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 mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello everyone,

    I really need some help please...

    I'll try and keep this short and sweet, i moved into my current address in 2008 with my partner at the time, we had a baby in 2008, but unfortunately the relationship broke down, and we split up, and he moved out of my house in june 2009...... we had a few one night stands a few months later which resulted in me fallin pregnant and having another baby this year....

    Anyway, i started claiming Income Support & Housing Benefit & Council tax benefit on 29/06/09 as i was unable to work with a little one.. i thought all was ok, then in April this year, i received a letter that stated i was a suspect for benefit fraud, and the i was attend an interview under caution...

    I went to this, and the DWP and local council interviewed me, and they stated that they believed my ex was still living with me as all of his correspondance was still in my address, but i explained to them that this was hes lazy fault, and had just not changed anything over to his new address, and it was through no fault of my own.... i think it was just as easy to pick his letters up from me when he came to visit the children everyday! I did not hear anything from the council or DWP until last week, i received a letter from the DWP to say that i wasnt entitled to income support and as a result, i have been overpaidicon by aropund 4000... I want to write a letter to them to ask for a reconsideration on their decision, but im not quite sure what evidence to include... any advise would be highly appreciated...

    I have still not heard from the council about their investigations.... do u think i will hear something soon??

    Thanks for your help in advance


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Include any evidence which would contradict their decision by demonstrating that you were not living as a couple for the period in question.

    • Statements from neighbours if they know you well, and the ex himself if he was not investigated and is prepared to write a statement
    • If any professionals were involved who knew you were not a couple - Dr's, Solicitors, public office employee of management level, teachers etc, they could also write statements in support of your case
    • Evidence of child support payments to show he was maintaining the children as a non resident parent
    • His council tax bill for the address he was living at, if he's prepared to provide it
    • His tenancy agreement for the address he was living at, if he's prepared to provide it
    • Utility bills addressed to him at the adress he lived at if he is prepared to provide them


    My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

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  3. #3
    Basic Account Holder banksarggg Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Ask them for what "Proof" do they have that he was indeed living with you , i also suggest you try to get a letter confirming your ex,s new address
    my husband wasnt living with me but his corespondance (that included the DWP) came to my address for the last 2 years ,
    its unfair of them to do this to you
    i also suggest telling them that you DID write to them to tell them he had moved out (as they tend to use this as there main excuse) that they "didnt recieve a letter saying he had moved out" that way them they are right to presume he was living there
    hope this helps hun


  4. #4
    Basic Account Holder banksarggg Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    P.S try to do this as soon as you can before the HB sting you with a overpaymenticon


  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Stick with the advice Erika has given you. She knows her stuff.

    You already know what evidence they have used to make this decision. You will have been shown/told it at your IUC.

    Now the DWP decision has been made, Housing Benefit will do likewise & I'm afraid you are therefore likely to receive another overpaymenticon shortly.

    As you have said this already totals around 4000 you are also over the 2000 limit at which the department will look at prosecuting you.


  6. #6
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello,

    Thank you all for your replies......

    I have written a letter to them, saying that my ex doesnt and hasnt lived with me since last year...

    Unfortunately, he is living between his mums and nans house, so obviously doesnt have any utility bills etc in his name, but he has written a statement saying he does not live with me and his nan has also written a letter stating he does stay with her a few nights per week... do you think this will help??

    Jabba?? prosecution?? Does this mean i could go to prison?? i hope not, i dont know what i would do without my kids... and i dont want to go to prison for something im innocent for!!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Whether or not statements from your ex, his nan and his mother will change their decision is only something that they can answer once they have reviewed all the evidence again on initial review before appeal. But if you don't send anything in support of your application they are unlikely to revise the decision in your favour because there would be no change in the evidence which they used to make the initial decision, and it would have to go to tribunal to be decided upon. Send in the statements if they support your case, and they will have to be taken into consideration along with the evidence they currently have. Whether it changes their outcome decision, no-one can really say because we do not know what evidence they have, and until you receive an appeal bundle, there may be additional evidence that they have gathered which you are unaware of. The golden rule is to send any supporting documents that you can get.

    Have they stopped your benefit payments entirely now? If so, how are you managing to support yourself and your children? How will you pay the rent/council tax if this also stops?

    Prosecution does not always mean prison, no.

    When an overpaymenticon as the result of fraud is calculated to be in excess of 2000, the department has to refer the case to their prosecution division, and it is they who will make the decision of whether to prosecute. In order to prosecute, they have to be satisfied that certain criteria is fufilled. In a nutshell, that they feel the proof is enough to present in front of a criminal court in that it their opinion is that the evidence leaves no reasonable doubt that the crime has been committed by the offender and that prosecution is in the public interesticon. Prosecutions for benefit fraud are almost always in the public interest, not least because the money which has allegedly been obtained fraudulently is public funds. However in order to proceed with the prosecution, they have to satisfy themselves that it can be proven to the criminal standard of beyond all reasonable doubt. If they do not think that they can prove their case sufficiently then they will not proceed with prosecution. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution. If they do not discharge the burden of proof sufficiently, then a court cannot find you guilty.

    If however they do discharge the burden of proof and the court were to find you guilty, the sentencing options are variable depending on a range of factors. Prison is almost always a last resort. If they decide to prosecute, you will be informed as you will be summonsed to attend court.

    My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

    Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.
    (exceptions for prior authorisation)


    If my advice has been helpful, please show your gratitude by taking a moment to click on the star icon on the bottom strip of my post






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  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative jabba jones Informative

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Basically everything Erika has said.

    What you have to remember is that a benefit decision is based on probabilty, whilst a court decision is beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore it is much easier for the investigators to get the benefit decision than it is to get a guilty verdict in court.

    The departments legal department don't normally take a case as far as court unless they are confident of winning it.

    You've said the only evidence they had, was him fathering a child & post still coming to your address. If they had nothing else then I wouldn't expect the solicitors to be that keen on it, but I can't say for definate what will happen.


  9. #9
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hi,

    Thanks for your replies...

    Yes, they have completely stopped my income support money now. I have made a new claim and i am waiting for their decision to come through my door sooner rather than later hopefully! I am running out of money fast, so i hope they pay me soon!

    My housing / council tax benefit is due on monday, so im hoping they pay that! i still havent heard a peep from them! If they decide to stop that too, i am completely buggered! god knows what i will do...

    if i cant pay my rent, i will more than likely loose my house!!


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Goodness you are having a tough time. Were you not able to provide any proof of you ex living elsewhere?

    Have you considered applying for a crisis loan on basis of new claim being processed and you are skint? xx

    Does you ex pay any child maintenance to you direct or via csa, if not he should do especially at mo to keep your head above water if hes working?

    Hopefully those in the know will post later, but do ring and ask for crisis loan xxx


  11. #11
    Basic Account Holder redrum3wins Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    I can't believe that any court in the land could uphold the DWP's case that your ex is still living with you just on the basis that he has mail still going to your address. To me, this would indicate that they either 1) Not disclosing to you any other evidence that they may have, and therefore should go in your favour in any Court appearance. Neither do I think that any Judge would be too happy with them if they presented different evidence that they could have given you the opportunity of rebuttal or admission to. Or 2) They have no other other evidence.


  12. #12
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello,

    Thanks again for your replies and advice..

    Well, the latest on my case is, my IS has been reinstated, but now my housing benefit has stopped... which means i am currently 5 days behind on my rent! i have made a new claim, but still waiting to hear from them!

    I have appealed the DWP's decision regarding the overpaymenticon, so just got to wait to hear from them, but my ex got a letter last week saying that they want to interview him about me, so hes going to go for me, and hopefully this will help with my appeal...

    I am panicking now, and am just waiting for my landlord to ring me about the rent, but theres physically nothing i can do til the council pay my HB (if & when)..... Does anybody know if i can apply for a crisis loan to pay my rent??

    thanks
    mumof2gorgeousboys


  13. #13
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello,

    Its been 3 weeks now, and have still not heard back from the council about my new claim for HB & CTB!! i rung them this morning and they've told me to ring back in a couple of days!! Im praying that they give me the benefit, because by next week i will owe 2 months rent, which my landlord is NOT happy about as you can imagine!!

    Surely they have got to give it to me though as my IS is still in payment?

    My ex has gone for his interview today at the jobcentre with the DWP and council.. Has anybody else's ex's been called in for an interview after appealing a decision?? what was the outcome?

    Thanks
    x


  14. #14
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello,

    Well here is an update from me... i would appreciate any advice than an be put my way....

    My ex went for his interview and was just asked questions about his personal circumstances and about his relationship with me and his kids etc... anyway,they decided against my appeal, and it has now been handed over the the tribunal services, and im currently waiting for a date for that, but this morning, i have received a letter from the council saying that i have got to pay back the housing benefit overpaymenticon in full (over 10,000) within the next 14 days, otherwise they will begin with county courticon proceedings.....even though i have an appeal goin!

    I have made an appointment with a local advice service and im hopin they will be able to help me.... but i really have no idea whats happens in respect of a county court proceeding,,,, can anybody help me with this? The lady i spoke to at the council said that the results of a county court could include bailiffs or bankrupcy... i really dont want bailiffs comin to my house and takin my stuff, considering i havent done anything wrong... and im not quite sure bankrupcy entails...

    please help...im sooo stressed and worried


  15. #15
    Site Team honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13 Authoritative honeybee13's Avatar

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Hello again. I just wanted to say that this sounds really over the top to me. I can't advise you because I haven't had dealings with this, hope someone will be along soon for you and that we can help.

    My best, HB

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  16. #16
    Basic Account Holder mumof2gorgeousboys Novitiate

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    Default Re: Please help!! Accused of benefit fraud!!

    Thanks Honeybee xx



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