LOSS OF BENEFIT AND SANCTIONS

Since 1 April 2002, the loss of benefit provisions contained in Social Security Fraud Act 2001 have made it possible to restrict payment of benefit for 13 weeks following a conviction for a second benefit fraud offence where the offence was committed:

within 3 years of a previous conviction where the second offence was committed before 1 April 2008, or

within 5 years of a previous conviction where the second offence was committed on or after 1 April 2008

From 1 April 2010, further loss of benefit provisions amending section 11(1) Social Security Fraud Act 2001 made it possible to impose a restriction of benefit payment for 4 weeks following a conviction, a caution or an administrative penalty for a first benefit fraud offence.

In April 2013 the Loss of Benefit Provisions under sections 117 to 119 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 came into force bringing further amendments to Social Security Fraud Act 2001.

Those who accept administrative penalties, cautions or who are convicted of benefit offences may be subject to the loss of benefit rules. Where the rules apply, the claimant may have their benefit payment reduced wholly or in part for a number of weeks.

Different provisions apply to persons accepting administrative penalties or cautions but for those convicted of offences committed wholly after 1 April 2013 The reduction periods will be:

for a first conviction – 13 weeks (previously 4 weeks)

for a second offence committed within 5 years – 26 weeks (previously 13 weeks)

for a third offence committed within 5 years – 3 years (previously 13 weeks)

for a single conviction for a serious or organised benefit or identity fraud (whether for a first or subsequent conviction) – 3 years(new)