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They are interviewing my mum under caution - please help!

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Hi,

I know that there are a lot of posts about this but I've been reading them all weekend and can't find one similar to my mum's situation. I understand what happens and the reasons these interviews take place but would like some advice on how we should go ahead.

Basically my mum collects her state pension and claims housing benefit and council tax benefit. She has never claimed any benefits before as she has worked her whole life. When she retired she had been suffering from depression/anxiety so our family friend was dealing with her redundancy options and secured her a payout of £20,000 and monthly payments of £250. The £20,000 was paid out to people she owed money to within one week of it being paid into her account.

When she made her housing beneft/council tax claim this redundancy money/pension hadn't been sorted yet, as soon as it was I sent a change of circumstnces form with a covering letter off the the council. The next month her payments were reduced so we assumed that this was why although there is no confirmation of this in her paperwork (she has copies of everything)

My mum then had 2 separate visits from the council about pension credits to check her bank statements and to discuss her pension and oher finances.

This was 18 months ago, then on Friday she received an Interview Under Caution letter. I have spent all weekend going through her paperwork wth a fine tooth comb and the notes from the second visit say that she told them that she doesn't have a private pension which of course she does. I think that this is where the problem lies.

My mum is now having panic attacks, can't sleep and is convinced that she is going to prison. It's awful.

I am going to the interview with her but I'm not sure how involved I am allowed to be and I am also going to arrange for a solicitor to come with us. Because of my mums health I am also dealing with numerous creditors on her behalf.

My mum has never been in trouble before and at the time of all this she was on a lot of medication and was off work for months with depression and anxiety, we have all the copies of sick notes for this. She said that during the home visits they asked her lots of questions and she found it all very confusing so that is when she thinks that she told them the wrong information. She said that they kept going on about different types of pensions, credits and benefits and she has obviously said the wrong thing.

I'm not even sure she will cope with the interview on Friday let alone waiting to see if they prosecute. She says that she can't cope with the shame of it all. She has never claimed anything in her whole life.

I have told her that I will pay the money back for her so not to worry about that but it is the fact that she may be prsoecuted for this that is scaring her to death.

Does anyone have any advice or ideas what might happen?

Sorry it's so long.

Thanks in advance

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Have not been in this position, but I would think that they are wanting to find out the exact position. I can't see them taking this further, unless they consider that deliberate false information was provided. There may be an overpayment issue that needs to be sorted out. They interview under caution just because if any information comes out that they believe merits a prosecution. they can take it forward.

 

Wise to have legal representation and to record the interview.

 

Make sure that she has paperwork about the £20k being paid to people she owed money to and has receipts from the people to confirm that they have recieved it.


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Thanks for your response. The people that she owed money to were me and my brother, not companies. I've had a look through her bank statements and they clearly show that cheques were issued to us shortly after she received the money. Do you think this will this be a problem?

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I've just looked what 'deprivation of capital' is and yes you're right it could very well be seen as that. However I did tell them in the change of circumstances form that my mum had received this money so we were upfront about it. The thing is, our family have never EVER claimed any benefits so this is all new to us and unfortunately it looks like we have made some mistakes, albeit innocent ones. I'm just so worried for my mum.

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Thanks for your response. The people that she owed money to were me and my brother, not companies. I've had a look through her bank statements and they clearly show that cheques were issued to us shortly after she received the money. Do you think this will this be a problem?

 

I think you will have to explain this and may be have something drawn up legally to cover this off. Perhaps the Solicitor can advise on this. If you had lent your Mum £20k between you, for your Mum to pay debts or some other legal obligation and you can demonstrate this with documentation, then maybe it won't be an issue.


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Hi,

I know that there are a lot of posts about this but I've been reading them all weekend and can't find one similar to my mum's situation. I understand what happens and the reasons these interviews take place but would like some advice on how we should go ahead.

Basically my mum collects her state pension and claims housing benefit and council tax benefit. She has never claimed any benefits before as she has worked her whole life. When she retired she had been suffering from depression/anxiety so our family friend was dealing with her redundancy options and secured her a payout of £20,000 and monthly payments of £250. The £20,000 was paid out to people she owed money to within one week of it being paid into her account.

When she made her housing beneft/council tax claim this redundancy money/pension hadn't been sorted yet, as soon as it was I sent a change of circumstnces form with a covering letter off the the council. The next month her payments were reduced so we assumed that this was why although there is no confirmation of this in her paperwork (she has copies of everything)

My mum then had 2 separate visits from the council about pension credits to check her bank statements and to discuss her pension and oher finances.

This was 18 months ago, then on Friday she received an Interview Under Caution letter. I have spent all weekend going through her paperwork wth a fine tooth comb and the notes from the second visit say that she told them that she doesn't have a private pension which of course she does. I think that this is where the problem lies.

My mum is now having panic attacks, can't sleep and is convinced that she is going to prison. It's awful.

I am going to the interview with her but I'm not sure how involved I am allowed to be and I am also going to arrange for a solicitor to come with us. Because of my mums health I am also dealing with numerous creditors on her behalf.

My mum has never been in trouble before and at the time of all this she was on a lot of medication and was off work for months with depression and anxiety, we have all the copies of sick notes for this. She said that during the home visits they asked her lots of questions and she found it all very confusing so that is when she thinks that she told them the wrong information. She said that they kept going on about different types of pensions, credits and benefits and she has obviously said the wrong thing.

I'm not even sure she will cope with the interview on Friday let alone waiting to see if they prosecute. She says that she can't cope with the shame of it all. She has never claimed anything in her whole life.

I have told her that I will pay the money back for her so not to worry about that but it is the fact that she may be prsoecuted for this that is scaring her to death.

Does anyone have any advice or ideas what might happen?

Sorry it's so long.

Thanks in advance

 

Hi. I have a few questions first if that is OK.

 

You said that you sent a change of circumstances form and covering letter - did these detail both the lump sum payment and the monthly payments?

 

You said that your Mum received two visits where her bankstatements were checked - does she remember if copies were taken? And do the bankstatements that were checked show the lump sum, and monthly payments?

 

You said your mum's HB was reduced after the change of circs was notified - did she receive a new award letter around this time - if so does it show the new pension?


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

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Noone appears to have asked how much the private pension amounted to each month. Is it quite a small sum?

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Noone appears to have asked how much the private pension amounted to each month. Is it quite a small sum?

 

The private pension each month is just under £250

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Hi. I have a few questions first if that is OK.

 

You said that you sent a change of circumstances form and covering letter - did these detail both the lump sum payment and the monthly payments?

 

You said that your Mum received two visits where her bankstatements were checked - does she remember if copies were taken? And do the bankstatements that were checked show the lump sum, and monthly payments?

 

You said your mum's HB was reduced after the change of circs was notified - did she receive a new award letter around this time - if so does it show the new pension?

 

The change of circumstances form did detail both the lump sum and monthly payments however I can't find a new award notice from around that time to confirm this eventhough her payments reduced after this.

I'm not sure if copies were taken of her bank statements and what they showed - sorry. I did ask my mum but she is in such a state that she can't really remember what happened and when.

She's convinced that she is going to prison, can someone please tell me if this is likely?

Thanks

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Prison very unlikely, unless this is a second offence or a deliberate fraud, where she had gained a significant amount of money. A case regarding someone I am aware of who fraudulently claimed nearly £50k worth of benefits, ended with them getting a community punnishment order.

 

If she has always given accurate information to her local council/DWP and has not hidden anything, then I cannot see that she has done anything wrong.


We could do with some help from you.

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 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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The change of circumstances form did detail both the lump sum and monthly payments however I can't find a new award notice from around that time to confirm this eventhough her payments reduced after this.

I'm not sure if copies were taken of her bank statements and what they showed - sorry. I did ask my mum but she is in such a state that she can't really remember what happened and when.

She's convinced that she is going to prison, can someone please tell me if this is likely?

Thanks

 

I think it is highly unlikely that a prison sentence would even be an option in this case.

 

Firstly, request a delay in the IUC due to your Mum's mental health. In the meantime, make a SAR to the local authority for everything they have on her claim. If there is even a notation on your mum's records that the interviews who saw her looked at the bankstatements (and the bankstatements showed the payments), then even if they claim not to have received the change of circs form, there is no way that criminal fraud can be charged as even providing bankstatements counts as notifyiing the authority of the change of circs. If the statements that were looked at also show the payments to you and your brother, and the lump sum payment itself, the this also counts as notification. getting this info from a SAR, could prevent your Mum in her vulnerable state having to go to an IUC at all (obviously if the SAR shows the right info). The SAR should also show why her award reduced.

Edited by estellyn

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

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