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Social Security Fraud Act 2001


89.The report by Lord Grabiner concluded that the Government should consider introducing new ways to tackle those who are involved in the hidden economy, including a ‘two strikes and you're out’ approach for people convicted twice of social security benefit fraud.

90.The report spelt out how Lord Grabiner saw a ‘two strikes’ sanction working. He indicated that a tough approach for persistent offenders would be to simply deny them benefit altogether as in parts of the United States and Canada. However, any measure of this kind must have safeguards to protect the innocent and the vulnerable. There are already arrangements in place to allow people to claim reduced-rate payments of benefit while they are subject to benefit sanctions provided they can show that they or their dependants would otherwise suffer hardship.

91.The report concluded that those who persistently defrauded the benefit system should lose their right to benefit in the same way as people who have failed to meet other responsibilities under the social security system. The existing sanctions regime provided a precedent, and many of the details of how such a scheme might work in practice are already established. Furthermore, if the sanction were restricted to a hard core of convicted cheats it could act as a deterrent even if it were infrequently used.

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