Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|15 Jul 2019, 3:21 p.m.||Universal Credit: Fraud||Steve McCabe|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on how much has been spent on investigating fraudulent universal credit claims that have been made by people using a loophole in the online application process to make an application and claim an advance using another person’s information.
Answer (Alok Sharma)
The Department is committed to bringing fraudsters to justice. Last year we, working alongside local authorities, recovered more than £1.1bn in fraud and error across all benefits and brought almost 5,000 prosecutions in 2017/18.
As of June 2019, the Department has received around 42,000 fraud referrals from staff relating to potential fraudulent advance claims, which equates to less than 1 per cent of all Universal Credit claims.
Our investigations are ongoing and we are therefore unable to provide details of how many may have used another person’s identity to make their claim, or to quantify the amount spent on investigations of this type. However, any cases in which this has occurred will be treated accordingly, with the continued use of both prosecutions and tough financial penalties to deter this fraudulent behaviour.