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Benefit fraud accusation. Saying partner lives with me when doesn't!

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Hi am after some advice.

 

Firstly some background!!

 

I currently receive IS and housing and council tax benefit as I am a single parent trying to find a job since my last one ended July 2011. I have been claiming since then. I have a boyfriend who works away and stops at mine on a weekend. He does have all his post and everything sent here but he doesn't contribute in any shape or form to me or the household. He isn't my child's father either.

I received a phone call this morning from the fraud investigation department at my job centre asking why I hadn't shown up for my interview. I told them I had no idea what the was on about as I hadn't received a letter or anything. They then said they had received an accusation that my boyfriend is living with me. I said I would be more than happy to attend an interview. I said that I was in a relationship but he only stops here on a weekend ( which he does!!) they said they had proof that he lives here n to seek some legal advice!

 

I called citizens advice who can't see me before my new interview date which is in 5 days. They said to attend the interview n see what they proof they have.

 

Can anyone else help me please? Am making myself physically sick with worry that I will be sent to prison!

 

Thank you in advance

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Hi am after some advice.

 

Firstly some background!!

 

I currently receive IS and housing and council tax benefit as I am a single parent trying to find a job since my last one ended July 2011. I have been claiming since then. I have a boyfriend who works away and stops at mine on a weekend. He does have all his post and everything sent here but he doesn't contribute in any shape or form to me or the household. He isn't my child's father either.

I received a phone call this morning from the fraud investigation department at my job centre asking why I hadn't shown up for my interview. I told them I had no idea what the was on about as I hadn't received a letter or anything. They then said they had received an accusation that my boyfriend is living with me. I said I would be more than happy to attend an interview. I said that I was in a relationship but he only stops here on a weekend ( which he does!!) they said they had proof that he lives here n to seek some legal advice!

 

I called citizens advice who can't see me before my new interview date which is in 5 days. They said to attend the interview n see what they proof they have.

 

Can anyone else help me please? Am making myself physically sick with worry that I will be sent to prison!

 

Thank you in advance

 

Having his post delivered to your address is a major problem for you as it is deemed that he lives there otherwise why is his post being delivered there?

 

You will just need to wait and see what they pull up against you but the postal issue will be a huge issue.

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His post comes here as he is a contractor and works all over the country and he refuses to pay rent for somewhere that he hardly stops in. He doesn't have any family so can't use there address. I I didn't know you couldn't do this, please help!

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Where is he the other five days of the week? And what proof does he have he's living there?

It would also be helpful if you could demonstrate why his post is delivered to your address. Did he have post delivery problems at his address or does he get regular signed-for packages that would otherwise go undelivered?

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He stops in bed and breakfast while he is working away. He has receipts to prove this. He stopped living at his previous address as he started working away n didn't see the point in wasting money on a place that he was never in.

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His post comes here as he is a contractor and works all over the country and he refuses to pay rent for somewhere that he hardly stops in. He doesn't have any family so can't use there address. I I didn't know you couldn't do this, please help!

 

I'm afraid then that your home is deemed to be his main residence and is his home as the only other places he stays in are temporary to do with his work. He will be expected to pay his fair share of the expenses of his home even though he works away during the week.

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But it isn't his home! He doesn't pay a penny towards it. Can it not be classed as a care of address?

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From what you've described, it's the only place he stays with any kind of permanence and as such it is highly likely to be treated as his home. You should seek legal advice before the interview.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/BenefitFraud/DG_10035820

 

In the meantime I would concentrate on demonstrating that you had no intention to defraud the benefits system. Get copies of all his B&B bills to prove that he lives away more often than not and get copies of your bank statements to show you pay all the household bills, utilities, insurance etc.

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Do you think they will be likely to prosecute? Even with all bank statements and receipts?

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I think you made an honest and understandable mistake. A lot of people wrongly assume 3 nights a week would not be considered living together and it'll no doubt be something that the fraud department has dealt with before.

But the important thing is to stay calm, not to lose sleep over the matter and talk to a legal advisor as soon as possible.

Edited by Fox Morris

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The amount of nights is irrelevant. Else you'll be having loads of people who partners work away and come home at weekends, claiming benefits as a single person.

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Firstly, your residence will be classed as his main residence. He stays in different temporary accomdation in the week, but always returns to your house at the weekend. Where does he keep all of his belongings?

 

Secondly, it will be hard to convince an investigator why he doesn't contribute anything to your household. He stays there at least 104 days a year, plus holidays I assume. He uses electricity, water, gas, tv etc those days, plus what are the arrangements for food when he is there. Why are you, on benefits expected to support a working person for more than 104 days a year? If his car insurance is registered at your address as his main residence, when it isn't then he could be in trouble with the insurance company.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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My advisor at the job centre told me that the max allowed was 3 nights to stop over. Have managed to get a appointment with a legal advisor to see what they say. Thank you to you all who have given advice so far, as for not worrying, that's easier said than done!

I honestly thought I was doing nothing wrong! Would it now be easier if after this interview I have my boyfriend move in and pay? What would happen then?

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He keeps some toiletries and a few clothes here but the rest of his stuff is at a friends house. He buys his own food if he eats here or generally goes out for food.

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The advisor saying the maximum nights allowed to stop over for a boyfriend being 3 nights is on the proviso that he has a home elsewhere and is stopping over rather than using your residence as his home when not working so it is different for you.

 

He has been using your electricity/gas/water regularly though has he not been helping you out with that?

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He doesn't use any additional gas/electricity as I would use the same if he was here or not on a weekend, he gets the odd shower but that's it!

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The advisor saying the maximum nights allowed to stop over for a boyfriend being 3 nights is on the proviso that he has a home elsewhere and is stopping over rather than using your residence as his home when not working so it is different for you.

 

This is correct, but the incomplete advice from the job centre is still worth mentioning to your legal advisor, especially if you have it written down or in an email.

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If he ised a mailbox/PO box it may lessen the connection.

 

While I can see the perspective of those here saying yours is his main address - it effective amounts to the DWP saying women in receipt of benefits should do the obvious thing if dating building/haulage contractors etc.

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I suppose I just find it difficult to understand the set up - but I suppose everyone is different.

 

when my husband and I were first dating, he lived 150 miles away with his parents following a divorce. He had a job there and paid his parents board. He came and stayed with me every weekend - it would have been incomprehensible for him to go out on his own to eat while staying with me, or to buy his own food to eat seperately. Either I paid for the food we ate in, or he paid for the food we ate out. He would also go out and buy wine or dessert for us. And we weren't living together.

 

I think many people would find your set up hard to understand including investigators. Not judging, just telling you the reality.

Edited by estellyn

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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I honestly believed that I was doing nothing wrong! He asked if he could use my address and I said ok, not thinking anything of it. What will happen if they decide I have done wrong? I am more than willing to pay back what I owe if it turns out I have done wrong.

 

Bang! - what is the obvious thing to do for women in receipt of benefits dating a contractor?

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I don't think that you've done anything morally wrong but you have made a mistake (albeit an honest one). I don't see any public benefit in prosecuting you, especially if you offer to repay and reduce your claim going forward. Your legal advisor will be able to expand on this.

I also feel that you've been let down by your boyfriend; nobody should be staying in your home for 150+ nights a year without making a financial contribution.

 

Anyone in receipt of benefits should get in touch with their benefits office following a significant change to their circumstances, not just the claimants dating contractors.

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It a long time since I had dealings with the DHSS/DSS as the DWP were known then, and even then only in the capacity as a CAB advisor.

 

To me what you say sounds reasonable, so I could only suggest you ask someone from the DWP how you could make them be more comfortable with your relationship.

 

I feel the angle you should push would be they're pespective points to the unviable requirement that a contractor should rent/buy property to date you.

 

See what they suggest.

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The most likely scenario if they decide there has been an overpayment is to ask for the overpayment to be paid back at an affordable rate.

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I have absolutely no problem with paying back if they decide I have done wrong, I just hope they can see that I haven't meant to do anything wrong.

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I have absolutely no problem with paying back if they decide I have done wrong, I just hope they can see that I haven't meant to do anything wrong.

 

I had a visit from a fraud investigator and I was told there is no 'minimum/maximum night rule anymore. If a person is staying at your address on days off,,if his post is being delivered there,if his car is registered to your address,,if he has a majority of his belongings are kept at your address etc,,any of those indicate he lives at your address..i didn't know any of this either,had my OH's post delivered to my address and his car was registered here and I got done.4k..


Lillibelle

 

I only know what I know cos I know it,I only give advice,I'm not legally trained nor do I pretend to be.

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