Search Legislation

Social Security Fraud Act 2001

The measures in the Act

9.There are four main elements in the Act:

Obtaining and Sharing Information
  • Introduction of additional powers to obtain information from specified private and public sector organisations to tackle benefit fraud and error;

  • A measure which provides the authority for DSS to supply information to countries outside of the UK in line with agreed arrangements, where those countries have adequate safeguards against improper use of that information;

  • Changing the requirement on authorities administering Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit to supply information to DSS, the Northern Ireland Department or other authorities from one based in regulations to one based on directions.

Loss of Benefit Provisions
  • Introduction of powers to reduce or withdraw specified benefits where an offender is convicted twice of benefit offences within a period of three years.

Penalties as an Alternative to Prosecution
  • Introduction of a new discretionary power which will allow DSS and authorities administering Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit to offer a financial administrative penalty to an employer as an alternative to prosecution;

  • Introduction of powers to facilitate closer working between DSS and authorities administering Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit in the operation of the administrative penalty system.

  • Clarification of the offence of failing to notify a change of circumstances;

  • Alignment of the limit for taking proceedings in Scotland with that applying in England and Wales.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources