Expat Benefit Cheats Beware…
While the majority of UK expats enjoying life overseas are doing so honestly, others are claiming benefits they simply aren’t entitled to.
Every year expats falsely claiming benefits cost the UK government, and the UK taxpayer, millions.
It was estimated that back in 2011 £79 million Pounds was paid into the British bank accounts of UK expats, despite their no longer being eligible for (or legally entitled to) the funds.
Any UK citizen should inform the government if they’re moving overseas, but some don’t and consequently continue being paid benefits such as income support and pension credit top-ups.
Spain is a particularly renowned hotspot for expats illegally claiming UK support.
But their fun in the sun is about to come to an abrupt end.
Several years ago a spokesman for Spanish paper Euro Weekly News stated that benefit fraudsters are ‘leeches on both societies and it’s not for the Spanish government to stop them. It’s for the UK government to stop them’.
And stop them they will.
In an unprecedented move, the government is taking a stand against benefit cheats with UK police being given the power to travel abroad in order to question and arrest suspects.
According to a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions: ‘Benefit cheats think once they are lying on the beach they are beyond our reach. But fraudulently claiming benefits while living abroad is a crime and we will investigate from Manchester to Marbella.’
Perpetrators will now be at risk of being extradited back to the UK and put on trial for fraud, with the worst offenders potentially being handed a jail sentence.
So if you’re living overseas or intending to more abroad make sure to inform the government of your changed situation, and if you’re getting paid benefits you aren’t sure you should be receiving report it to the relevant authorities.
By not getting the situation sorted out you could end up seeing sun, sea and sand swapped for a prison cell.