Hi there, I hope you can help me.
I am a single mum and have been since my son was 3 months old (he is now 2 years old). I claim Income Support (which is only £46 a week now as they are stopping money from it for debts), Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit as well as Housing Allowance and Council Tax benefits.
On saturday I had a letter through saying I am being investigated for alleged benefit fraud and have to attend an interview under caution on June 3rd. It doesn't say what I have been accused of exactly and I am miffed. I do not know.
I have thought of 3 possible reasons but I didn't think they would be benefit fraud and still don't so I don't know... They are as follows.
My son's father is not allowed near us, there is a court order preventing him accessing his child (for bloody good reason!) but he does pay money into to my bank by direct transfer every week or two. He is well off and it is usually around 100 a week (when he sends it, sometimes he sends nothing for 6 weeks) but I read somewhere that maintenance money from a parent does not affect a claim for IS. I probably should have told them but I was worried they would think I was letting the dad see my child and call social services (they're the ones who obtained the court order and it took a lot to convince them I have nothing to do with the ex. Which I don't). Could the money he sends mean I have been committing fraud and not even known it???
2) I had a girlfriend for around 10 weeks last year. She had trouble with her home situation and I let her stay with me for just over a week while she got herself sorted. She was only staying over, we weren't living together.. It was only a week.. Could it be that?
3) My mum is a cleaner at a nursery. She works one hour an evening there. On fridays for the last 3 weeks I have done her one hour shift (for free) while she baby sits my son as she then has him over night and it gives me a break. I didn't get paid for it I just did it so she could babysit and I got a restful sleep. It amounts to 3 hours in total and even the lady who works with my mum will say I didn't get paid and just helped her hoover and get the place tidy. Could it be that? I only did it for the first time 3 weeks ago.
As far as I know I haven't broken the law. I possibly should have told them about the money from my ex but it says online that it doesn't affect a claim for IS so I didn't think it would matter...
Any advice?? I don't think I have time to find a solicitor as I have no childcare and it's not going to be easy sitting in a solicitors office explaining while stopping my toddler wrecking the place..