The Verification Framework was introduced by the Department of Works and Pensions to provide local authorities with a set of minimum evidence standards needed for the determination of Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims.
The aim of the Verification Framework is to reduce the amount of fraud and error entering the benefits system, and to help to detect any fraud and error that enters the system at a later date.
How does the Verification Framework work?
When you initially make a claim for Housing and Council Tax Benefit you will be required to provide a minimum level of evidence to prove your entitlement to benefit. A summary of the information most people will need to provide to support their claim is provided at the bottom of this section.
When the Council receives the information and evidence it needs to make a fully informed decision about your circumstances, we will perform a series of a cross checks to ensure that no information has been deliberately withheld or misrepresented.
If you fail to provide the required level of information needed to make a fully informed decision about your entitlement, the authority will assume that you do not meet the conditions of entitlement, and no benefit will be awarded.
Once you have been awarded benefit the Council, as part of the Verification Framework Visiting Programme, will visit you in your home to check the details of your claim. Additionally we may contact you by telephone or by post, and seek to confirm some or all of your current circumstances.
If we contact you to check the details of your claim we will ask to see current evidence of your circumstances.
When we contact you to check the details of your claim we will expect you to either make yourself available as prearranged, or to respond to our letter within the time limit stated. If we are unable to make contact with you, or you do not respond to our letters, the Council will suspend your claim, and may ultimately terminate it.
What are my responsibilities?
- You must answer all the relevant questions about your family’s circumstances on the claim form.
- You must provide all the evidence asked for on the claim form.
- You must provide original evidence of your circumstances – we will not accept photocopies or documents that have been tampered with.
- You must provide any additional information we require within the time limits set.
- You must promptly report any changes in your household’s circumstances and provide evidence to substantiate it.
- You must co-operate with the Council’s Visiting Officers should you be visited in your home, and respond appropriately to any telephone or postal check.
What are the Council’s responsibilities?
- We will ensure that the person claiming benefit provides a sufficient level of information for the Council to make a fully informed decision about their entitlement to benefit.
- We will conduct a series of cross checks upon the evidence provided to ensure that no information has been deliberately withheld or misrepresented.
- We will copy and return your documents in a confidential and secure way.
- We will provide help and advice to all claimants to ensure that they are receiving their full entitlement to benefit.
- We will routinely conduct a series of postal and telephone checks, and undertake home visits to verify that the circumstances upon which we have awarded benefit remain accurate.
We will continually strive to protect public funds and to minimise fraud and error.