First Ever Universal Credit fraud and error stats released
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published its first annual fraud and error findings for its Universal Credit (UC) welfare reform programme, as part of a wider benefit system report for the 2015/16 period.
According to the latest DWP figures, overpayment rates for the programme were recorded at 7.3% during the last full financial year, amounting to £36m. Of this figure, 5.4 percentage points were attributed to fraud, with remaining overspend said to have resulted from claimant or official error.
Over the same period, total underpayment to claimants was recorded at 2.6%. Official error was attributed to 2.3 percentage points of the underpayment figures.
DWP compared the 7.3% overpayment via UC to the 5% figure from Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), but noted that the comparison was not “statistically significant”.
“As UC is still being rolled out across Great Britain, expenditure on this benefit £477m in 2015/16) is much lower than on JSA £2.4bn in 2015/16),” said the DWP findings.
“The monetary value of overpayments on UC is correspondingly lower, at £35m, compared with £120m for JSA.”
Currently available at eight UK job centres as part of ongoing trials, the enhanced digital system of Universal Credit – known as the full service – is expected to be rolled out across the UK in a gradual development process that will include linking up with some form of identity assurance tool for users.
As part of this process, DWP said earlier this month it was yet to make a decision over its identity assurance needs for Universal Credit, which would include evaluating whether it will look to make use of the GOV.UK Verify platform as a means of ensuring claimant ID.
The Government’s ‘flagship welfare reform’ sees six benefit payouts combined into one monthly payment, where over 400,000 people have now made a UC claim.
The irony is now, that landlords are paying for the governments catastrophic failure with Universal Credit with the help of the latest stealth taxes introduced (Capital Gains Tax cuts and the additional 3% Stamp Duty rate), instead of building the homes that our country so desperately needs.
So now that the majority of your tenants are paid their housing benefit directly, rather than it automatically going to you, please be aware that they are fully responsible for paying the benefit directly to you. Even though research carried out at the introduction found that 92% of tenants would prefer their housing benefit paid directly to their landlord …!
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