DWP Are Trying To Hide The Truth But The Amount Lost To Fraud And Error Is At A Record High

lord-fraud-freudFigures released from the DWP show that benefit over-payments due to fraud and error remained at a record high of £3.3 billion in 2013/14, but you wouldn’t know this from reading the gushing press release that accompanied the statistics.

Instead the DWP boldly claims that Jobseekers Allowance and Income Support over-payments are at their lowest recorded levels.  But these represent just ten percent of the total amount lost through fraud and error.  The amount of Housing Benefit overpaid, for example, has soared to £1.38 billion and is by far the largest source of fraud and error in the system.  No-one seems to be checking how much of this figure ended up in the pockets of landlords.

With Iain Duncan Smith busy bungling the launch of Universal Credit, it was left to the Minister for Welfare Reform, the aptly named Lord Fraud, to defend the figures, which he did by if not lying through his teeth, then deliberately distorting the truth.  According to the minister: “It is encouraging to see that the level of fraud and error is now lower than before the start of the Parliament.”

The rate of over-payments dropped from 2.2% in 2009/10 to 2% in 2010/11 and has stayed there ever since.  According to the DWP themselves this is not statistically significant and could be due to inaccuracies in the data.  The cost of fraud and error however has risen since the start of this Parliament and it is this that the DWP is trying to hide.

On face value it looks like over-payments fell in the last year, from £3.5 billion to £3.3 billion.  But this is because Council Tax Benefit expenditure was not included in the figures after being scrapped in April 2013.  Over-payments in Council Tax support schemes are no longer the DWP’s problem, and so will no longer be included in the statistics.

The table below shows amount lost through fraud and error if Council Tax Benefit is also excluded from the previous year’s figures.  What it shows is that the cost of over-payments rose year on year since the election and then hit £3.3 billion for each of the last two years.  This was not explained in Lord Fraud’s press release and the real numbers can only be found in Annex 6 on the very last page of a 147 page DWP report (pdf).

fraud-errorThe truth about the amount lost to fraud and error in the benefits system is that’s it’s not very much and whilst it has risen slightly it hasn’t really changed significantly since this Government weren’t elected.  This is a huge embarrassment to Iain Duncan Smith who is currently squandering the best part of a billion pounds in an attempt to halve benefit over-payments by next year.  It is unsurprising that the DWP’s fraud and error strategy was this week given a red/amber rating (meaning it’s a fuck up) in the same Government report into major projects that revealed that Universal Credit has been ‘reset’.

The amount of money lost only to fraud in particular is very small – around a billion a year for all benefits, including pensions.  This is less than the amount of benefits which are underpaid, which stands at £1.4 billion.  The report which accompanies the over-payment statistics, contains some interesting details, such as the amount lost to fraud due to people on the dole working on the side being estimated to be as little as £59 million – about a quid a year for every person in the country.  Tax avoidance and evasion was about £35 billion in 2010/11, costing us each nearly £600 a year.  You won’t see that in a DWP press release.  Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

43 responses to “DWP Are Trying To Hide The Truth But The Amount Lost To Fraud And Error Is At A Record High

  1. Lord Fraud is a CUNT!!

    Fuck this Nazi bastard!!

  2. The state pension is not funded by tax and the NI Fund is not a tax. The raised retirement age has not saved one penny in tax. The ring fence Naitonal Insurance Fund has been full for decades, not needing a top up from tax.

    Pension Credit is abolished by the Flat Rate Pension coming in 2016.

    Leaving one of the lowest state pensions in the developed world, even less from 2016 or nil, especially to women.

    Pensioners are not a burden on the taxpayer, as just like all benefit recipients, we all pay tax from the 75 per cent of personal tax that comes from stealth taxes embedded in our daily lives, even on food.

    The poorest indeed by stealth taxes are up to a 90 per cent tax rate.

    See if you lose most or all of your state pension:

    • Humping Hippo's in Poland.

      I really do hate to burst your bubble,but if you believe all those deductions from yours and several million others wages are sitting in a bank account somewhere earning hi rate compound interest, you are in for a shock. Your money was spent when or before it was taken.
      Which is why every government in this country will encourage ‘growth’.
      (Population expansion.) The young balance the pension book by weight of numbers,and it will be thus until there is nowhere left to build houses.
      Then our great grandchildren will bemoan the mess but our politicians will have long since snuffed it of fatty liver.
      Your out of luck Lady; theve spent it!

    • overburdenddonkey

      bring back
      the loss of pension guaranteed credit that one up until recently could have claimed @ 60, currently worth approx £150/wk, is catastrophic, shortly people will have to wait till 66, to get state pension…what with rent and rates caps…poverty is set to soar….many simply will not reach 66, notwithstanding the plans that are afoot to raise state pension eligibility age to 69…imagine being on jsa/esa until one reaches 66/69…

  3. Humping Hippo's in Poland.

    Hardly if any of the HB overpayments would remain in the hands of professional (Multi slum) landlords because there is a clause with every claim made that the council can deduct overpayments from another property/person claim to the same landlord,which puts the onus on the landlord not to be left short if somebody ‘does a bunk’.
    By far the majority of fraudulent claims are continuations from newly benefit qualified recent ‘European Immigrants’, who have decided to continue their untold riches claim from 2k miles away whilst sub letting the property out to a cash in hand worker they met through a friend of a..
    You may wonder why you get demands from the HB office in the post on a friday to see your paperwork again on monday, but this is because they monitor the phone numbers calling up to postpone. There are several people doing this in every council building. A hundred quid a week is a mortgage out there,and your taxes are going to build some amazing properties. The amount of overpayments and mistakes that is not reclaimed from genuine claimants is very small, and where somebody gets a result;good bloody luck to em! ; They payed to much elswhere anyway.

    • The report these figures are based on give an estimate for this kind of over-payment, which is £87 million for claimants who are believed to have gone abroad, £11 million of this is housing benefit over-payments. £88 million is also lost in housing benefit over-payments to people who no longer live at the address being claimed for, this will probably include some people living abroad, but also people who have moved within the UK and landlords who are still picking up cheques for tenants who have left.

      These figures are for fraud and error combined by the way, it’s not unknown for housing benefit claims to continue even when the tenant has reported they’ve moved, and sometimes without their knowledge if the rent is paid direct to their landlord. So yes the problem you mention exists, but it is far from the largest source of fraud and error in the system.

      • Humping Hippo's in Vilnius

        That may all be as you report, but obviously the number of people claiming HB for a property they are sub letting from abroad is not going to show up in the gov. figures until they are caught.
        There were 7296 reported cases in 2013, a rise of 90% since 2011
        and obviously it is only the tip of the iceberg.With the influx from even newer members of the E.U. the problem will rise at an even faster rate
        than 45% per year,and the only solution in the end will be to shut the borders,or employ hundreds of immigrants as specialist benefit inspectors. Either way,it is problem where costs are rising exponentially and will make the overpayment costs seem like a bargain at the time.
        Landlords dont get to keep the money when overpayments come to light,which for the vast majority they do. It is not written off as ‘it wasnt their fault’.It is made clear from the outset it is their responsibility!
        Councils chase this money up with zeal and lose very little this way.
        But nice post regarding the issue as a whole, anyway.

  4. Obi Wan Kenobi

    ‘DWP Are Trying To Hide The Truth But The Amount Lost To Fraud And Error Is At A Record High’.

    Well J.V. £10,000 Is in Esther Mcvey’s back pocket, as for the rest – see under the title ‘IDS and UC’ both fuck up’s in there own right. – need anyone ever doubt this, then email the DWP and them to publish just how much taxpayers money Iain Duncan Fuckup has wasted on a non viable scheme that has been shut down before it even started!

    • Humping Hippo's in Vinius

      Plse take note of my well informed (from the inside ) comment on where most of the actual fraudulent payments are ending up.

  5. Humping Hippo's in Poland.

    And yes, I agree.
    Having a ‘Nincompoop’ like George Smith re inventing the system to save money?
    Gonna cost a fucking fortune.
    People with BRAINS have actually pretended to do this whilst siphoning off huge sums and not made things worse but that dumb cunt has No bloody chance. Expect another ‘0’ on the deficit.

  6. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Iain Duncan Smith’s epitaph:

    ”I blew £Billions of taxpayer’s money, and I got away with it’

    • Humping Hippo's in Vilnius

      You are assuming his remains dont end up un marked land fill like a villain from a Clive Cussler novel. I doubt George has that confidence presently..Not a place I could be in at night.

  7. Humping Hippo's in Vilnius

    .. Sorry..

  8. Pingback: An Exercise in Social Control – The REAL Agenda behind Benefit Fraud Campaigns 3 – | jaynelinney


    ……..and another lie;




    In response, I can advise that neither the Department nor Atos Healthcare hold any
    documentation that links the LiMA software, used for Work Capability Assessments, with Unum,
    the insurance industry or Mansel Aylward.
    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number

    Yours sincerely

    Business Management Team
    Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)


    oops another lie;

    On the 13 May 2013, the Department replied:
    “All Atos HCPs are qualified and registered with their respective medical bodies, the General Medical
    Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council or Health and Care Professions Council, there is no
    requirement for a medical body to recognise or endorse the training for the disability assessment of
    benefit and there is no final certificate issued at the end of the training.”


    surely not another lie;

    Dear Mr Reynolds,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 23 April 2013. You asked;

    You recently quoted these paragraphs below, in a FOI request I sent you.

    The European Convention of Human Rights does not give an automatic right to receive
    benefit. Where a State does provide benefits, there is no right to a particular amount. The
    Government has set the rate of benefits at an amount that it believes to be reasonable, and to
    ensure that no individual suffers destitution. This is compatible with the Convention .

    Destitution refers to persons who are suffering hardship derived from lack of food, clothing and
    shelter. Does your department deem that destitution is not apparent in the uk, and getting
    worse, day by day, as a result of the Welfare Reform Act?

    How bad must it get before it becomes uncompatible with the European Convention?

    I can confirm that the Department holds no recorded information to answer your questions.

    It may help if I explain that the Freedom of Information Act requires public authorities to
    provide copies of information they already hold in a recorded form, subject to certain
    exemptions. However, it does not require the Department to provide opinions, explanations,
    generate answers to questions, or create or obtain information it does not hold.

    If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me quoting the reference number

    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  12. How I agree – have quoted you in An Exercise in Social Control – The REAL Agenda behind Benefit Fraud Campaigns 3 http://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/an-exercise-in-social-control-the-real-agenda-behind-benefit-fraud-campaigns-3/



    Dear Meredith Ong,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 30 July 2013. You asked;

    “How much has been spent on this doomed fiasco?

    When will ministers accept that it is not fit for purpose and never will be?

    Whose head will roll if it is abandoned?

    What happened to the security measures within the software?

    How long before it is abandoned, leaving one of the largest bills for a failed project in British

    We hold no information on a doomed fiasco.

    If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

  14. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  15. there no way of acruatley stating how much is lost to benfit fraud its just a guess.

  16. The state has been ripping us off for years. When I used to receive a giro every fortnight on a friday I was asked to sign on thursdsays instead of wednesdays as too many were signing on that day. I ended up signing on thursday and receiving my giro on saturday so that giro had to last me fifteen days instead of fourteen. When they asked me to have my benefit paid through my bank account I agreed and my of course that first payment ended up in my bank account on the tuesday after I signed on a thursday rather than a giro on a saturay. So my last giro payment had to last me seventeen days. That means I lost four days money over the years and with New Deal schemes and making rapid reclaims those four days of non payment have vanished.
    Governments must save a fortune by ripping off the poor in this way.

    • how do they know a cliam is fradulant unless they have convicted someone of fraud if nobodys been convicted then there’s no reason to think the cliams not genuine.

      • Humping Hippo's in Vilnius

        MY point exactly. Why even worry about what the gov figures say?
        It is like moaning that a speed camera gives out 1000 tickets a week, while the incidence of the crime iin that area is 100 times that number.

        • overburdenddonkey

          i get your point, about what we know is reality, but can only counter what they claim, not what they haven’t claimed…

  17. I am on the Gateway Workshop at the Wp I am new to this. They have drawn up an action plan stating that I have to provide jobsearch evidence. Want my CV and have to join UJM. I have not signed this. It states that if you do not undertake the activities required in tbis notification your benefits could be affected. They want me to email them my CV. How do I stand ?

    • overburdenddonkey

      don’t sign anything….
      also see refuted re your rights regarding, email address….

    • No Job, the JC can get claimants to join Universal Jobmatch (or at least get us to use it to look for jobs) but you are under no obligation to allow them to spy on your UJM account. The same applies to WP providers. Make sure you do not tick the 2 consent boxes when signing up to UJM. You can maybe show them a copy of the ‘gateway confirmation’ email you get back after registering with UJM to prove you’ve signed up (but don’t show them your gateway ID number). You can ask them to change the action plan if you’re not happy with it and it’s best to follow any agreed plans to avoid being sanctioned. I’d ask them to be very specific about what evidence they want to see as it’s not always possible to prove you’ve done everything. For example, if you post or hand in your CV somewhere, they’ll probably just have to take your word for it. I’d be careful about emailing anything to them (the information on your CV is confidential and it’s possible to check the history and dates of attachments like job applications). You can show them paper copies instead and they can’t insist it has to be done by email (again see the Refuted site for more on this).

      • Word documents also contain a lot of meta-data (data within data) i.e. author, creation time, version history, deletions, edits, etc.

        • The Dot (Clippy's Fellow Office Assistant)

          … it will even tell you the exact time you last printed your CV, last saved your CV, your computer/device name. You should NEVER send the jobcentre an electronic copy of any document!

        • That’s right and if they can see things like how many times you updated your CV, it’s the kind of thing that could lead to a sanction.

  18. OBD
    Thanks for that just panicky as on the Action Plan it seems you have to comply.
    They really put the pressure on. Do I have to do everything on the Action Plan and can they stop my expenses if I do not evidence the jobsearch with copies?

  19. Pingback: DWP Are Trying To Hide The Truth But The Amount...

  20. Pingback: Grass Up Your Neighbours Say The DWP With Another Boring Benefit Fraud Campaign | the void

  21. Justice must be done

    May I just point out that when a claimant is prosecuted for alleged benefit fraud by the DWP
    the DWP do not calculate the alleged overpayment correctly and in many cases have prosecuted when there was no overpayment or have over estimated the amount of overpayment, which leads to higher sentences for the defendant.
    If a defendant wishes to contest the overpayment amount which has been calculated by the DWP debt recovery department, it will cost the tax payer £4000 to engage the services of an accountant versed in social security law.

    times this by the number of prosecutions some 49,000 in 2013 equals £20,000,000 cost to the taxpayer.

    There is also the question of just treatment for the defendant the DWP clearly are not doing their job properly when it comes to overpayment calculations this should be handed over to an independent accounting firm to undertake the calculation which would enable savings for the tax payer and eliminate the appalling injustice the accused are currently suffering.
    We have a system that not only prosecutes the innocent but also extorts money from the poor who do not owe it under the threat of prosecution with wild west style accounting practices.

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