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Welfare Reform Act 2012

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

119Benefit offences: sanctions for repeated benefit fraud

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(1)The Social Security Fraud Act 2001 is amended as follows.

(2)In section 6B (loss of benefit in case of conviction, penalty or caution for benefit offence), in subsection (3) for “later“ there is substituted “current”.

(3)Section 7 (loss of benefit for second or subsequent conviction of benefit offence) is amended as follows.

(4)In the heading, for “second or subsequent conviction of benefit offence” there is substituted “repeated benefit fraud“.

(5)For subsection (1)(a) to (e) there is substituted—

(a)a person (“the offender”) is convicted of one or more benefit offences in a set of proceedings (“the current set of proceedings”),

(b)within the period of five years ending on the date on which the benefit offence was, or any of them were, committed, one or more disqualifying events occurred in relation to the offender (the event, or the most recent of them, being referred to in this section as “the earlier disqualifying event”),

(c)the current set of proceedings has not been taken into account for the purposes of any previous application of this section or section 8 or 9 in relation to the offender or any person who was then a member of his family,

(d)the earlier disqualifying event has not been taken into account as an earlier disqualifying event for the purposes of any previous application of this section or either of those sections in relation to the offender or any person who was then a member of his family, and

(e)the offender is a person with respect to whom the conditions for an entitlement to a sanctionable benefit are or become satisfied at any time within the disqualification period,.

(6)In subsection (6), for the words from “in relation to” to the end, there is substituted “in an offender’s case, means the relevant period beginning with a prescribed date falling after the date of the conviction in the current set of proceedings”.

(7)After that subsection there is inserted—

(6A)For the purposes of subsection (6) the relevant period is—

(a)in a case where, within the period of five years ending on the date on which the earlier disqualifying event occurred, a previous disqualifying event occurred in relation to the offender, the period of three years;

(b)in any other case, 26 weeks.

(8)After subsection (7) there is inserted—

(7A)Subsection (7B) applies where, after the agreement of any person (“P”) to pay a penalty under the appropriate penalty provision is taken into account for the purposes of the application of this section in relation to that person—

(a)P’s agreement to pay the penalty is withdrawn under subsection (5) of the appropriate penalty provision,

(b)it is decided on an appeal or in accordance with regulations under the Social Security Act 1998 or the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/1506 (N.I. 10)) that any overpayment to which the agreement relates is not recoverable or due, or

(c)the amount of any overpayment to which the penalty relates is revised on an appeal or in accordance with regulations under the Social Security Act 1998 or the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 and there is no new agreement by P to pay a penalty under the appropriate penalty provision in relation to the revised overpayment.

(7B)In those circumstances, all such payments and other adjustments shall be made as would be necessary if no restriction had been imposed by or under this section that could not have been imposed if P had not agreed to pay the penalty.

(9)In subsection (8), the following definitions are inserted at the appropriate places—

  • “appropriate penalty provision” has the meaning given in section 6B(2)(a);”

  • “disqualifying event” has the meaning given in section 6B(13).

(10)After that subsection there is inserted—

(8A)Where a person is convicted of more than one benefit offence in the same set of proceedings, there is to be only one disqualifying event in respect of that set of proceedings for the purposes of this section and—

(a)subsection (1)(b) is satisfied if any of the convictions take place in the five year periods mentioned there;

(b)the event is taken into account for the purposes of subsection (1)(d) if any of the convictions have been taken into account as mentioned there;

(c)in the case of the earlier disqualifying event mentioned in subsection (6A)(a), the reference there to the date on which the earlier disqualifying event occurred is a reference to the date on which any of the convictions take place;

(d)in the case of the previous disqualifying event mentioned in subsection (6A)(a), that provision is satisfied if any of the convictions take place in the five year period mentioned there.

(11)After subsection (10) there is inserted—

(10A)The Secretary of State may by order amend subsection (6A) to substitute different periods for those for the time being specified there.

(10B)An order under subsection (10A) may provide for different periods to apply according to the type of earlier disqualifying event or events occurring in any case.

(12)In section 11 (loss of benefit regulations), in subsection (3), after paragraph (e) (as inserted by section 118 above) there is inserted—

(f)an order under section 7(10A),.

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