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Being investigated for benefit fraud, please help


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Hello all,


1st post, please bear with me, and be gentle!!


About 7 years ago I was having serious problems at home which I won't get into, but it involved me leaving my family home. I presented myself as homeless to the housing authority in Northern Ireland, and for the next 4 years I spent my time living in various friends houses, boyfriends houses, anywhere I could get my head down until I got a permanent address of my own 2 years ago.


During the last 6 years, I have got all my important mail sent to my parents house - obviously I was technically homeless for 4 years, and for the last 2 years I've been living in shared housing, and have been having problems with my mail being stolen etc so I never changed anything over, and still continue to get mail sent to my parents house, excluding those that are required by law like insurance for example.


Now my parents are being investigated for benefit fraud - the housing benefit officers claim that I have been living with them for the last 6 years as all my post has been sent there, and they were claiming benefits which they wouldn't have been entitled to if I was living there as I work full time (I have never claimed benefits).


When they went to discuss this the officers had every detail relating to me - my employment details, bank details, knew I was registered to their address from my GP, credit card etc etc.


They have now asked them to prove I wasn't living there. I can do this for the last 2 years, but prior to then I did not have a permanent address which they know as I was registered as homeless.


My questions are - if they are investgating them for fraud surely they need to prove I wasn't living there and not the other way around? Are they entitled to get all this information about me under the DPA even though they are investigating my parents for benefit fraud and not me? How can I prove where I was living for the 1st 4 years if I was homeless? What can I expect to happen to my parents now?


I apologise for the long thread, and hope someone can help us, as it's causing us a lot of worry!!


Thanks in advance



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