Claimants will now have their bank accounts checked monthly (Picture: Getty)
Those claiming benefits will soon have their bank accounts checked monthly as the government looks to clamp down on fraud.
The plans for a new post-Covid fraud crackdown could save taxpayers an estimated £500 million in the first five years, according to The Telegraph.
More than 5.4 million people are currently claiming out-of-work benefits, as the number peaked this autumn.
But as the number of claimants increased steadily throughout the Covid pandemic, so did that of those committing fraud.
Under current rules, the Department for Work and Pensions has to request each claimant’s bank account details if they suspect fraud.
More than 5.4 million people are currently claiming out-of-work benefits, as the number peaked this autumn.(Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
However, from later this year, banks will be required to run monthly checks to look for signs of fraud.
A DWP spokesman said: ‘We are already cracking down on those who try to exploit the welfare system in a push to save the taxpayer £1.3bn in the next year.
‘We are ramping up our plans to root out fraud through our Fighting Fraud plan which will bolster the counter-fraud frontline significantly by deploying trained specialists to review millions of Universal Credit claims, among other measures.’
The new initiative comes as last year, the DWP launched a robust plan to further tackle fraud and error in the benefits system.
Fraudsters have used unique excuses in the past to get benefits they did not qualify for – including a man from Glasgow claiming he was looking for an ‘evil twin brother’.
One alleged fraudster from London claimed she was a white female depicted in photos even though her skin colour was black – and suggested her face had changed shape following a car crash.
And a man interviewed in Folkestone for failing to declare his night-watchman job said: ‘I only claim benefits during the day – what I do at night is my own business.’
Meanwhile, one man on Universal Credit can only afford to eat one meal per day.
Christopher Blake said: ‘I didn’t think I’d be on benefits for long. I had a good degree, great experience – plus, more importantly, I also had ideas I wanted to develop into full TV and podcast shows.
‘I have eaten only one meal a day for the past three months: a large tea, more often than not consisting of some cheap frozen processed chicken, potatoes or rice and some veg, and occasionally a bowl of cereal too.’
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‘We are already cracking down on those who try to exploit the welfare system in a push to save the taxpayer £1.3bn in the next year.’