14 March 2011
A public awareness campaign to promote new measures to tackle benefit fraud has been launched by the Social Security Department. The ‘Benefit thieves, let’s stop them’ multimedia campaign encourages people to use a confidential, freephone hotline (0800 735 1111) and an online form (www.gov.je/BenefitThieves
) to tell the department about anyone who may be deliberately making false benefit claims.
3 full-time staff members have been recruited to the department’s fraud team. Their role will include making visits to benefit claimants’ households over the coming months to check that their circumstances are consistent with their benefit claims. This work is carried out together with the department’s standard practice of regularly contacting claimants to remind them of their obligation to notify Social Security immediately if their personal circumstances change.
Social Security Minister Deputy Ian Gorst explained: “We are predominantly targeting high risk groups so that we can help focus their attention on making sure their claims are correct. If a claim does not accurately reflect a person’s circumstances it can often result in a build-up of overpayments, which will have to be paid back. It is therefore our objective to discover these situations as quickly as possible so that people are not left with large debts.”
Fraud officers will be building on the department’s existing activities, which focus on specific groups who are more likely to be submitting false benefit claims. By introducing these new measures, the department is sending out a clear message that it will ensure value for money for hard-working tax payers and that benefit cheats will not be tolerated. Those who are found to be deliberately making false benefit claims could be faced with having to pay back any excess benefit, having their benefit stopped or reduced and, in some cases, civil action or even criminal prosecution.
Report a benefit thief online