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Brits warned about dates when your bank account may be monitored

Brits warned about dates when your bank account may be monitored

New bank checks are starting soon

Brits have been warned than some people will soon start having their bank accounts monitored.

New bank checks are about to be put in place so it's worth keeping note of when it will begin.

The full timetable can be found below.

Who will have their bank accounts monitored?

The Department for Work and Pensions, known as the DWP has confirmed when brand new bank checks on benefit claimants will begin under its new powers.

It will require building societies and banks to check on people's accounts for any activity that breaks their rules, with the aim to stop people from defrauding the DWP.

The information will be passed to the DWP, as they want to prevent people from claiming benefits they aren't entitled to, either because they have too much money, are working, or are spending time abroad - when they say they aren't.

This could include people claiming Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, child benefit, and - most controversially - the state pension, the Telegraph reports.

According to government figures, a total of £8.3 billion was lost to fraudulent claims and error in the welfare system in the tax year 2022/23, according to BirminghamLive.

The bill is currently been considered by the House of Lords, but is facing some stiff opposition.

The Telegraph reports that Information Commissioner John Edwards wrote to ministers earlier this month, stating: "While I agree that the measure is a legitimate aim for government, given the level of fraud and overpayment cited, I have not yet seen sufficient evidence that the measure is proportionate."

The new measures have been put in place to cut down on people defrauding the DWP.
Getty Stock Photo

How will it work?

Currently, the DWP can only ask to check a bank holder's account if it suspects that fraud has been committed.

It also means that claimants need to outright report if they have any changes in circumstances, such as a new job or a large cash deposit, making them ineligible for benefits.

But soon, the new powers could mean that banks and building societies are legally required to share information with the DWP on accounts where benefits are paid in.

The UK's top 15 banks, which handle 97 percent of DWP benefit payments, will soon have to set up automated systems that can keep tabs on claimants' accounts to detect any possible fraudulent behaviour.

This legislation will allow other financial institutions to be brought in, stopping fraudsters from moving their money elsewhere to avoid being caught.

The government has insisted the DWP and third parties will not have direct access to bank accounts or personal information.

Banks will set up systems that 'keep tabs on claimants' accounts'.
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When could your bank account be monitored?

The Government has carried out an impact assessment on the new measures that details the new schedule: "The policy has been designed in collaboration with operational colleagues, whereby a period of 'test and learn' will begin in 2025 with a limited number of banks and building societies.

"The purpose of this approach is to get the data sharing agreement between DWP and third-party data holders right, before implementing the policy on a larger scale.

"After the focused test and learn, the policy will begin gradual roll-out (from 2027/28), with it reaching full scale by 2030/31."

You can see the full timetable below:

  • 2025 - testing of new bank account checks begins
  • 2027/28 - gradual rollout of full powers
  • 2030/31 - new powers operating at full scale with all 15 banks

A DWP spokesperson said: “The Government has a duty to protect taxpayer’s money – which is why we are cracking down on fraud with new powers to save £600 million over the next five years and root out those who steal from the most vulnerable.

“This measure will not give us access to bank accounts, or the ability to see how claimants are spending their money.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Photo / Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Topics: Cost of Living, Money, UK News