Universal Credit: Coronavirus

(asked on 1st June 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of universal credit payments that are suspected to have been claimed fraudulently since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.


Answered by
Will Quince Portrait
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
This question was answered on 17th June 2020

Between 16th March 2020 and 29th May 2020, 129,000 Universal Credit claims were referred to the Department as at least one aspect of the claim was suspected to be incorrect. These referrals can occur for a number of reasons and will not all relate to fraud; some may be a simple misunderstanding by a claimant. Where DWP has a doubt about a person’s identity, no payment is made until that doubt has been cleared.

The figure includes referrals made by DWP staff and referrals to our Serious and Organised Crime team. Over 2.3 million new claims were made for Universal Credit during this period. We continue to monitor the level of referrals received in order to identify trends.

The Department continues to take the issue of benefit fraud extremely seriously. We have taken decisive action, creating our Enhanced Checking Service (ECS). ECS is a team of fully trained fraud investigators and is responsible for conducting additional checks on claims where front line staff have expressed doubt over a claimant’s entitlement to benefit. We have also maintained our Serious and Organised Crime and Economic Crime Group activity during this period, ensuring we continue to respond to risks and threats referred to us.

In addition, we are able to identify claims made during this period so we can review them as required once we return to business as usual. If benefit fraud is identified, we will ensure that appropriate action is taken.

*The figure relating to the number of fraud referrals received by the Department has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other figures subsequently released by the Department. This figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
Recent Documents related to Universal Credit: Coronavirus

1. Report - Universal Credit advances fraud
20/03/2020 - National Audit Office

Found: Comptroller and Auditor General Department for Work & Pensions Universal Credit advances fraud HC 105 SESSION

2. Department for Work and Pensions Accounts 2020-21
15/07/2021 - National Audit Office

Found: Auditor General Report on Accounts Department for Work & Pensions The National Audit Of˜ce (NAO) scrutinises

3. Departmental Overview 2019-20: Department for Work & Pensions 2020
13/10/2020 - National Audit Office

Found: This overview summarises the work˜of the Department for Work & Pensions including what it does, how

4. DWP annual report and accounts 2020 to 2021
15/07/2021 - Department for Work and Pensions
- View source

Found: HC 422 Department for Work and Pensions Annual Report and Accounts 2020

5. 2020/21
25/08/2021 - HM Treasury
- View source

Found: Department for Work & Pensions Annual Report & Accounts 2020-21 Annual Report & Accounts 2020-21 HC 422

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Universal Credit: Coronavirus

1. Oral Answers to Questions
29/06/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: staff and all Department for Work and Pensions staff and contractors for their tireless work through this - Speech Link
2: Wolverhampton is above the country average, and covid-19 will have an impact on these figures. Does my - Speech Link
3: people in these challenging times to get back into work as soon as possible and to support an economic recovery - Speech Link

2. Oral Answers to Questions
25/01/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: People who are advised to shield and are unable to work from home may be furloughed. Those who are not furloughed - Speech Link
2: they have not had the £20 a week universal credit uplift that has been made available. As the Government - Speech Link
3: are having to shield. Many disabled people cannot work from home and do not qualify for furlough, and sick - Speech Link

3. Coronavirus Outbreak: DWP Response
26/11/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: Report of the Work and Pensions Committee, “DWP’s response to the coronavirus outbreak”, HC 178; and - Speech Link
2: Report of the Work and Pensions Committee, “DWP’s response to the coronavirus outbreak”, HC 178; and - Speech Link

4. Oral Answers to Questions
14/09/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: vulnerable customers were able to access benefit payments during lockdown. It remains the case that at least - Speech Link
2: Given the DWP’s decision that new benefits or state pensions will no longer be collected using the Post - Speech Link
3: society or credit union account will be able to continue to access their benefit or pension payments at a post - Speech Link

5. Oral Answers to Questions
11/05/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: £20 increase to universal credit and working tax credits. What steps is the Department taking to rectify - Speech Link
2: addition to the more than £1,000 increase to the universal credit standard rate, we have seen the annual benefit - Speech Link
3: pandemic, will the Minister confirm what action the Department is taking to ensure that my constituents can - Speech Link

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