Enforcement agencies investigating benefit fraud will now have more flexibility in deciding whether or not to prosecute those accused of benefit fraud.
The DWP has announced plans to more than double the maximum administrative penalty that can be offered as an alternative to prosecution for benefit fraud.
The maximum administrative penalty is currently set at £2000. The Government has asked MPs to approve a change in the law which will mean that penalties of up to £5000 can be imposed.
Claimants accused of overpayments, will now face administrative penalties set at 50% of the benefit they have been overpaid.
The DWP press release also emphasises that prosecutions will not take place in cases of genuine mistake or error but only where fraud can be made out.
The £5000 penalty will be in addition to the four-week loss of benefits and orders for any money falsely claimed to be recovered.