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Benefit fraud occurs when a person submits false information, omits required details, or tells outright lies in an effort to obtain benefits to which he is not entitled. A person may commit this type of fraud, for example, when he lies to obtain welfare or unemployment benefits or to receive disability income. Failing to report changes in household size or income or falsifying the details of one’s living situation may be considered benefit fraud as well. Additionally, a person may be guilty of benefit fraud if he falsely claims he is disabled or unable to work.
There are many ways in which a person may commit benefit fraud. Often, a person commits this type of fraud by lying or omitting details about his household. A person may commit fraud, for instance, by saying he has dependents that do not exist in order to obtain a benefit to which he is not entitled. An individual may also be guilty of fraud if he states he is the sole adult in a household despite the fact that there are other adults living in the home.
Sometimes a person commits benefit fraud by lying or omitting details about his income. For example, a person may state that he is not working in order to obtain welfare or unemployment benefits. He may also commit benefit fraud if he works but understates the amount of income he receives. In some cases, a person may also be considered guilty of benefit fraud if he does not receive money for working but does receive some other type of compensation. In such a case, failure to report the other compensation, such as room and board, may constitute fraud.
An individual may also commit benefit fraud by lying about injuries and disabilities. For example, a person may state that he is disabled due to an accident or illness and is unable to work. If the party is not injured or ill, he is committing fraud. Interestingly, the party may also be guilty of fraud if he is ill or injured; for instance, he may be guilty if he is injured, but his injury is not severe enough to render him disabled or prevent him from working.
In most jurisdictions, a person faces serious penalties if he is found guilty of committing this type of fraud. In some cases, he may be barred from receiving benefits for a time and have to repay the money or benefits he received because of the fraud. Sometimes a person will also face significant fines in such a case. In some jurisdictions, a person may even face time in jail if he is convicted of this type of fraud.