The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is planning to link benefits with PAYE systems using HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) system this year in a bid to further combat benefit fraud and error.
In figures released this week, DWP has said that fraud and error in the benefit system stands at 2.1 percent of overall welfare expenditure. In 2012/13 the department and local authorities recovered approximately £900 million that had been overpaid due to benefit fraud and error, up from £60 million over the last year.
It now hopes to improve this figure in 2014 by undertaking a number of new initiatives, including linking up to the RTI system, which HMRC uses to automatically update employee tax records.
DWP has said that by linking benefits with PAYE tax systems using RTI, this will enable benefit teams to “see almost immediately if a claimant is lying about working”.
The department will also be introducing a single Fraud and Error Service from April 2014, which will bring together DWP’s existing fraud investigation and customer error teams into a stronger service.
“We are fixing the welfare system to stop errors and ensuring investigators have the resources to catch cheats,” said Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud.
“The level of fraud and error in the benefits system is lower than 3 years ago, and only a small minority commit fraud, but we are determined to continue the battle. This year we expect a record number of prosecutions.”