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Social Security Benefits

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 67091, tabled on 1 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a method to assess whether a benefit claimant has permanently left the UK.

Answered on

9 November 2021

DWP takes fraudulent claims very seriously, which is why we have a range of measures in place to identify when someone has permanently left the UK and is no longer entitlement to benefits.

Universal Credit, like certain other benefits, is only payable in the UK, although it can be claimed legitimately during limited periods of absence. Our operational staff are trained to deal with such cases, which helps ensure claimants do not receive benefits incorrectly. For Universal Credit, claimants will also have regular work-focussed interviews as part of their claim.

In addition, we regularly monitor claims, working closely with other Government Departments. For Universal Credit, our increased use of data and analytics, along with enhanced checks where intelligence indicates a risk of fraud, is proving extremely effective in preventing and detecting this type of loss.

Similarly, a combination of data matching and Life Certificates is helping ensure that State Pension is paid correctly to people living overseas.

All individuals in receipt of a DWP benefits are required to inform the Department if their address changes, including if they move to another country. This is clearly set out in our communications to customers. If claims are made where there is no entitlement, the Department will consider formal action and, where appropriate, prosecution. We will also recover any overpayment incurred.