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DWP Fraud & Overpayments


DWP have published their estimates of fraud and error across all benefits for April 2008 to March 2009.  We only gave it a cursory glance until the headline figure hit us square between the eyes.  The press release states:

It is estimated that during 2008/09 around 2.2 per cent, or £3.0bn, of total benefit expenditure was overpaid due to fraud and error.

That said, they do estimate that underpayments of 0.9 per cent (£1.2bn) occurred in the same period, but in anyone's eyes that is A LOT of money.  Unfortunately there is no indication as to how much of this was fraud or official error.  That would indeed by an interesting comparison.

Income Support and JSA are the worst from a proportional point of view with 5.5 per cent overpayment (£640m).  Housing Benefit is the worst from a financial point of view with £840m estimated to have been overpaid.  Incapacity Benefit is the winner with only 3.4 per cent (£220m) being overpaid.

Even though we don't have the split of fraud vs error, surely something should be done about the error rates as that would save tax payers a tidy sum.  Ideas on a postcard to Jim Knight MP!


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