Housing Benefit Claims (FOI-1774)
Dear Mr *****,
Thank you for your freedom of Information request.
Please find below your questions and the Council"s response.
1. You asked for statistics on the number of cases of wrongful claims of housing benefit in the borough in the past five years? You then clarified this referred to fraudulent claims.
I can confirm that in the past 5 years there have been 223 proven fraudulent Housing Benefit claims in the London Borough of Hackney that have resulted in a fraud overpayment, as notified by the DWP Single Fraud Investigation Service.
2. Is this higher or lower than the London average?
London Borough of Hackney does not hold this information. You should direct this query to DWP Single Fraud Investigation Service.
3. Can you tell me how many cases of wrongful benefit claims in the borough have been upheld in a First Tier Tribunal or prosecuted in that period?
Fraud investigations during this period would have been conducted by the Single Fraud Investigation Service which comes under the DWP.
Local authorities are only informed of any investigation, advised when fraud has been confirmed and asked to cancel the Housing Benefit accordingly and create the fraud over payment.
Unfortunately we do not hold information on how many of the 223 cases would have been prosecuted, and how many would have been coded fraud but not prosecuted, due to extenuating circumstances such as ill health, or an admin penalty being applied.
In all cases for an over payment to be classified as Fraud for both housing benefit subsidy and recovery rate purposes there would have either been a prosecution, or the customer would have admitted to an offence in an Interview under caution – which is essentially administered in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 by the DWP.
If you are dissatisfied with this response and wish to appeal, please respond to this email to request an Internal Review.
If you are still not satisfied following the Internal Review, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner.
Information Commissioner"s Office
0303 123 1113
London Borough of Hackney