Council tax payers in Boston are being given a final warning to make sure they are not committing fraud by claiming support they are not entitled to.
The message comes as the borough council begins a major review of the service with a private company – CapacityGRID - in a bid to remove fraud and error.
The council admits claiming assistance is not always straightforward and that mistakes can be made and unfortunately less-scrupulous people may try to claim support to which they are not entitled. The authority says working together with CapacityGRID it ensure that assistance is going to those who most need it.
Coun Aaron Spencer, cabinet member responsible for finance, said: “We believe most council tax support is claimed honestly and legitimately, but we know there are times where a household’s circumstances change and people forget to tell us that their eligibility to support should reduce or even end. However, it is a statutory requirement for council taxpayers to tell us within 21 days if they think they should no longer qualify for support, or changes in their circumstances may lead to changes in their entitlement.
“If you receive support or a discount you think you should no longer receive, this is your final chance to tell us, before we contact you. We are obliged to amend any records we find to be incorrect, back to the date of the change. This means that householders do not benefit from withholding information from us, and it makes the system fairer for everyone.
“Where information is not provided or is inaccurate the council may apply a £70 penalty.
“While we are checking for any incorrect support granted, we are still keen to make sure that everyone gets the help they are entitled to. You should also contact us if you think you qualify for any support, discounts or exemptions.”
The borough council is not funding the use of the private company. The services are being paid for through Lincolnshire County Council’s fraud partnership which was successful in receiving grant funding from the Department for Work and Pensions.
For more information about the available support, householders can check the website www.boston.gov.uk ring the revenues and benefits service on 01205 314202, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call in to the office at Municipal Buildings in West Street. If you receive a review form you should complete and return to CTRRS, PO Box 1124, 1 Market Street, Nelson, BB9 4GA so that your claim can be reviewed and updated. If you have any questions you should contact the CapacityGRID review team on 01229 848025.