show that the level of fraud and error in Housing Benefit in 2002-3
stands at £550m-£750m*. The DWP has a target of reducing fraud and
error in Housing Benefit by 25% by 2006. Housing Benefit fraud
*Around £750m (6.2%) of total Housing Benefit expenditure is
estimated to have been overpaid due to fraud and error in 2002-3, of
which an estimated £550m was overpaid to cases within the scope of
the exercise's sampling (5.1% of such expenditure), and a further
£200m is estimated by extrapolation to have been overpaid to cases
outside the scope of the sampling.
Housing Benefit minister Chris Pond said: 'We are determined to drive
down fraud and error in Housing Benefit and other benefits. We have
introduced a raft of new measures to combat fraud and error. These
include plans to increase, from next April, 'data matching'
information supplied by claimants to local councils with details from
other benefits they may be claiming.'
The figures show:
- Around £550m of the cases looked at are estimated to have been
overpaid due to fraud and error in 2002-3.
- Most of the total was overpaid to people of working age, rather
- Fraud is estimated to have accounted for between one quarter and
one half of overpaid Housing Benefit. Claimant error and local
council or DWP error are estimated to have accounted for around one
quarter or more of the total.
The raft of measures announced in the Housing Benefit reform package
will simplify the scheme and help reduce fraud and error. These
- Customers no longer need to re-claim every year which frees up
local authority resources to better target those claims at highest
risk of fraud and error.
- From April 2004 there will be enhanced monthly matc hing of DWP data
with local council data and more sophisticated risk analysis which
is expected to increase the number of overpayments detected by at
least 25%. Cases with the highest risk of fraud and error
will get extra reviews and may receive visits from fraud
- There is extra help and support available to councils to improve
benefit administration from DWP officials who have helped or are
still helping 65 councils. Progress reports show clearance times
and backlogs have reduced and there have been improvements in
skills levels and staff morale.
1. The Department for Work and Pensions has a target to reduce fraud
and error in Housing Benefit for working age customers by 25%.
2. The figures are based on a sample of 10,000 cases. The full report here.
3. From now on figures for fraud and error in Housing Benefit will be published every six months.