Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder jast11 Novitiate

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    Default Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    My husband suffers from Parkinson's disease, diagnosed 13 years ago. We have 1 child at home. My husband claims incapacity benefit and gets dla(middle rate) and mobility allowance(highest rate).
    I am 49 and have not worked since I was a teenager, have 5 children. We had a really bad time 2 years ago, my 16 year-old daughter walked out of home to stay with her boyfriend. My husbands illness and depression got worse, home-life was hell, and I got very depressed too, years of being a full-time carer and my daughter's situation really wore me down. My daughter had no means of support, boyfriend no job, we gave her what we could to help her out. Then she had a baby, we helped there also. In desperation for a break from the stress at home and for some money to help my daughter and the baby I took a job filling in for girl who was going on maternityicon leave. Didn't think that it would last more than a couple of months if even that, or if I could even do it, my self confidence was nil. Never signed a contract and never knew how long they'd keep me. Pay not good. Very stupidly did not inform dwp. As things turned out they kept me on to cover for other staff taking leave. Girl I originally covered for had another maternity leave, and is due back next month.
    In this period my husband has been getting £44 weekly Income support in addition to his Incapacity benefit. I have also been getting Carer's allowance - I hadn't checked this properly and thought that my husband was entitled to this for someone to help him out, now realise that the number of hours I work rules me out of claiming this. My daughter has been coming over if I'm working and we've been paying her fares, I take time off when he's too ill to leave with anyone else. In addition, I've been getting housing and CT benefit. I have been told that I could have been claiming Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits which would have covered this amount.
    My boss has had a letter from DLA fraud investigation asking about me. I don't know what to do. I might not even have a job when the girl comes back.
    Should I give up the job and wait for dwp to get in touch with me - my husband thinks it would go better for me if I was back as his full-time carer, that they might be less likely to prosecute?
    Is it too late to stay in the job, come clean and change claims? Do I tell them how long I have been working and offer to repay overpaymenticon? How long would they give me to repay? Would they still prosecute?
    I am absolutely terrified of being hauled up in court. I am so ashamed and so worried about this, nerves are in shreds. If I get prosecuted I'd lose job anyway and would probably never get another at my age anyway even without a fraud conviction to boot. What would be the best thing to do to limit the damage?
    Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me advice.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    tell the truth and dont cloud the issue with things you mention above.
    your daughters situation and help is not relevent. neither is the low pay etc etc.

    dx

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  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder ST24Mondeo Novitiate

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    Thumbs up Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Dx i dont really think your blunt anwser is helping the op.They have come on here for help and advice.They have already said they feel ashamed and low pay etc etc is relevent.

    They most likely would have had a entitlement to other benefits working tax credits for example.So that will have to be taken into account when working out the overpaymenticon of benefit.

    Hi first of all you will be ask to attend for a interview under caution.There is a few factors that will be taken in to account if you commit benefit fraud.What period of time the offence was commited over.Where you aware that you were doing something wrong?How much is the overpaymenticon of benefit you have received.

    Visit this website it gives lots of usefull information on benefit fraud.
    advicenow.org.uk

    After the interview under caution

    If your interviewer thinks you may have committed fraud, they may then recommend to their legal department that they prosecute you. The legal section may not take the fraud section’s advice: before taking the case to court they need to be sure they have enough evidence to convince a court that you broke the law so that it is worth the time and money to take the case. It will rarely be enough to go to court and only produce what you said in an interview and hope that you will be found guilty.
    What might they do after the interview?

    After the interview (or if you don’t go to it) they could decide to:

    Do nothing more: this may be because they decide no fraud was committed, or it may be that they think the case would be too difficult or costly to prove.
    Or, If they have enough evidence to take you to court they could do one of the following:

    Prosecute you: this involves taking you to a magistrates' or a crown court. If you are found guilty they could fine you up to £5,000, or, in extreme cases they could send you to prison, (although this is very rare). If they think the case is serious enough they may decide to prosecute without giving you any other options to avoid it.

    Or, agree not to prosecute you if you agree to accept either:
    • A penalty: You would have to pay a penalty of 30% of the amount of the overpayment (on top of paying back the overpayment).You could be offered a penalty for each benefit you were overpaid.
    Before you accept: take advice, as a penalty could be pretty expensive – and might add up to more than what a court might fine you if they found you guilty.
    If you accept a penalty, you can change your mind within 28 days.
    • A Formal Caution: You sign to say you agree you’ve committed fraud and they promise not to prosecute you for it. However, someone else can still prosecute you for a related offence (for example another benefit fraud), and it could be raised again if there is another case later.
    Once you’ve signed to accept a formal caution you can't change your mind.
    A formal caution isn’t given by the police and is not the same as having a criminal record. It is only recorded on the fraud section’s records and no-one else will be told about it unless you are prosecuted later for another fraud. A formal caution or a penalty should not show up on a Criminal Records Bureau check.

    Always try to get advice before accepting or refusing a penalty or formal caution:
    They should only offer these options if they believe they have enough evidence to prosecute, and not just to try and get you to ‘admit’ guilt. If you are considering accepting a penalty or formal caution, it can be useful to see a copy of your file (see the guide Step-by-step: preparing for an interview under caution in the menu on the right hand side) to see if they really do have a strong enough case that they could take to court. Refusing a penalty or caution doesn’t automatically mean they will prosecute and shouldn’t influence their decision about whether to do so. Nor does it mean that they have found you guilty: only a court can do that.
    Remember that you might have to pay back any benefit that you have been overpaid, regardless of what happens to the fraud issue.

    If they decide to drop the case, or if you refuse a penalty or formal caution, they should let you know as soon as possible what is going to happen. However, it could be a few months before you hear anything.
    Still not heard?

    It can be very unsettling not knowing whether the issue has been dropped or if the DWP/council is going to take action against you. If you want to know what’s going on you can just ask them. But if you’re worried about doing this, weigh up the pros and cons. What would you find most stressful: not knowing and fearing the worst or getting in touch and perhaps having to deal with negative consequences?
    If you do decide that you want to know, an advice centre may be able to help you find out.
    What about your benefits?

    Your benefits should be paid as soon as the DWP/council decides what you are entitled to. You shouldn’t have to wait until the fraud issue is sorted out. See What about my benefits? in the menu on the right hand side for more information.
    Even if the fraud section or a court decides you committed fraud, you should still get any benefit you claim and are entitled to. It is only if you are found guilty (by the court) of fraud more than once in three years that your benefits can be ‘sanctioned’, which means they may be reduced for up to 13 weeks.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    urm..we appear to have exp/work in the same field.

    pers i would recommend not clouding the issue with the other [perhaps] relevent issues at this stage.
    the investigating officer will not specifically be interested in excuses [however cruel that may sound].
    they are insterested in the honest facts.
    doing that will go more toward a brighter outcome, then i would think the other issues will be looked at , and, i'd even say suggested by the investigating officer.
    contrary to pop belief, most are not out 'just' to nail people , they are there to help too.

    take it one step at a time, but be truthful.

    thats my best advice.

    dx

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  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder Shoelover Informative Shoelover Informative

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Just to add to whats above...
    If you are offered an Ad Pen and refuse it, and you are prosecuted, your refusal of an Ad Pen is mentioned to the Magistrates.
    Take legal advice.
    However, i would say that it would be wise to tell the interviewer about your situation, as "socail factors" often come into consideration when considering what if any further action to take. The interviewing officer is to estbalsih the truth, and not to play judge and jury.
    Contrary to popular belief they are not all out to trick you and make you life difficult.


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder jast11 Novitiate

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Thank you all so much for taking the time to offer advice, especially ST24Mondeo. I will check this out thoroughly.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    I know someone who was caught working whilst claiming carers allowance for his wife around 5 years ago - not sure what happened but dont think he was prosecuted. He had to repay all the money plus some sort of fine or compensation, but it was eventually taken out of his benefits at about £5 per week.

    I think they did stop his carers for a while - but didn't touch his wife's DLA because this was completely seperate claim.

    Just so you know that whilst it is very scary and stressful, it will get resolved and you won't have to pay it all back at once.


  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder flowerfields Novitiate

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Hi i have already had an interview under caution and they are taking me to court.I appealed againts this as not true what they were saying.i have a lawyer on the case and is very worrying.The benefit agency have a group of fraud officers who investigate.You have been watched and it is possible you have been videoed leaving the house and followed to work place.Someone has made an allegation to them so its prob someone you know.The same thing happened to me they followed my ex husband to work and sent them letters asking when started and asked for photocopy of wage slip etc.You would be better claiming working tax credit and do it now and tell them when you started that you were unawear that it would effect your benefit and you will accept to pay the over payment back,act quickly before you get a letter saying they are coming to see you.Sorry this sounds the way it does its i have been there and still going through it the now and i would not wish it on anyone.They thought my ex was living with me .If i can help more please ask you will have to phone housing benefit aswell as i am getting taken to court from dwp and housing benefit.Hope this helps and you get it sorted.


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder alicepalace Novitiate

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    I also have been for interview under caution, I was totally stressed out and what I had intended to say ie I have been working ect it all went haywire as they ask qus=estions.
    They had my work details and I admitted it all and said I did'nt realise I was'nt entitled as I am a full time carer- claimin only carers allowance. But it is 6half years.
    Phone and tell them you made a mistake and you want change claim


  10. #10
    Basic Account Holder ManOfHarlech Novitiate

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Quote Originally Posted by alicepalace View Post
    Phone and tell them you made a mistake and you want change claim
    Sometimes the simple answers are the best.


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder 90DC Novitiate

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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Try not to worry about it. In the interview, you will be in a room with someone from DWP and someone probably from your local council. Tell them everything you know, any evidence you have, co-operate with them. More than likely, you will end up just having to pay the money back. I don't believe you will get prosecuted or anything serious, just a caution (Which is not a Police caution) and have to pay the money back. As you are on benefits they will allow you time to pay either in full or installments. You will recieve confirmation of what the decision is a few weeks later, but remember, when you attend your interview, you are just seeing organ grinders. Help them out if they need it and they wont wind you up, they will see that you accept full responsibilty and it may have just been an accident.

    Try not to worry about it. Good luck.


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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    Lost me!

    IF I HAVE BEEN ANY HELP AT ALL OR JUST MADE YOU LAUGH AT MY STUPIDITY PLEASE MARK MY PERFORMANCE!

    ALSO REMEMBER TO DONATE. EVERY LITTLE HELPS AND THE FORUMS ARE FOR YOU!
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    Default Re: Advice please - being investigated by DWP for Benefit Fraud

    its a spammer it will be removed shortly

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