Social Security fraud

One of the strategic responsibilities of the department is social security benefits. The Department pays benefit to those who are entitled. Single Investigation Service, a branch within the Department, has the overall responsibility for detecting and investigating benefit fraud and customer error.

Benefit fraud

Tackling benefit fraud is a key issue for the government in Northern Ireland. The Agency pays out almost £5.0bn on behalf of the Department. Fraud and error is estimated to cost about £51.9m or 1 per cent of expenditure.

Fraud is deliberate theft and costs about £25.2m or 0.5 per cent of expenditure. The Department is committed to ensuring that people in Northern Ireland get the support they need from the benefit system and has a robust strategy for tackling benefit fraud which has seen a reduction in the agency from £60.9m in 2001 to £25.2m in 2014.

The Department is determined to continue in its efforts to root out fraudsters and take back the money they have stolen from our benefit system and, where it is appropriate, will continue to prosecute benefit thieves through the courts.

In addition the department will pursue vigorously the recovery of any money stolen. When recovered such money goes back to Treasury for re-allocation as part of the normal Treasury allocation process.

What is benefit fraud?

Benefit fraud takes many forms. Below are examples of the most common types that our investigators see regularly. This list is not exhaustive.

  • working while claiming benefit
  • living together
  • multiple-identity fraud
  • Housing Benefit fraud
  • falsely claiming benefit
  • failing to report a source of income
  • failing to report savings above the benefit level
  • failing to report a change in circumstances

All of these examples and many more can have a big effect on the rate of benefit entitlement, so it is essential that all changes are reported.
All of these frauds are serious. Those involved in any of these frauds must be stopped.

Remember - 'beating fraud is everyone’s business'

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