Those claiming benefits are being warned of the need to disclose changes in circumstances as part of a campaign that aims to cut the £1.6bn yearly cost of overpayments.
Claimants in six pilot areas have been warned that if they fail to disclose a new job or if they have moved in with a partner they could face fines of up to £2,000. The campaign will last three weeks and make use of multimedia such as adverts, posters, social media and letters.
Lord Freud, the welfare reform minister, has said the campaign aims to stop fraud and overpayment “before they even happen” reports the BBC.
He said: “It is only a small minority who commit fraud. We are keen to make sure that claimants know that even small overpayments can really add up over time, so they must get in contact with us and let us know about changes in circumstances straightaway.”
Overpayments of benefits were at £1.6bn last year due to error by claimants which is higher than the year before.
The campaign will see posters asking benefit claimants to inform the DWP of changes to jobs or housing situations, and claimants will also receive written letters highlighting the importance of notifying changes.
The pilot locations are Southwark and Hounslow in London, Blackburn, Blackpool, Epping Forest and Cardiff.
From the results of the pilot scheme and the different methods used to promote the need to notify changes in circumstances will help decide on the form of a national anti-fraud campaign later in the year.
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