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tillytally89

help me we've been accused of benefit faud, but we told them of the changes, please read!!!

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I need help, my partner has been accused of benefit fraud.

 

Basically we were signing on but then we both got jobs, so we signed off and told them that we were starting work (they should have the recording of the phone call we made and our signing off sheets) and they told us that they (the Job centre) would inform the council of these changes.

 

But they didn't inform them and we still got paid housing benefit. We left it and were just expecting an overpayment letter, which never came, but the letter for the benefit fraud interview did.

 

This is even more complicated by the fact that my partners new job is working for the council and for the benefits agency so he is suspended at work while the investigation is on going.

 

We genuinely didn't think we were doing anything wrong, we have saved up all the money in rent and council tax that they have paid, as we were just expecting an overpayment letter which we would have paid in full, but now if this goes further my partner will be out of a job and it will be harder for him to get another one.

 

But I need to stress that we informed them of the changes and considering that our housing benefit was given to us as long as we were signing on and we signed of in November they should know his and we told them that we started work as soon as we did and they made the mistake, will this count for anything?

 

Any comments or advice is welcomed?

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Its up to claimants to ring housing and ctax to stop the payments, I am sure it does say on the forms we sign any change in circumstance and they are different depts , so not meaning to rub it in, it was up to you to ring them. Where as they might find out anyhow sometimes quicker from the job centre, it is up to the claimant to ring especially when realising the money is still comming and not entitled to.

 

It is awkward for your partner to explain not to have known better. All you can do is offer the money back straight away in full as you said you have it and apologise that you as said made a mistake.

 

Best wishes xx

Edited by loopinlouie
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I've never heard of the Job Center imforming the council before, I always thought that it was up to the claimant. I can't understand why they told you that at all.

 

I recently appealled against an overpayment of £2,500 HB and £900 CT and won. While I was working, I went down to my local council area office with details of my Child Tax Credit, wage slips and Working tax credit and was told I didn't have to pay any rent or Council Tax as my wages were so low. Well that didn't sound right to me, so I kept asking them if they were correct in their calculations. They kept telling me not to worry and it was all fine. Then in December I had a letter telling me of the overpayments. I appealled on the grounds that I had visited the council office on four occassions because I was convinced that they had made an error and I was given incorrect information.

 

After investigation, all the visits I had made were logged and it was decided that the front line staff had made the error and the overpayment was wiped off.

 

I hope really hope things work out for you. JCP and DWP are pretty poor at communication at times and I personally would not have accepted what I was advised and informed the council of the changes myself. If you have the money saved aside though and can prove that the Job center advised you that they would inform the council for you, hopefully it will be seen that you acted in good faith.

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I've never heard of the Job Center imforming the council before, I always thought that it was up to the claimant. I can't understand why they told you that at all.

 

I recently appealled against an overpayment of £2,500 HB and £900 CT and won. While I was working, I went down to my local council area office with details of my Child Tax Credit, wage slips and Working tax credit and was told I didn't have to pay any rent or Council Tax as my wages were so low. Well that didn't sound right to me, so I kept asking them if they were correct in their calculations. They kept telling me not to worry and it was all fine. Then in December I had a letter telling me of the overpayments. I appealled on the grounds that I had visited the council office on four occassions because I was convinced that they had made an error and I was given incorrect information.

 

After investigation, all the visits I had made were logged and it was decided that the front line staff had made the error and the overpayment was wiped off.

 

I hope really hope things work out for you. JCP and DWP are pretty poor at communication at times and I personally would not have accepted what I was advised and informed the council of the changes myself. If you have the money saved aside though and can prove that the Job center advised you that they would inform the council for you, hopefully it will be seen that you acted in good faith.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

I think it's generally considered that each claimant should be fully conversant with every aspect of the benefits system; unlike the DWP staff of course, most of whom don't know what the hell is going on. It is also important that claimants should keep abreast of current legislation and keep the DWP informed at all times of any changes.

 

This is not unlike refuse collection:

At one time bins were emptied and the refuse sorted. The tax payer footed the bill. Now, we have to sort our refuse into seperate parts and woe betide us if we get one piece of it wrong. I can understand us doing the job of the waste dept, but wouldn't you think they'd have reduced taxes as a result of us working, unofficially for them?

 

What's the world coming to?

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Back from the interview now and they said they are issuing an overpayment straight away and that we will recieve a notice of seeking possestion of our house from the council very soon, because of the amount of arrears there will be.

 

The guy was an arse, kept asking the same questions over and over again and trying to twist all our words.

 

What they don't seem to realise is, if they take this further, my partner will lose his job and on my wage alone we will have to get housing benefit, if they drop it and say it was an honest mistake (which it was) we will pay off the debt and not get or want any benefit. But when we said this to him, he didn't respond.

 

Can we get the CAB to talk to our housing association on our behalf to sort out a repayment plan?

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But you said that you had been saving up the rent and coucil tax that you would need to pay.

If you pay it now you wont be in arrears and wont have your property repossessed.

Knowing that you were due to pay rent and council tax when you started work - why didn't you just start paying it anyway and not wait for an overpayment letter ??

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tilly, I am confused. You cleary said you have saved the monies paid you were not entitled to. You on the other thread say you may lose your house due to ammount they are asking for and metion a payment plan.

 

Just pay the money back to them and you can stop any worries of losing your home.

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Back from the interview now and they said they are issuing an overpayment straight away and that we will recieve a notice of seeking possestion of our house from the council very soon, because of the amount of arrears there will be.

 

The guy was an arse, kept asking the same questions over and over again and trying to twist all our words.

 

What they don't seem to realise is, if they take this further, my partner will lose his job and on my wage alone we will have to get housing benefit, if they drop it and say it was an honest mistake (which it was) we will pay off the debt and not get or want any benefit. But when we said this to him, he didn't respond.

 

Can we get the CAB to talk to our housing association on our behalf to sort out a repayment plan?

 

Tilly best to keep to one thread. I cant help wondering why there is a need for a payment plan if you havnt spent the money. xx

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I have got the money there, but the guy in the interview said there will be a notice served immediately whether I can pay it off straight away or not so I still need to talk to the council about whether they will accept the payment and stop the eviction or not!

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Paying the money back would look better and youd be on better ground to keep your house, surely housing would only be interested in getting their rent paid. I dont see how the benefits agency could end your tenancy once paid up xx best wishes

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Hi, tillytally89.

 

I have moved your post's from another thread and merged it with your own thread, I've also unapproved one of your posts as it was a duplicate, please continue to post on this thread.

 

Regards.

 

Scott.


 
 

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I need help, my partner has been accused of benefit fraud.

 

Basically we were signing on but then we both got jobs, so we signed off and told them that we were starting work (they should have the recording of the phone call we made and our signing off sheets) and they told us that they (the Job centre) would inform the council of these changes.

 

But they didn't inform them and we still got paid housing benefit. We left it and were just expecting an overpayment letter, which never came, but the letter for the benefit fraud interview did.

 

This is even more complicated by the fact that my partners new job is working for the council and for the benefits agency so he is suspended at work while the investigation is on going.

 

We genuinely didn't think we were doing anything wrong, we have saved up all the money in rent and council tax that they have paid, as we were just expecting an overpayment letter which we would have paid in full, but now if this goes further my partner will be out of a job and it will be harder for him to get another one.

 

But I need to stress that we informed them of the changes and considering that our housing benefit was given to us as long as we were signing on and we signed of in November they should know his and we told them that we started work as soon as we did and they made the mistake, will this count for anything?

 

Any comments or advice is welcomed?

 

In regard to the duty to inform, the onus always falls on the claimant. It is stipulated in the award letters that you must inform them of a change of circumstances, and this is also stipulated within the relevant legislation. Although the DWP stated they would inform the local authority that the JSA claim had ended, this not relieve a claimant of their responsibility to inform.

 

My guess is that what happened is that the notification from DWP to the LA did not occur (this is an automatic notification which the computer is programmed to send - it doesn't always happen).

 

My next guess that that although the council may well accept that your partner expected DWP would inform them and that he assumed this would end the claim, the benefit continued to be paid, and despite knowing this and knowing that he was no longer entitled to it due to your household income, he still failed to inform them that your circumstances had changed and your household income increased.

 

From their point of view they will be considering how much longer he would have continued to claim the benefit before he would have advised of the change. From their point of view, he did continue to claim it up until he was invited to the IUC. From their point of view, he may well have continued claiming it had they not discovered that you were no longer entitled. You stopped being entitled in November but have continued to claim the benefit, and done nothing to attempt to stop the claim. That's 5 months (or 4 if you were claiming the run on). Therefore their view is that benefit fraud has been committed; he continued to claim a benefit to which he could reasonably be expected to know that he was not entitled to, more so because your partner is now working within a field where these benefits are processed and should be well aware that a JCP notification does not relieve the claimant of their responsibility to inform a change of circumstances. Any person would be reasonably expected to at the very least make enquiries as to why the benefit was still in payment after all that time, however a person who works with this type of benefit would be expected to more so than the average joe.

 

I'm a bit confued because you say that you didn't inform them, you informed DWP. You say that you continued to receive the benefit and left it because you thought they would just send an overpayment letter. But then you say that you did inform them, that you informed them as soon as you started work, they should have known he had signed off, and you believe it was their mistake. Can you confirm whether you did inform the council, or just the DWP? If it was just the DWP that was informed, then the above all stands and it is not the council's mistake.

 

Back from the interview now and they said they are issuing an overpayment straight away and that we will recieve a notice of seeking possestion of our house from the council very soon, because of the amount of arrears there will be.

 

 

Benefits and housing are two seperate departments. The Fraud Investigation Team cannot make the decision that a notice for repossession would be issued. It is the duty of the housing department (if it is the council whom you let from which I assume it is if they say the letter will come from the council) to assess the sum owed in rent and send a letter asking you to make up the payments. If you fail to do this and fail to make contact to enter into an agreement to repay the arrears, or you begin to pay the arrears but then default, they then they send you a final notice. Only after this, do they serve a notice seeking possession, which provides 28 days for the arrears to be cleared before they take the matter to court.

 

What they don't seem to realise is, if they take this further, my partner will lose his job and on my wage alone we will have to get housing benefit, if they drop it and say it was an honest mistake (which it was) we will pay off the debt and not get or want any benefit. But when we said this to him, he didn't respond.

 

He didn't respond most likely because your partner works in an area which processes this benefit, he should know better than the next person that continuing to receive benefit after 5 months is a clear indication that the benefit section are not aware of the change of circumstances.

 

Can we get the CAB to talk to our housing association on our behalf to sort out a repayment plan?

 

I have got the money there, but the guy in the interview said there will be a notice served immediately whether I can pay it off straight away or not so I still need to talk to the council about whether they will accept the payment and stop the eviction or not!

 

Again, confused. Why would the council be accepting the payment for rent and/or seeking possession if you rent from an association? do you rent from the council or from a housing association?

 

Yes you can ask the CAB to sort out a repayment plan, they will need to go through a complete income and expenditure with you. But again, confused. Why set up a repayment plan when you have the money there to pay?

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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

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I might be wrong but I was under the impression that to be committing benefit fraud you had to be seen to have spent/used the money. If you can show that the HB money has remained untouched in your bank account each month (in other words your balance has increased each month by the amount paid) then there is no fraud.

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I'm afraid not, Animal Lover. The legislation stipulates how someone is guilty of an offence of fraud as follows:

 

A person shall be guilty of an offence if—

 

(a) there has been a change of circumstances affecting any entitlement of his to any benefit or other payment or advantage under any provision of the relevant social security legislation;

 

(b) the change is not a change that is excluded by regulations from the changes that are required to be notified;

 

© he knows that the change affects an entitlement of his to such a benefit or other payment or advantage; and

 

(d) he dishonestly fails to give a prompt notification of that change in the prescribed manner to the prescribed person.

 

 

It is the conduct in itself which dictates what constitues an offence, (the actus reus in legal terms which simply means "the guilty act") not what is done (or in this case not done) with the money. Though what is done or not done with the money can have a huge bearing on how the council would proceed.


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)

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Erica knew someone would put me right! However I thought there had to also be mens rea (the intention) in any crime and if the money has remained untouched and they always intended to repay then could mens rea be proved?

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Mens rea means "state of mind" (sometimes it is said to be "guilty mind", or "guilty knowledge"). It means that the person knew their conduct to be forbidden by law and it does not always refer to direct intention. It is considered that if the "accused" could have reasonably forseen the probability arising from their conduct, mens rea is present.

 

Objectivity can be also applied to a case such as this where, it is considered that if a reasonable person could have forseen the probability resulting from their conduct, mens rea is present.

 

As the person who failed to declare the change of circumstances has been working in an area where this benefit is processed, since his JSA claim ended, it could be said that he himself could reasonably forsee the probability arising from the actus rea.

 

It could also be argued that any other reasonable person could reasonably forsee the probability arising from the actus rea because a benefit award notice makes it clear that changes in circumstances must be declared to the benefit section, and because of the manner in which benefit fraud is largely publicised in this country - adverts which state for example "if you fail to declare a change in circumstances you could be commiting benefit fraud".

 

Another example, to put it into context: Say I had been undertaking kickboxing classes, to keep fit. I was on a woodland walk with my children and was approached by a male twice my size. He grabs me and after a struggle with him, I break free. He then lunges to grab one of my children. I give a swift round house kick to his ribs, with the intention of winding him to disable him for a few seconds to enable the escape of myself and my family. I get to a safe spot and call the police, to tell them what has happened and that the man is wandering in the woods possibly lying in wait for his next "victim". I tell the police what happened and how we escaped. I'm informed that a police unit has already ventured into the woods, having been called by a couple who were walking their dog and who witnessed the attack. When the police arrive at the scene of the attack, they find my attacker to be badly injured and struggling to breathe. The dog walkers have stayed nearby, wanting to keep an eye that the man didn't make off, but afraid to approach him after witnessing the attack on us. The man is taken to hospital where he later dies. It is determined that a broken rib, consistent with the type of kick I inflicted, punctured his lung which in turn caused his death.

 

The charge (and actus reus) is one of manslaughter rather than murder (on the basis that I was provoked).

 

My defence argue that I did not intend that man to die from that kick, and I certainly would not wish my children to be witness to a death caused by me. My intention was not even to cause permanent harm. My intention was to inflict a degree of force which would lead to a temporary disablement by winding. The kick was more forceful and uncontrolled compared to what it would have been in a kickboxing class because I had been under his attack, my children's welfare was then threatened and as a result of my panic, I misjudged my own strength.

 

The jury find me guilty (mens rea) due to the prosecution's earlier argument. That, although any reasonable person may not neccesserily know of the injuries or results from those injuries which could be inflicted by such a kick, I as an avid kick boxer, should be aware of the dangers arising from a poorly judged and forceful kick; I would have been fully versed on the dangers as part of my kickboxing classes, particularly in blows to the body near where organs are located, and thus could reasonably forsee the probability arising from my conduct. The direct intention to kill was not present, but the ability to reasonably fosee the consequences of my actions was virtually certain, thus mens rea was present.


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)

 

 

 

 

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