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26th Feb 2024

Government confirms dates it will start monitoring bank accounts

Nina McLaughlin

There are three dates to be aware of

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced when it will begin to monitor bank accounts for benefit fraud.

New rules mean that banks and building societies will be required to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity that indicate benefit claimants may not be entitled to the money they are receiving.

Some of the factors the DWP are looking out for include claimants having too much money, or spending too much time overseas.

BirminghamLive reports that £8.3 billion was lost due to benefit error or fraud in 2022/23, but the new system is designed to fight this.

Currently, the DWP can only request to see claimants’ bank accounts if they already believe fraud has occurred.

The new rules mean that banks can alert the DWP if claimants have more than £16,000 in their account while claiming Universal Credit or other benefits.

It means the country’s top 15 banks, who deal with the vast majority of DWP payments, are going to implement systems that automatically track claimants’ accounts to see if there has been any change of circumstance, such as large cash deposits.

The DWP has confirmed that they will begin testing the system from 2025, with a wider roll-out from 2027, and the aim of full implementation by 2031.

“The policy has been designed in collaboration with operational colleagues, whereby a period of ‘test and learn’ will begin in 2025 with a limited number of banks and building societies,” the DWP said.

“The purpose of this approach is to get the data sharing agreement between DWP and third-party data holders right, before implementing the policy on a larger scale. After the focused test and learn, the policy will begin gradual roll-out (from 2027/28), with it reaching full scale by 2030/31.”