Our benefit fraud defence solicitors know the benefit fraud investigation process well after over 30 years of contesting unfair accusations and benefit fraud penalties on behalf of our clients. From the moment you receive notification of an investigation being launched, we will be able to support you and offer you legal advice, attending your “interview under caution”, helping you to gather evidence and representing you in court if your case gets that far. Our team of welfare benefits solicitors will advise you of the best steps to take and will build a strong defence on your behalf.
With an intricate system and confusing eligibility criteria, it’s entirely possible that there may have been a time where you have unknowingly claimed benefits incorrectly. If you’re facing an accusation of this kind, it’s crucial to seek legal advice and assistance right away from our benefit fraud solicitors DPP Law as soon as possible.
Implications of Accusations of Benefit Fraud
At no point in the benefit fraud investigation process is it guaranteed that you will be fully informed of the exact offence of which you are accused. Your benefit fraud defence solicitors are better placed to be able to discover the exact charges you may be facing, and help you to fight against them.
If you are found guilty, you may face anything from a fine (often starting at around £1,500) to a custodial sentence of up to seven years. You may also have assets seized, be stripped of your benefits for up to three years, required to face administrative penalties and to repay the amount you falsely claimed.
Types of Benefit Fraud
Below are the most common benefits for which you may be investigated if you incorrectly apply or fail to notify the correct authorities when your circumstances change in a way that should affect the amount you are likely to receive:
- Council Tax Benefit
- Housing Benefit
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Employment & Support Allowance
There are many others besides. As a general rule, if you receive any form of taxpayer-funded support and you have provided incorrect information in order to either receive or retain it – whether purposefully or accidentally – you may find yourself at the mercy of the benefit fraud investigation process. Whatever the type of support you may be accused of incorrectly claiming, finding experienced benefit fraud defence solicitors to assist you in the process may mean the difference between an acquittal and a substantial penalty.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a benefit fraud investigation take?
Fraud investigations can stretch on for a number of months depending on the complexity of the supposed alleged offence. At a relatively early stage, you are likely to receive an invitation from Fraud Investigation Officers to attend an “interview under caution” – something you can accept or decline – and a decision will be made after that time as to whether the benefit fraud investigation process should continue and whether or not you will continue to face benefit fraud penalties.
You should not ignore notification of an investigation – as soon as you find out that one is taking place, you should make contact with our benefit fraud defence solicitors.
Can you find out who reported you for benefit fraud?
No, all reports of benefit fraud remain anonymous.
What is classed as benefit fraud?
You may be liable to face benefit fraud penalties for a wide variety of reasons, but the following are the most common:
- You are claiming benefits to which you are not entitled – for example, falsifying a disability or failing to report income so that you will be awarded extra financial support.
- You have not notified the DWP, HMRC or your benefit provider of any changes to your circumstances that would otherwise lead to a change to the benefits you receive.
- You are taking advantage of an administrative error that means you are being paid more benefits than those to which you are entitled.
- You are claiming benefits on behalf of someone else through false representation.
If you suspect that you have been accused of any of the above, you should get in touch with trusted benefit fraud solicitors as soon as you can.
Contact DPP Law’s team of benefit fraud defence solicitors for further information about what you can expect as part of an investigation, to request legal advice and to ask for representation.
Our friendly, knowledgeable and experienced team of welfare benefits solicitors will provide you with all the support you require right from the beginning to the end of the process.