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Benefit fraud
47

Stressoutmum · 27/06/2022 16:54

Hi. I’ve recently received a letter from fraud department that I need to trend an interview under caution as they suspect I failed to declare a partner. I do have a partner but he doesn’t live with me simply because I can’t afford him living here. He’s a student so all his student loans would be taken off my claim. So is it fraud that we’re a couple. I work and claim uc as a top up. He doesn’t give me money

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CiderJolly · 27/06/2022 16:56

Where does he live and can you prove it?

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11Hawkins · 27/06/2022 16:57

Can you prove where he lives?

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 17:24

Ok. 33 years in Fraud so hope I can give you a reasonably clear answer on what they are looking for.

First of all I want to expel a myth. (Because it's used as a defence EVERY time) 'he doesn't live with me and only stays over x times a week'

There is NO specific amount of time if he has another home. This is ALL about lifestyle.
'Living together' is an offence . (Actually the offence is failure to notify a chance of circumstances, if you have got together since claiming to be single OR false representation if you were already in a relationship when you claimed)

Anyway.. it might help to understand WHY this is an offence.

If you claim as a single person it is assumed you have no additional income with which to run your household above that which you have declared for yourself. Every year the government legislates an amount of money the state should give you to help you support you and your family.
So for example . £500 rent (depends on area) £330 ish for you and £250 ish per child and then any money you earn is deducted after an allowable amount. (CMS is not counted) Out of that you are expected to run your entire household.

So compare yourself to say your neighbour who has no partner . Imagine you were in an exact same position. Both have 2 kids. Same rent. Same council tax. Same utility costs.

Now ask yourself . Does your partner contribute to your household ? Does he buy groceries for the family ? Does he pay the tv subscription? Does he pay car or travel costs for you ? As a very occasional thing (ie buys a takeaway at the weekends ) this wouldn't matter. However is it a regular thing.

Because it's obviously not fair if you have some or any of those things paid for you regularly when you neighbour in the same boat doesn't get that. It leaves you with more disposable income because you have a partner.

Now you can see what they are going to ask.

Unfortunately most living together allegations are made by friends family or neighbours because they feel it is unfair.

I had a case a few years ago where the partner literally paid for everything and the benefit money was the womens 'pocket money' . She was incandescent with rage because her boyfriend had another home where he paid his own council tax.. just would not have it that she was doing anything wrong. (Had three kids with the man between claiming and the court case !)

They will also ask about how others regard you. ie if neighbours/friends see you as a couple. In the case above it was the woman across the road who made the allegation although the convicted woman would never be privy to that information. (She was also a LP on benefits)

My advice would be to be honest and say if he makes regular contributions in any way. If he doesn't then say that. You can also ask for a publicly funded solicitor to attend with you if you wish.
Last but not least it is important to understand that 'under caution' includes your right to refuse to answer questions. However that normally means we have no other choice but to dig deeper. It is still your right though.

I hope that assists to put you in the picture ?

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Stressoutmum · 27/06/2022 17:39

He doesn’t contribute because he hasn’t the money too. I manage fine with work and uc. I don’t have debts or massive bills. Just a Wi-Fi and electric bill. He lives with his mum. He’s here when I work and stays on the nights I’m working til 2am. I know he spends a lot of time here but we’ve always been your money and my money. I don’t give him money and he doesn’t give me any. But it’s proving that I’m scared about

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Celticdawn5 · 27/06/2022 17:43

They might have nothing more than an allegation and depending on how you answer will determine their next steps. I.e what sort of benefit savings can they make for least effort so by calling you there is an off chance that you will give them all the information they need to close your claim without the need for them to investigate further .
you do not know what information they have .if you are confident that you have done nothing wrong then all you have to do is roll up and answer the questions.
But forget the ‘ he only stays 3 nights a week’ .Eddiesferret is correct.

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Celticdawn5 · 27/06/2022 17:45

So he would contribute if he did have the money?
and his mum would corroborate that he lives with her?

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Gingermoth · 27/06/2022 17:48

Dies he have bank statements registered to his mums?, is he on the electoral roll at his mums?

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Stressoutmum · 27/06/2022 17:50

Yes

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Stressoutmum · 27/06/2022 17:52

He would live here if he could. But I would lose what I have and he wouldn’t contribute because he works part time and has all his own bills, debts credit cards etc. I don’t know how I say to them that I will have him move in when he’s financially stable without it looking bad

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SuperTea · 27/06/2022 17:55

I had a case a few years ago where the partner literally paid for everything and the benefit money was the womens 'pocket money' . She was incandescent with rage because her boyfriend had another home where he paid his own council tax.. just would not have it that she was doing anything wrong. (Had three kids with the man between claiming and the court case !)

But if he'd paid that money as CMS that would be OK?

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Viviennemary · 27/06/2022 17:57

Does he have another home. Or does he use your address as his address.

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Celticdawn5 · 27/06/2022 17:58

Well unless they have been getting statements from neighbours etc and making observations then it’ll be quite an effort for them to prove you are living together.
you don’t mention if he is the father of your children (if you have any). Has he/does he do the school run?

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FeelingLost21 · 27/06/2022 18:01

Can someone be reported for past fraud?

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FridayNightWines · 27/06/2022 18:03

If he's there quite a lot, I imagine then someone has alerted the authorities that he's living there

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:05

SuperTea · 27/06/2022 17:55

I had a case a few years ago where the partner literally paid for everything and the benefit money was the womens 'pocket money' . She was incandescent with rage because her boyfriend had another home where he paid his own council tax.. just would not have it that she was doing anything wrong. (Had three kids with the man between claiming and the court case !)

But if he'd paid that money as CMS that would be OK?

Yes that would have been fine. If they were actually not together. But their Facebook /SM neighbours and friends and family regarded them as a couple.
It's about the picture. If you are separated you're not at the house all the time. Of course you may be there some of the time to look after kids if ex partner is working. You may visit frequently. But you name isn't on the utilities. Insurance... etc

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PeekAtYou · 27/06/2022 18:07

I suspect that the person who reported to you is seeing him leave at 2am and thinking that you are living together.

I presume all the bills like utilities only have your name and come out of your bank account? Your bank statements wouldn't have payments from him either so I assume it would be straight forward to prove that.

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:08

Viviennemary · 27/06/2022 17:57

Does he have another home. Or does he use your address as his address.

Another red herring. Also a well known ruse for trying to prove you don't live there. It doesn't mean anything . You can maintain another home and still pay your partners costs (if you are that generous!)

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:12

FeelingLost21 · 27/06/2022 18:01

Can someone be reported for past fraud?

Yes. Although living together is almost impossible to prove. The only 'past' offences that get picked up are ones where someone has had a large undeclared capital sum that's not been disclosed whilst claiming an income based benefit. (JSA and ESA income based, Income Support, Universal Credit)

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queenie2016 · 27/06/2022 18:16

He obviously doesn't contribute to your home/bills etc so just tell them your friends with benefits , he's not living with you full time and paying your bills / giving you money so it really doesn't matter try not to worry about it but don't let them try to trip you up you haven't done anything wrong

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fizzwhizz1 · 27/06/2022 18:23

@Eddiesferret What if a partner is abusive? Such as withholding money? And someone has no choice but to claim as a lone parent? How would the fraud department deal with that?

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PerfectlyQuiet · 27/06/2022 18:31

It sounds like you might be ok from the benefits fraud point of view but you are not ok from the cock lodger point of view. 😅😅😅. Why on earth would you want someone staying with you so much who doesn't contribute anything.

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fizzwhizz1 · 27/06/2022 18:35

@PerfectlyQuiet Yes! Agreed!

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:51

fizzwhizz1 · 27/06/2022 18:23

@Eddiesferret What if a partner is abusive? Such as withholding money? And someone has no choice but to claim as a lone parent? How would the fraud department deal with that?

We do deal with situations like that. We have specialist customer managers and usually this sort of situation would be bought to us via a DV charity or social worker. Unfortunately the DWP are not mind readers. Someone has to tell us the situation. Most things can be sorted out. We have people who claim having separated but still have to share a home. So for example a letter from the housing department dying they are waiting for a separate home..

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Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:52

Saying.. hopefully not dying !

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SuperTea · 27/06/2022 18:52

Eddiesferret · 27/06/2022 18:05

Yes that would have been fine. If they were actually not together. But their Facebook /SM neighbours and friends and family regarded them as a couple.
It's about the picture. If you are separated you're not at the house all the time. Of course you may be there some of the time to look after kids if ex partner is working. You may visit frequently. But you name isn't on the utilities. Insurance... etc

Interesting. So it's not possible to live apart, but still be a family for the sake of the children and claim benefits?

I'm wondering because I have a friend who has 4 children. Until recently she was living with the father of the youngest in his house with the 4 kids. This arrangement didn't work out for any of them, so she and the kids have moved in their own rented house, but they are still a couple and they still parent together, days out etc.

I've no idea what their financial situation is but she does care work so I'm sure on her own she'd be entitled to something.

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