New Fines For Benefit Form Mistakes
2 August 2013, 09:31
Heart's found out thousands more families in the Thames Valley will soon face fines for making mistakes with their benefit claims.
It's after Cherwell District Council started charging £50 for errors - now three more councils are also bringing in fines.
The Vale of White Horse District Council and South Oxfordshire District Council have told Heart they're planning to bring in the charges.
They haven't yet announced how much they will be but say they should be in place by the end of the summer.
West Oxfordshire District Council has also agreed to start fining people for mistakes. It's bringing in the changes this month.
Bracknell Forest Council is considering charging people if they don't notify the council when their circumstances changes - and this results in an overpayment in benefits.
The council says it's consulting on the changes at the moment and a final decision is expected by the end of the year.
Cherwell District Council, which deals with around 9,300 claims for housing and council tax benefit a year, says it has brought in the charge because it was making nearly £1million a year in overpayments due to mistakes.
Councillor Ken Atack, from the council, said: "We want to make sure that the correct amount of benefit goes to those who are entitled.
"To do that we're reinforcing the message that claimants are personally responsible for keeping their claim records correct and up to date.
"The new civil penalties do not apply to fraud cases, which the council's investigation team will continue to deal with separately."