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gabby71

will I get prosecuted for Benefit Fraud?

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Hi

 

I have just moved back to Wales after living abroad for 4 years.

I recently received a letter from the debt recovery department associated with benefits.

They say I owe £1700 from 2005 (before I left the UK).

I called them and they advised that £700 is from a social fund loan that I had in 2004 (which i'm sure would have been cleared by the time I left in August 2005), and the rest is for overpayment of income support after I left the UK (I did carry on my claim for about 6 weeks after I left the country).

They said to send a dispute letter if i did not agree with the amount, but to be honest i guess it is probably best to admit to it and let them take an amount from my benefit each week.

What I want to know is:

Am I likely to get prosecuted for this if I agree to pay it back?

If I get a job soon how quickly will they expect me to pay it back?

 

thanks

 

Gabby

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Am I likely to get prosecuted for this if I agree to pay it back?
Highly unlikely. If they suspected you of fraud, chances are you would know about it by now. If you refuse, they may well start "digging" and discover that you failed to report your change in circumstances and go down the fraud route.

 

If I get a job soon how quickly will they expect me to pay it back?
There is no way to tell, you would have to liaise with debt management regarding that. If you are in reciept of benefits, there is no "agreeing to pay it back" required. They can simply deduct money from your benefit until the full amount is recovered. Though debt management may not know you are recieving benefit at the moment (if you are at all) at some point it will become clear to them that you are as time passes and deductions will kick in.

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