Gambling could affect your benefits payments, warns the DWP

You could see payments cut or even suspended.

A man playing with his phone

Gambling winnings could jeopardize your benefit payments as they are counted towards capital, which could result in a reduction or cessation of your benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) clarifies that while gambling winnings are not considered profits, they do contribute to your capital.

If you are lucky enough to win and your total savings exceed £6,000, you could find your Universal credit As reported by BirminghamLive, winnings from gambling activity do not meet the definition of income in Regulation 52 of Universal Credit and are not counted as unearned income. Profits made from gambling activity will only be considered part of Universal Credit as part of a person’s capital.

“It is the customer’s responsibility to inform DWP of a change in their circumstances that would affect their benefit and, for means-tested benefits, this includes receiving gambling winnings that increase the total capital held and impact their prize.”

Additionally, HMRC could keep a portion of your profits, as the interest earned is taxable. They deduct taxes and share data with the DWP to combat fraud.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has the authority to examine banking transactions, including those relating to online gambling websites. Matched betting, a practice where people use free bets from bookmakers to make a profit, could be considered capital by the DWP.

However, there have been cases where regular amounts have been classed as monthly income, which has subsequently reduced benefit payments. The DWP may also request account statements from other platforms such as PayPal, where money may be held.

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Your credit history will include your online gambling accounts, as each website usually runs a credit check when you open an account to confirm your personal details. This means that during claims reviews, the DWP will be aware of all your accounts.

A capital limit of £16,000 applies if you claim Universal Credit, income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support and Housing Benefit (if you are under State Pension age). If your capital cap exceeds this amount, your entitlement to benefits ceases and your payments are suspended.

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