Universal Credit and other state benefits are usually paid on specific schedules, with most being paid either once every two or four weeks. These payment schedules can be altered by bank holidays, with the next falling across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland soon.
According to the Government, the number of people on Universal Credit has doubled to six million since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
The officials involved said the increase in Universal Credit fraud was the product of more people applying for the benefit along with the value of each fraudulent case rising, rather than a higher proportion of people engaging in fraud.
Where claimants are suspected of benefit fraud, they’ll be contacted by the DWP, HMRC, the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency or a local authority.
Benefit payments may be stopped while the person involved is investigated.
Benefits can be reduced or stopped for up to three years if the person involved is convicted of fraud.
It should be noted this can only affect “sanctionable” benefits such as Universal Credit and pension credit.
There are a number of benefits that cannot be reduced or stopped even where fraud is committed, such as state pension and child benefit.
A full list of both sanctionable and non-sanctionable benefits can be found on the Government’s website.