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DWP Penalties policy: in respect of social security fraud and error

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Dated 14/07/2017


1. Introduction

1.1 This document sets out the policy of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in relation to:


enforcement action taken when a suspected benefit fraud is brought to its attention. This includes the imposition of penalties and, where appropriate, referral to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), or in Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), with a view to a criminal prosecution

the imposition of penalties where an overpayment is incurred as a result of claimant error

1.2 The benefits to which this policy applies are set out in legislation and include:


Jobseeker’s Allowance

State Pension

Pension Credit

Universal Credit

Employment and Support Allowance

Personal Independence Payment

Disability Living Allowance

bereavement benefits

Maternity Allowance

War Pensions paid by the Veterans Agency1

This is not an exhaustive list.


1.3 Local authorities are responsible for administering Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Schemes, and dealing with any outstanding issues in relation to past payments of Council Tax Benefit. They are therefore responsible for their own local enforcement policies in these areas.


1.4 HMRC also applies penalties where offences have been committed involving fraud in relation to tax credits (both child tax credit and working tax credit).


1.5 DWP’s policy on recovery of overpayments is set out separately – http://www.gov.uk/benefit-overpayments.

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Somebody PM'd me with a question about prosecution thresholds?


Maybe you'd like to open it up to all for an answers as....

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If this paper is now live, then the new prosecution threshold is £5,000 and above. Any overpayment below that will be dealt with out of court i.e. by way of an administrative penalty.

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