COMMONS

Fraud and error in housing benefit

Inquiry status: inquiry concluded

The Department for Work and Pensions spent £23.9 billion on Housing Benefit in 2013-14, 15% of its total benefit spending.  DWP estimates that £1.4 billion of Housing Benefit was overpaid in 2013-14. At 5.8% of expenditure, Housing Benefit has the highest rate of overpayment among the Department's benefits. Overpayments were up from 4.6% in 2010-11. The increase in overpayments is largely due to increases in claimant error, which rose from £590 million in 2010-11 to £900 million in 2013-14.  If DWP is to achieve its target to reduce the level of overpayments across welfare benefits, it will need a significant reduction in Housing Benefit fraud and error - a benefit for which it retains responsibility but is administered by local authorities. This inquiry will consider progress in dealing with Housing Benefit fraud and error, DWP’s management and oversight of this issue and the processes and interventions which target Housing Benefit fraud and error.

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