Crackdown on 'lone' parents benefit
Single parents who commit benefit fraud by secretly living with someone as husband and wife are to face "tough" new sanctions, the Government has announced.
The fraud is costing the taxpayer almost £100 million in overpaid benefits, with 10 recent cases alone involving £1 million, including several examples of married women claiming lone parent benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the Welfare Reform Bill going through Parliament aimed to crack down on the problem.
Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: "Pretending you are a single parent to get benefits when you are actually living with a partner is stealing money from the people who genuinely need help.
"Sometimes these claims can be fraudulent from the outset, but often a person's circumstances change gradually and they don't tell the Department. Either way, it is a crime and one we are determined to put a stop to.
"Universal Credit will simplify and automate the benefits system to make it less open to abuse and ensure this money is going to those who need it the most."