You think you're being accused of benefit fraud

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If your benefit's been stopped or you're asked to confirm some facts, it doesn't always mean you're being investigated for fraud. Often, it's just to check you're getting the right amount of money.

You might get a letter or message asking you some questions or inviting you to a meeting. Answer any questions as accurately as you can - you'll need to confirm things like:

  • who you live with

  • whether you've changed your working hours

  • whether your health's improved

  • other changes in your life that affect your benefits

Try to get proof, for example a letter from your doctor confirming your condition hasn't changed or a bill showing your partner's name and address to prove they don't live with you.

If you get Universal Credit

You might be asked to upload copies of documents to your journal - for example:

  • your passport

  • your tenancy agreement

  • a photo of you in front of your home

If you have trouble finding the documents you need, add a message in your journal to let the DWP know as soon as possible. You can ask for more time if you need it.

Making copies of your documents

If you need to upload or email a copy of a document, you can either:

  • take a photo of the document with your phone or digital camera

  • scan the document, if you have access to a computer with a scanner

When you make a copy, you must make sure it’s clear. If it’s blurry, grainy or low resolution, it could be rejected.

You should make sure you include the whole document when you take a photo or scan it. You need to be able to see all the corners of the document on the copy.

If you’re taking a photo of your document, do it in a place with good lighting. It’s best to turn off your camera flash to prevent glare.

If you get asked to go to an interview under caution

You must get advice because it means you might be suspected of fraud - find out how to get help about an interview under caution.

If you're asked to pay money back

If the government department or council paying your benefits thinks you should be getting less money, they'll ask for some back - this is called an 'overpayment'. You should check if you can challenge the overpayment.

If you need money while your benefit is stopped

Talk to an adviser - they'll be able to tell you about any money you can apply for. For example, they might be able to help you get a reduced rate of benefit called a 'hardship payment'.

If you need food straight away you can find out about food banks.

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