We are totally committed to tackling the issue of Benefit Fraud and our approach to this problem is to deal with it in a highly trained and professional manner.
We work within the guidelines and legal legislation laid down by the government and we work with the Single Fraud Investigation Service team of professionally trained and accredited investigators who are able to investigate all types of benefit fraud.
What is benefit fraud?
Housing Benefit / Local Council Tax Support are “means tested” benefits which means that somebody’s entitlement to them is assessed on their personal and financial circumstances. In order for someone’s benefit claim to be assessed accurately and fairly, the council must be in full receipt of the facts when deciding if benefit can be paid and at what rate.
Fraud takes place when a claimant is either not truthful about their circumstances when they make a claim or does not inform the council of a change in their circumstances during an ongoing claim.
Despite popular belief, benefit fraud is not a “victimless” crime. On a national level it is estimated that over £2 Billion per year is lost through fraudulent benefit claims which means that every taxpayer in the country pays £70 towards benefit someone is not entitled to receive. Subsequently, money is taken from where it is most needed (hospitals, schools etc.)
On a local level, benefit fraud committed against the council means that the amount of money available for the council to spend on the local community is reduced and can significantly contribute to increases in Council Tax.
How can I help the council fight fraud?
Your contribution in the fight against Benefit Fraud is enormously important. Despite our best efforts, there are occasions when the only way we become aware that a fraud is being committed is because a member of the public tells us about it.
Remember, it is your Council Tax that is being used to pay for people who are fraudulently claiming benefits from the council.
If you suspect someone of committing benefit fraud, we want to hear from you. All information that is given to us is treated in the strictest of confidence and you do not have to give your name or reveal any details about yourself if you do not wish to.
How do I report benefit fraud?
- If you wish to write to us, our address is: Compliance team, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ
- Please mark all correspondence "Private and Confidential"
- For housing benefit fraud, contact the national fraud hotline on 0800 854440. For any other type of fraud against the council,including local council tax support, the council's fraud hotline number is 01992 564440 where you can leave the information you wish to give
You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report fraud online here
Please remember: Investigations may take some time and that whatever action is taken may not be entirely obvious to a third party. Also we are unable to give updates on the progress of an investigation to the person who reported it.