BRITS who fell victim to a Universal Credit fraud might be put back on the old benefits system, the Government has admitted.
Earlier this week it was revealed millions had been claimed after victims were scammed by criminals applying for the new system on their behalf and then pocketing the advance cash.
Fraudsters have been making bogus claims – with one saying Harry Kane was their landlord and another mum who claimed to have six blind children.
Brits can get up to 100 per cent of their advance claim ahead of time to stop them having to wait five weeks for their claim to be processed – but it then has to be paid back over the course of a year.
Often the victim only found out about the fraud when they received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to say they were signed up to Universal Credit and that their other existing benefits, such as tax credits, would be stopped.
Tens of millions have reported to have been stolen in the scam, the BBC revealed.
But the DWP said there were only a "very small number of cases".
He said: "Every individual will be treated individually and we will look at their unique circumstances.Where it is clear they have been a victim of fraud through no fault of their own then, yes, we wouldn't expect them to be paid back.
"And yes we would look at considering putting them back onto the legacy benefits if they were better off under those."
That will be done on a case-by-case basis, officials said.
The DWP clarified that claimants don't need to pay back the money that scammers took, but any advance they did keep would have to be paid back in the usual way.
Mr Tomlinson blasted the "parasites targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our society" and assured MPs he would do all he could to help protect them.
Earlier this week Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both vowed to keep the controversial Universal Credit system – but the latter hinted he could cut the five-week wait for cash.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work
UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount their benefits would be cut by.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the Government to:
- Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email [email protected] to share your story.
The news comes today as MPs demand that the wait for Universal Credit be slashed down to one week.
The government should also be more flexible when it comes to calculating and paying the benefit to avoid households being thrown into chaos due to fluctuating payments, Frank Field and Heidi Allen said in a new report.
The DWP say no one needs to wait a total of five weeks as advances are available to help, even though they are repaid.
Source: Read Full Article