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Social Security Benefit: Fraud

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 16 September 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if HM Revenue and Customs will take steps to investigate instances of suspected benefit fraud perpetrated by EU nationals from former Soviet bloc countries. (291237)

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) takes all instances of suspected fraud seriously and is stepping up its work in this area. The Department is increasing its use of data matching using information from a wide variety of sources to identify those who attempt to abuse the system. HMRC also shares intelligence and investigates cases jointly with other Government agencies.

Those who are caught may face prosecution or in less serious cases, being charged a penalty and interest in addition to repaying the amount they defrauded.

To help prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, child benefit customers must provide HMRC with documentary evidence of the child being claimed for, such as a birth certificate, adoption certificate or passport.

All claims for child benefit are then subject to a wide range of checks throughout the life of each claim. It would be inappropriate to disclose a complete list as to do so may provide assistance to those attempting to defraud the system.

Details of suspected benefit fraud can be reported to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (0800 854 440), the Child Benefit Helpline (0845 302 1444) or the tax credits Helpline (0845 300 3900).