Fraud and Error in the Benefit System

Latest data from DWP for Great Britain in 2015-16

This interactive visualisation provides estimates of fraud and error in social security benefits funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Data for the visualisation is drawn from our published Data Tables.

The data provided includes the final 2015/16 financial year estimates, covering the period from April 2015 to March 2016. These statistics have been developed in accordance with the National Statistics Code of Practice and supporting Principles.

The "Overpayments" tab contains estimates of benefit overpayments (when a claimant is paid more in benefit than they are entitled to). The "Underpayments" tab contains estimates of benefit underpayments (when a claimant is not paid enough).

The charts and summaries on the "Overpayment" and "Underpayment" tabs are responsive to the selections you make, so offer a new way to explore DWP's fraud and error data. The full report and supplementary documents are still available as in previous years.
How we estimate fraud and error
We measure fraud and error all the time for some benefits, randomly sampling people and checking that the information we hold is up-to-date. For benefits we don't measure all the time we use either old estimates or a proxy (based on a similar benefit or an average rate). This allows us to estimate the total rate of overpayments or underpayments for all benefits funded by DWP.

You can find more information about which benefits we measure and how we measure them in the Background and Methodology document, which can be found here.
Rounding our estimates
The data for this visualisation is drawn from our published Data Tables. In the tables, monetary values of totals and error types (fraud, claimant error and official error) are rounded to the nearest £10m; monetary values of error reasons are rounded to the nearest £1m.

Universal Credit is the exception to this rule; because the monetary values are small, we have rounded all values to the nearest £1m.

In the visualisation further rounding of these figures is sometimes applied to give a high level view of our statistics. Rounded values for individual error types or reasons may therefore not always add up to the rounded total provided. To see all of our estimates in the most precise format available, please refer to the published Data Tables.
Uncertainty and confidence intervals
In this visualisation we only provide point estimates of fraud and error. However, all sample-based estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty because we do not check every single benefit claim. In the full report "Fraud and Error in the Benefit System" and its associated tables, we additionally provide confidence intervals for all our estimates to give an indication of the level of uncertainty.

Click for the full report and supplementary documents.