Welfare: Child benefit fraud warning

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The Independent Online
Tens of thousands of families could be claiming child benefit for children who do not exist, who have died or who are no longer eligible, according to a report published yesterday. The report says that 76,000 blank birth certificates have been stolen and could be used in frauds. It adds that thousands of 16-to-18-year-olds could still be on the benefit list even though they have left school.

The report shows that while the DSS paid benefit to around 970,000 parents of 16-to-18-year-olds, the Department for Education and Employment had records of only 617,000 still in full-time education. Teenagers who leave school before they are 18 cease to be eligible for benefit. One committee member suggested that the fraud could be costing the taxpayer more than pounds 100m a year.

Commons Social Security Committee Second Report on Child Benefit Fraud; Stationery Office, PO Box 276, London, SW8 5DT; pounds 11.30.

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