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What exactly is benefit fraud and what are the risks?

The benefits system here in the UK is in place to help those who require financial support while they are seeking employment. It also helps those whose earnings are too low, if they care for someone, are ill themselves, are raising children or are disabled.

The safety net of benefits is there to catch people who slip through the cracks financially for whatever reason. Some people genuinely attempt to defraud the benefits system, and some are accused of doing so wrongly. Here, we take a look at what benefit fraud is, the different types and what could happen if you are accused of benefit fraud. Read on to find out more.

What Is Benefit Fraud?

If you claim benefits from the state that you are not entitled to on purpose, then you have committed benefit fraud. This situation could arise by providing false or misleading information when making a claim, or by failing to report a change in your circumstances which would leave you exempt from support. For example, claiming jobseekers’ allowance while in employment, hiding a proportion of income to claim benefits, failing to declare a change in address and making false claims to receive housing benefits are all considered benefit fraud. If you’re suspected of benefit fraud, you will likely be contacted by either HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions or your local authority for an investigation.

What Happens If You Are Accused Of It?

Once an investigatory process is put in place, those accused of benefit fraud may be instructed to attend a recorded interview which could be used in a criminal investigation. In court, a judge could find you guilty, for which the penalty could be to repay all outstanding money, pay a penalty, a halt in benefits and a potential prison sentence. With this in mind, if you have been accused, you must seek legal advice. The penalty for losing a benefit fraud court case can be financially crippling and if you are innocent, you must receive the best legal representation possible to prove your innocence.

If You’ve Been Accused of Benefit Fraud, Contact Crystal Law Solicitors Today

If you’ve been accused of benefit fraud and require local legal representation for your case, look no further than Crystal Law Solicitors. With offices in Leicester and Nottingham, we’re experts in this area of law and can provide you with the legal services you need.

To find out more about our services, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at either of our Leicester or Nottingham offices. For Leicester, call 0116 255 1650 and for Nottingham call 0115 697 5555. Alternatively, email us at enquiries@crystallaw.co.uk or leave us a message on our contact form.