Merton Council’s campaign against Housing Benefit fraudsters continues to be success, exceeding central Government targets by 10%. The Internal Audit Anti-Fraud team has identified over £0.5m of fraudulent claims and by exceeding these targets, the Council has managed to avoid a £0.25m penalty levied by central Government.
A member of the Council’s Anti Fraud team has recently qualified in the Benefits Agency accredited course “Professionalism in Security and Investigation” and another is working towards the qualification.
This will lead to an increase in administrative penalties levied on people found to have committed fraud, as well as more criminal prosecutions. There are currently six prosecutions being pursued by the Anti Fraud team.
The Anti fraud team regularly visit Housing Benefit claimants to check entitlement details, however, if you are a genuine claimant you have nothing to fear. A survey of claimants who had been visited recently revealed that over 99% of people felt that both they and their homes had been treated courteously and with respect.
Most people visited were open and honest and the Council’s Anti-fraud initiatives should not put them off from applying for any benefit they may be entitled to.
A confidential fraud line is available for those people who may have information about possible fraudulent activity. The number is (020) 8545 3223.