DWP will check social media and bank accounts after ‘thousands of overpaid benefits.


DWP will check social media and bank accounts after 'thousands of overpaid benefits.

More than 20 million UK residents currently claim state pensions or benefits. The coronavirus pandemic caused Universal Credit to boom, resulting in six million people being eligible for Universal Credit on March 11, 2021.

Between March 2021 and June 2021, the Universal Credit population has fallen by 1.4 percent (83,000).

According to Lancs Live, while most people will be able to receive their money, fraud and errors in the UK’s benefits system have reached new heights during this pandemic.

According to reports, PS8.4billion was overpaid in the most recent financial year.

A spokesperson for DWP stated that they have strong plans to collect fraudulent claims and reduce fraud and error to the lowest possible level.

Neil Couling is the Universal Credit director general. He said that thousands of claimants can be approached in the next months, as the DWP’s fraud and error exercise continues.

During the review, any claimants that provided incorrect information about the pandemic could be subject to an “administrative penal”

This money could be recovered by a deducting from future benefits. People may face receiving less in the future.

According to the Cabinet Office, over PS2billion has been detected and prevented by the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) since 1996.

Lord Agnew (Minister of Cabinet Office) stated that the National Fraud Initiative was keeping the purse clean and protecting funds which could be used for essential services like the NHS.

It’s perfectly normal that the British taxpayers expect their Government to protect hard-earned cash, and programs such as this allow us to accomplish exactly that.


Ben Rowe is a senior investigator at the NHS Counter Fraud Authority. He said that “The National Fraud Initiative was crucial in identifying serious fraud perpetrated from someone in a place of trust and stealing large amounts of money meant for essential NHS services.”

The scheme is a great example of collaboration between agencies government being done well.

In one case, a man fraudulently claimed over PS40,000 in incapacitating benefit, income support, and council tax benefits.

Further investigation revealed that he was the owner of several businesses and had more savings than PS100,000. He also owned a Mercedes Benz with personalised number plates.

If someone claims benefits that they aren’t entitled to, they commit benefit fraud.

You can do this by either not reporting changes or providing false information.

The DWP can take special measures to gather information about claimants if it suspects that benefit fraud is taking place.

The Social Security Administration Act grants this permission. It allows the Department access to a person’s bank account and social media accounts, provided they feel there is a reason.

According to the DWP Code of Practice on Obtaining information, Authorised Officers can ask for information on members of a family only if their situation is directly related to the investigation of a benefit claim.

This could be the case if someone claims an income-related benefit, but doesn’t declare their spouse’s earnings.

Not only can they inquire about the claimant but Authorised Officers may also make inquiries regarding the bank account of the partner.

In 2016, an MP question asked the DWP a question regarding publicly accessible content on social media sites.

Caroline Nokes MP (Parliamentary Private Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions) responded and explained how social media works.

She stated that the DDP monitors content made publically available through social media sites by using overt surveillance techniques.

We do not use false identities to access public content on social media sites.

Publiated at Sun, 12 Sep 2021 17:13:00 +0000


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