Tip-offs about benefit cheats in Mid Ulster on the rise

The Jobs and Benefits offices at Asylum Road. DER3014MC103
The Jobs and Benefits offices at Asylum Road. DER3014MC103

Tip-offs about alleged benefit cheats in Mid-Ulster are on the increase.

Welfare fraud investigators are getting information from friends and neighbours of people claiming benefits to which they are not entitled.

There were over 1,500 tips-offs regarding local claimants suspected of ripping off the welfare state were received in the last four years.

In Cookstown officials received 488 complaints about claimants, while the figure for Magherafelt was 456. Over in Dungannon there were 578 tip-offs.

The figures emerged as Stormont dispute over introducing government welfare reforms threatens to disrupt government spending.

The executive parties have been attempting to strike to deal to sign-off the latest quarterly budget, known as June monitoring.

It has been delayed due to the disagreement over how to deal with £87m in treasury penalties for failing to introduce welfare system.

Almost 30,000 tip offs have been made across Northern Ireland since 2010, with Belfast leading the way with 3,603.

People working while in receipt of benefits was the most frequent type of welfare fraud tip-off received by investigators.

This is when an individual is claiming benefits and is working but has not declared the employment, meaning they may not be entitled to benefits.

Other complaints included false declarations concerning disabilities and child dependency.