Reporting Changes in Circumstances: Tackling error in the Housing Benefit system - standard Housing Benefit cases

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Whilst levels of fraud have consistently decreased in the benefit system, levels of claimant and official error have not, and the reduction of overpayments is now an important policy objective (Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 2007). The estimated total of Housing Benefit fraud and error from October 2005 to September 2006 was 760 million pounds (Audit Commission 2008), which represents just over five per cent of the 14 billion pounds total 2005/06 expenditure on Housing Benefit. Of this, 170 million pounds is estimated to have been lost through fraud, 430 million pounds was overpaid because of claimant error and 160 million pounds overpaid because of official error (DWP, 2007).

This report presents findings from a qualitative research project to explore Standard Housing Benefit claimants' knowledge and understanding concerning changes in their circumstances and their obligations to report them and, as such, complements earlier research which considered a range of means-tested benefits including Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support (Irvine et al., 2008). The research was carried out by the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York in 2007-08. The findings of the report comprise information on,

* Claimants' knowledge and understanding of reporting changes in circumstances

* Claimants' reporting changes in circumstances: influences on behaviour

* Claimants' experiences and consequences of reporting changes in circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeeds
PublisherCorporate Document Services
ISBN (Print)978 1 84712 424 1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameDepartment for Work and Pensions Research Report


  • employment/benefits

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