we may prosecute those involved, which could result in a possible prison sentence or a criminal record.

What is benefit fraud?

Benefit fraud is where people claim Housing Benefit and/or Social Security benefits when they have no right to claim.

What is discount fraud?

Discount fraud is where people claim a reduction or discount on their Council Tax when they have no right to receive it.

Working and claiming

This usually involves claimants who are receiving Housing Benefit on the basis that they are entitled to Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support but are in fact working.

Non-disclosure of property, capital or income

This is where the claimant does not tell us about all their income, savings, capital or property so that the amount of benefit that they get is higher than it should be, or a discount is being claimed unlawfully.

Non-disclosure of partner (living together as husband and wife)

This usually involves a claimant receiving Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support and not telling us that they have a partner, knowing that this would mean that they would not be entitled to benefit or a discount.

Non-declaration of non-dependents or sub-tenants

This is where a claimant does not tell us about other adults living in the property so that they keep, or increase, their entitlement to benefit or a discount.

False claims by homeowners

Where the owner of a property falsely claims benefit or a discount, stating that they are paying rent for the property, inventing a fictitious landlord and using false rent books and tenancy agreements.

False address or failing to declare a change of address

This is where the claimant is claiming benefit or a discount for an address where they do not live. These types of offences can involve the landlord or other tenants, or occur when the claimant does not tell us that they have moved out of a property.

Landlord fraud

Where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid direct to him or herself when they know that the claimant has left the premises

Fictitious tenancies

Where a tenancy is created between friends or family where the property would not normally be rented in order to obtain benefit to which they are not entitled.

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