What happens if you’re falsely accused of benefit fraud?

How do I report benefit fraud?

The person who has reported a benefit cheat will have done so by calling the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NBFH), or by sending the relevant information using the government’s official benefit fraud online form.

The reporter will have handed details over about the person they’re reporting, including their full name and address, a description of the person, the type of benefit fraud you think they are committing, information about their employer and what vehicle they drive, if they have one.

What will happen after I’m reported?

Once you, accused benefit cheat, has been reported, the benefit fraud investigators will need time to carefully overlook all of the information they’ve been given. This could take weeks, and the investigators are not allowed to disclose the outcome.

If enough information has been given, the investigators will check the “fraudster’s” benefit claim, and will look into whether or not they are committing a crime.

Sometimes, the result is that no action is taken due to the “fraudster” having declared work prior to the investigation.

The consequences of benefit fraud

Benefit fraud can have a variety of different consequences, depending on how long the person has been fraudulently claiming for. Punishments for benefit fraud include:

  • Prosecution
  • A fine
  • Formal caution
  • Reduced or stopped benefits
  • Confiscation of assets

It’s very rare that a benefit fraud case ends without the defendant having to pay back all of the money that they have fraudulently claimed.
For more information on benefit fraud, and what to do if you’ve been accused, visit our benefit fraud page.