Benefit Fraud Defence Lawyers
Today, the benefits system is harder to navigate than ever before. The DWP is incredibly strict regarding eligibility and it can be difficult to know exactly what benefits you should be applying for.
Many people are being accused of fraudulently claiming benefits because of this. Something which, naturally, is incredibly worrying.
Our specialist Benefit Fraud Solicitors have many years’ experience helping people accused of benefit fraud. We take the weight off your shoulders and guide you through the entire process. Tailored advice and constant support from expert fraud lawyers when you need it most will make one of the most difficult times of your life a little simpler.
Contact our team of Benefit Fraud Lawyers today on +44 (0)161 228 2244 to discuss your case.
How our Benefit Fraud Solicitors can help you
Our team has helped people accused of benefit fraud since 1998. We have a thorough knowledge of the investigation process, allowing us to provide you with best-in-class advice and support.
We understand the stress being accused of committing benefit fraud can bring both personally and financially, which is why we work hard around the clock to provide total support and advice.
A proper approach to a benefit fraud case can help end it much faster. Our Benefit Fraud Solicitors work with:
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
- The Serious Fraud Office (SFO)
To get you the results you need. In addition, we will:
- Prepare you for police interviews
- Secure bail and ensure fair bail conditions if required
- Challenge any search or arrest warrants and ensure they're lawfully executed
- Prepare you defence for trial
- Defend you in court
- Manage the appeals process
This complete service ensures you're ready for anything throughout the investigation whilst helping the case proceed smoothly and quickly. You'll know exactly what's coming and precisely how to handle it.
Call our DWP Solicitors today on +44 (0)161 228 2244 to discuss your case.
What is benefit fraud?
Benefit fraud is a criminal offence in which an individual claims more benefit money from the government than they are entitled to. Such benefits include:
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
Most commonly, this is achieved by failing to inform the Department of Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances or being dishonest about your circumstances when applying. This could include:
- Failing to tell the benefits office about your full financial circumstances. For example, by not mentioning any savings you may have in an effort to increase your benefit entitlement
- Misleading the benefits office regarding you living arrangements. Someone claiming as a single parent despite living with a partner, for example
- Using forged documents to claim benefits
- Failing to update the benefits office of any change in circumstances which may impact your benefits entitlement
If the authorities have reason to suspect you may be committing fraud, or a third-party such as a friend or neighbour has reported you, an investigation for benefit fraud will begin.
The benefit fraud investigations process
When a benefit fraud case is opened, it will typically begin with the DWP sending a letter informing you that you are under investigation and inviting you to attend an interview under caution to discuss your case.
Upon receiving this letter, it is vital that you immediately seek legal advice from specialist DWP solicitors.
During the process of an investigation by the Department of Work & Pensions, Fraud Investigation Officers will also be entitled to visit you at your home to gather evidence for the case. Again, you should ensure you have obtained legal advice before this occurs.
Alongside the DWP, local authorities and HMRC have the ability to investigate benefit fraud. Whichever department conducts it, the process will remain the same, however.
As part of an investigation, the relevant department will be given wide-ranging powers in order to obtain evidence. For example, if you are suspected of fraudulently claiming Disability Living Allowance, investigators may monitor your daily life to confirm you have the mobility claimed whilst also looking through bank statements for evidence of you partaking in activities you shouldn’t be able to do.
This means any investigation could last a long period of time and have an incredible impact on your day-to-day life. Authorised and regulated Benefit Fraud Lawyers will be able to minimise this.
Benefit fraud interviews
When attending an interview, it is vital you remember anything you say may be used as evidence in court should the investigation proceed. Investigators will use a variety of strategies to gain the information they require, making it imperative you never attend an interview without a DWP Solicitor present.
Investigators may invite you to attend an interview under caution or an informal interview. Although an informal interview may not seem as serious, everything you say could be used as evidence against you and it carries the same purpose as an interview under caution.
During the interview, investigators will ask you a number of questions in an attempt to uncover information which could lead to a conviction. Your Benefit Fraud Solicitors will be able to advise you on what, if anything, you should say.
If you have been invited to attend an interview, call us today on +44 (0)161 228 2244.
The penalties for committing benefit fraud
If you are found guilty, the typical benefit fraud conviction will require you to pay back all of the money you have been judged to have obtained illegally alongside paying a penalty of up to £5,000. In addition to this, your benefit will be reduced or stopped.
In more severe cases, you case may be transferred to the Magistrates’ Court. With the Crown Court also being a possibility in the most severe. Should this occur, you may be sent to prison.
Dishonestly failing to report a change in your circumstances carries a penalty of up to seven years’ imprisonment, for example. We will be able to advise of the penalties you could expect early in your case, and will fight to ensure the impact is minimised.
Will my benefits be stopped during the investigation?
It is possible your benefits will be stopped while you’re being investigated for fraud. In this case, you will receive a letter informing you of this decision and the date you should expect them to stop.
We understand the financial difficulty this could put you in, and aim to ensure the case is over as quickly as possible, so you can return to your normal life.
Can I be evicted?
If you are convicted of council housing fraud, the local authority is within its rights to cancel your tenancy and evict you from your home. Housing fraud includes:
- Making dishonest claims when making your application for the property
- Subletting your property without prior authorisation
- Continuing to occupy the property after the legal tenant has died.
Contact our Benefit Fraud Lawyers today
If you are under investigation for benefit fraud, contact our specialist team of solicitors today. Our team of Benefit Fraud Solicitors has significant expertise in these cases and will be able to provide you with the best-possible advice and support.
Call us today on +44 (0)161 228 2244 to speak us.
Legal fees can be an unexpected cost that you may struggle to afford. By applying for legal aid, you can relieve financial stress during your case, leaving you to focus on what matters. Our solicitors will guide you through the process of applying for legal aid, ensuring you have the best possible chance of a successful application.