Jump to content


Housing Benefit fraud please help


Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 4103 days.

If you are trying to post a different story then you should start your own new thread. Posting on this thread is likely to mean that you won't get the help and advice that you need.

If you are trying to post information which is relevant to the story in this thread then please flag it up to the site team and they will allow you to post.

Thank you

Recommended Posts

Any help and advice you can give me would be gratefully received, I am so worried right now!

I am a single working mum on tax credits and housing benfits. My wage fluctuates a lot due to attending training courses which my employer pays me for. In the past, these fluctuations have resulted in my housing benifit fluctuating too, which has ben picked up at periodic requsts from the council to see my wage slips. I have explained that I am not on a regular income to the council and they have told me in the past to send in 2 wage slips that are similar and they can work things out from that. Ovr the last fw months, I had to go on a lot of training and had 2 big pay cheques regardless of what I hads been told about only sending in wage slips that are similar for two consecutive months, I was worried and was relieved when I got a letter telling me that I was to recieve a home visit to chck my documents. I wanted to discuss the problem and get some advice. The lady that was due to see me fell ill and it was some considerable time until she could rearrange the appointment. By this time I had had another larger than average pay slip. I showd her thedocuments and she said that they were too high for me to get housing benefits to which I replied that they were unusually high. She said that I would need to send in two consecutive wage slips when my wage "normalised"which would sort the problem but I would receive notice that my benefit would be severely cut in th meantime. I was relaxed about this as I was confident that things would ge back to normal once my wage wentback to normal.

However,several weeks later I go a letter telling me that I would have to attend an "interview under caution" to investigate me for benefit fraud.I am so scared and don't know what to do . I rang the interviewer up and she wouldn't discuss the matter over the phone. I rang CAB but the had no available dates and told me to try again in a few days.

 

Any help and advice please?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ness,

 

Firstly, do not panic. I had a friend in a similiar situation and it all came good in the end.

 

 

You must attend the interview, don't cancel or put it off, will only make matters worse.

 

It will seem scary. Its very formal and the interview will be taped, but remember you are not under arrest.

 

Put your case forward to the interviewer. Take as much information that you possibly can. Letters from/to the council regarding your benefit claim, payslips anything at all that will support you.

 

You have been honest and upfront with the council. They are aware that your salary fluctuates from month to month and they should be working out your benefit accordingly. Prove to them that the higher salary that you have received recently is not the norm, take old payslips to show this.

 

The council will tell you that you have been overpayed and they will want the money back. Just offer to pay back what you can, even if its £5.00 per week.

 

Your benefits will probably be screwed up for a while until the council sort it out.

 

Despite what others may tell you, there is no point fighting a council. It is public funds that pay benefits and it is the councils responsibility to protect those funds. And they protect them with vigour! Which is a good thing.

 

Councils only prosecute those that have been shown to deliberately claim benefits when they are not entitled, in other words 'fraudelent claims'

 

Get yourself together and face it head on. Be honest, upfront and apologetic if necessary.

 

Take care and keep us posted

Link to post
Share on other sites
You must attend the interview, don't cancel or put it off, will only make matters worse.

 

Well just to be clear, it may be better to attend to sort out the misunderstanding, but there is no obligation to do so. Some advisers don't recommend attending but it does seem better to co-operate where it's a misunderstanding.

 

If they start getting at all pushy don't be afraid to leave.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the replies, I really appreciate it. The council have already asked for £800 back , which I think is too much. I am supposed to be starting a repayment schedule early Nov, I rang the repayments people to let them know that my latest wage slip shows a much lower amount - i.e my usual wage. They told me to send it in , but not before I get my next pay slip. They are still insisting on 2 pay slips showing same or similar amounts before they reassess -which is what tripped me up in the first place! They said if I am quick about it I can get the reassessment made before the repayment schedule starts. BTW the repayment schedule is £80 a month - really huge amount out of my monthly income!

Link to post
Share on other sites

You should appeal the overpayment separately if you think it's wrong. There is a time limit, so don't wait till the interview.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I think sending separate wage slips is the right thing to do , but I have been told by the council that thats not the way they work and to send in two that are similar so they can adjust my payments. I feel I am at fault for not sending payslips in individually, 1 at a time when I have an unusually high one, but I was following instruction from the council on this! I am quite confused really

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I have just had a meeting with the CAB showed them all my paperwork and explained my situation, and they are at a loss to see what i have actually done wrong.At the worst I am at fault for not supplying wage slips as soon as I got them but like i said i thought that i had to wait to suply two when my wage settled down into a regular pattern - this didnt happen, so i thought the council would average payments out when they had been to see me at my schduled home visit. I have not provided false information, nor have i hidden information. i agree that there has been an overpayment and am paying it back -so where is the fraud? i am still very worried and confused!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I had my interview today - the people who spoke to me were polite and not intimidating, although the whole thing was uncomfortable. Basically, they picked up on my basic salary increasing - it is included on my wage slips. But the year before my salary was listed as £2000 less than this year, I made around £2000 in overtime, which I viewed as regular earned income and declaired it as such. I didnt report the increase in my basic salary because I expected the take home to be the same. I am no longer working overtime but I do a fair bit of training for which I am paid but this is very variable. I expected this to be looked at and sorted all in one go, in the same way that tax credits are calculated, but what I should have done was send each wage slip in as I received them so the recalculation could be a continuous thing . Basically, it did look a bit bad on paper and I can understand why they wanted to talk to me. I hope they accepted that I did not intend to commit fraud - I have to wait now for a decision on what happens next. However, they did say that for such a relatively small amount of money , procecution would be very unlikely. So I feel much better about it all now, although I am still worried about what will happen next.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi - am getting increasingly worried now, as I haven't heard from the Council as yet - plus, am getting a bit worried about another aspect of the situation - I work for a council ( altho not the same one that I claim housing benefit from) - will I lose my job if I receive a caution/fine/procecution or any other measure which indicates I am guilty of benefit fraud?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ness- don't read too much into not having heard anything yet. In fact i'd be suprised if you had after 9 days.It can take a while to get a claim recalculated, and then when that's done for the file to go to someone to make a decision as to what (if any action to take against you)- and that's if nobody is away from the office. There has also been a Postal strike which could delay any letters! If you are really worried, ring the investigator that is dealing with the case and ask if there is any news- i'm sure they won't mind.

As for your job, it would depend on what it is you do. If you are only cautioned/get an Ad Pen, then check your contract of employment you may not even have to tell them. But do make sure before you don't tell them just in case you are obliged to report it.

Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Have seen AD PEN

on a few posts and was wondering what is it ?

 

Ness1402 hope things work out for you

 

It's an administrative penalty. As an alternative to prosecution (and the nasty stuff that can accompany it) the council may offer a deal whereby they add a sum to the overpayment to be collected (perhaps 30%, I can't recall for sure), and in turn will not take the matter to court.

 

From a philosophical POV, I have serious problems with this sort of thing - it's kind of like those "fixed penalties" you get for dropping litter or speeding: "Admit guilt without benefit of due process or legal counsel and it will all be so much easier". It intimidates people into self-incrimination, since the possible penalties if you exercise your right to a trial tend to be much greater.

 

But of course, people in these situations don't have the luxury of time to contemplate jurisprudence and legal philosophy, nor the resources to ensure that their rights are protected. And that is very sad.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING. EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mikey dabodee.

Its another way for you to be punished for benefit Fraud.

 

 

 

 

Section 155A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 as amended by Section 15 of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997 allows us to apply a penalty as an alternative to prosecution at 30 per cent of the total overpayment.

Upon accepting the penalty the claimant has 28 days to change their mind.

If a penalty is not accepted or is withdrawn the local authority must be prepared to prosecute, therefore all cases must be up to prosecution standard.

Administrative penalties will generally be considered for fraudulent overpayments of up to £2000 if it is in the public interest. In the majority of these cases we will make an offer of a 30 per cent penalty of the amount of the overpayment. The Penalty amount will be added to the overpayment, which is recoverable.

It should be noted that the offer of a Penalty will be made in a special interview. Penalties can only be offered if the case could be brought to prosecution. The offender will be told at the interview:

  • It is not an interview under caution
  • Acceptance of the Penalty is not a declaration of guilt
  • The recovery of the Penalty will occur in the same way as the recovery of the Overpayment
  • They have 28 days in which to change their mind should they accept the Penalty, in the event of nonacceptance prosecution may be instituted
  • Failure to repay the debt or default on instalments will result in them facing civil proceedings for recovery.

All Interviews Under Caution will be conducted by the Benefit Fraud Investigation Officer and any Administrative Penalty interviews will be conducted by an appropriate senior officer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thans Antone, ShoeLover and ST24Mondeo :)

Well explained

 

Didnt know anything about this, thanks for explaining it

 

Do a lot of people go down this road

Seems harsh thirty percent, if somebody did decide to go to court do the council get

the costs if they win ?

If they do then its a no win situation, except if the council lose and the customer is found not guilty

Edited by MIKEY DABODEE
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all -thanks so much for all help and advice, I really do appreciate it. After posting yesterday, I got home to find a letter on the mat from the council - they say they have enough evidence to procecute me, but are willing to consider issuing a formal caution and have arranged an interview date to discuss the matter. Do you think that this will involve a 30% penalty? Frankly, I am shocked that they can procecute, as I had really valid reasons why I didn't report changes in income promptly and the overpayment is £800 . Also , does anyone know if the council can report my formal caution to others? Such as current employers or future employers?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

There is no obligation on you to accept this caution. Why admit to something you are not guilty of. You weren't out to defraud them, it was a simple error.

 

If they are so sure of their facts, let a magistrate decide.

 

I am suspicious of councils when they do things like this. Are they out to maximise their income?

 

Here is a link to a similar case to yours:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/165725-housing-benefit-admin-penalty.html

 

This lady fought all the way and eventually showed her council up for what they were.

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

Please help CAG. Order this ebook. Now available on Amazon. Please click HERE

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

Please help CAG. Order this ebook. Now available on Amazon. Please click HERE

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I should be brave and refuse a caution as this is an admission of guilt and I honestly don't think I am guilty. But I am really stressed about this whole thing and just want it over and done with. I have rung the chap who will be doing my next interview and he says it won't take more than 10 mins - I really feel they are going to offer me the 30% penalty, and are counting on me being too scared to risk court. But like I say, I just want it over and done with so I can sleep again!

Link to post
Share on other sites

If it was an Ad Pen, the letter would say that and explain how much the penalty is and about the 28 day cooling off period.

If you accept a caution the information is kept by the DWP on a data base and if you were to "get into trouble" for benefits with either a Council or the DWP within five years, then it could be cited in court.

It will not be on PNC so would no show up if you had a CRB check.

It is confidential and your employer would not be routinley told.

The council must be satisfeid that you have admitted failing to report the change promptly or they could not offer a caution- cautions can only be given on admitted offences. The offence is failing to report the change- even if you do have mitigation.

Sorry if i sound harsh i am just trying to make sure i give you the facts.

In answer to Mikey's question, yes if the Council do prosecute on a refused caution/ad pen then they can aply to the court for costs- but is up to the court if they award none, part or all of the costs.

Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that - am particularly relieved about the job thing, that's my biggest fear, I've spent 5 years working hard and training to get a good career off the ground and I am in a position now where I feel it's all paying off, so to lose it all would be devistating.

The letter from the council does say that they have enough evidence to procecute, because I admitted not giving info promptly enough. To be fair, they are right on that, although I do feel I had strong reasons for not telling them asap. It was all a bit of a mix-up, no intent to fraudulently claim money, but technically yes, I didn't comply with what I am supposed to do. I really do think the best thing to do is accept the caution and in future, send EVERYTHING that relates to income to the council as soon as I am able.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Well, it's all over thank goodness! I have acccepted the caution, which was delivered by a very nice bloke who in fairness did his absolute best to reassure me that I wasn't guilty of fraud , but of a technical fault- not getting my info in on time regardless of the reasons why i didn't. The relief is huge and the whole process has been very stressful, but the caution is really a way of concluding the whole thing, and shouldn't have any effect on my life in the future - unless I commit a proper fraud, in which case it will be considered at court.

Anyone going through the same thing- don't worry, it will all come right in the end xx

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...