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£5500 housing benefit overpayment. Please help! So scared.


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Thanks again for your reply. I know, I'm just terrible at switching off and always imagine the worst case scenario!

So the time it takes to be invited for an ICU is just due to it being in a queue so to speak not because they are investigating us for months? As I've said in an above post, there was 2 months previous were my partner had a part time job, which now I know we should have reported. Will this be dragged up too by the DWP? Or is this up to the council to investigate and then pass on the overpayment details to the DWP?

Thanks again x

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Sorry, I'm not trying to sound like I want to just 'get off' with the mistakes I've made, but they were purely just mistakes. I now know we need to accept our punishment but I am terrified of it being in the local papers! I know you say that it's unlikely, but we live in a rural community and sometimes benefit fraud is put in the papers. It's not like we're in a huge city.

How many cases of benefit fraud do you think go through a magistrates court in an average week? Compared to the amount that are in the papers?

It's so scary what will happen if the papers get hold of this.

Thanks again x

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Well I would say it's less than one in ten cases get in the paper... I used to work in a rural area too.

 

Nationally I have no idea how how many people go to court each week, but I'm willing to bet it's over 100. I can't say that it won't get in the papers but usually the more "interesting" cases are reported,

 

I know you are not trying to get out of it.

 

If you are interviewed & your partners job isn't mentioned it will be worse for you if they find out. Make a clean breast of it- and don't wait. Sending in the extra info also shows that as soon as you realised you dealt with it.

 

Good luck X

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

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Yes you're right, I need to do the right thing about the past. it's scary though!

I spoke to another lovely lady at the council this afternoon (god they must be fed up with me!!) and she said to write a letter of appeal about the overpayment and explain the circumstances (Ie we weren't aware that hmrc only shared a limited amount of information). She said it was unlikely to be successful, but at least then I could get our story across and how remorseful we are.

She said she sees this quite often, people assuming information is shared (PAYE/tax credits) which result in overpayments.

She told me not to worry about a fraud investigation, and that it hadn't been passed over yet. It probably will due to it being over £2000 but she said the investigators would only want to find out if there was intent to defraud there and if not, then don't worry.

I don't know if she was saying this just to be nice as I was in such a state on the phone...? This seems to be a different outcome to what I have read online?

If what the lady from overpayments was saying was true (that overpayments happen all the time) surely they can't prosecute everyone as mistakes do happen?

Sorry shoelover for going on and on and thanks for your support x

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I really appreciate your advice shoelover, thank you so much. You don't even know me and you're helping me for something that I could have done dishonestly.

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Happy to help..

 

The lady on the phone was probably being nice.. She can't make that decision. Its true that not everyone can be prosecuted - or indeed is. It's possible that she was telling you how it worked when the council did the investigations.

 

X

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

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Hi again :)

I thought the lady was probably being nice.

She did say that it happens quite often by mistake, do you think this is correct? I can see how it does happen though obviously! I can't find any information on the number of housing benefit overpayments and how many of these are prosecuted.

In your honest opinion in your experience looking at what I have told you, what would you expect the outcome to be here?

Do you think writing to the council at this point will help? x

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Also, do the fraud investigation teams work out the overpayment? I'm struggling to understand whether our claim was checked by fraud, who who then worked out the overpayment. Or if it was a random data matching thing with the council that threw up some discrepancies and then they worked out our overpayment?

Thanks again x

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Hi, it's difficult to predict what they will do..

 

I can say that it falls into the guidelines to be looked at as a fraud, but it could still get "lost" in the system or there could be something else that makes it unsuitable.

 

I doubt an appeal would work - the decision is not wrong in law regarding the overpayment. You can send in a letter if you want to - it can't hurt.

 

You made a mistake & you are dealing with it. I respect you for that. Takes guts to face up to it like you are.

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

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Also, do the fraud investigation teams work out the overpayment? I'm struggling to understand whether our claim was checked by fraud, who who then worked out the overpayment. Or if it was a random data matching thing with the council that threw up some discrepancies and then they worked out our overpayment?

Thanks again x

The overpayment will have probably been caused by RTI (real time Information) and then been calculated by the benefits team. Then referred to fraud to interview/establish if there has been an offence x

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

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If they can use this RTI, surely it should be used all the time to check information? From what I can see universal credit will use RTI to work out correct payments every month. I hope this is the case as this will avoid people being in the same situation as me in the future.

Have you come across many others in situations like mine on this this forum? I find it hard to think that this doesn't happen all the time?

I think I'm a relatively intelligent woman (some may say not reading this) but the benefit system is just a minefield and when you're a busy family, life just take precedence and things get overlooked.

I know people that are dishonest on purpose, like doing cash in hand work whilst claiming benefits... I always thought badly of them and now look at the situation we're in now!!!

I have drafted the letter to the council. It's not really an appeal, more an explanation of the circumstances and my thought processes (or lack of). I don't really want to appeal as I don't want them to think I am trying to get out of paying them, it's more I want to give our side of the story. Hopefully that can be then passed onto the fraud department too.

Have you seen many cases like mine on here? And what are the other factors which may make it unsuitable as you mentioned above?

Thanks again x

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A word of warning. If your partner decides to change their name to hide this, then the LA could see it as something else. It's not worth the agro.

 

Not only that you have a legal requirement to notify the Agency of a change of circumstances changing a name would be one of them. Failure to do so is yet another offence. So save time and money and don't do it...

 

 

Also the partner could be prosecuted if the Agency believe they were aware of this..

Sorry to be a downer on this just letting you know that is all.

 

Are there any other claims that may be wrong? I would double check just in case

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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Hi mikeymack, do you mean if my partner changes his name by deed poll so another name appears in the paper? Sorry I'm a bit confused!

Do you mean other claims such as tax credits? Or previous housing benefit claims that may be wrong?

So I, as the partner, can still be prosecuted if I take the blame? Thanks

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If he/she changes their name it could look suspect. As far as dealing with knowing partners this is covered in a separate thread. As I am on a mobile device I will add it tomorrow for you to read.

 

Giving advice is all we can do sometimes it is not what the poster wants to hear or know so for that I am very sorry. Just putting the information out there so you are aware of it. That's the right thing to do is it not?

 

Would you rather know now or at a later date or if you have an interview under caution (IUC)?

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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I would rather have all the information I can possibly have now. Along with people's experience and thoughts on what will happen to us.

Thanks for adding the thread it will be a useful read.

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I agree with MM.. Sometimes what I say is not what folk want to hear on here, but I feel I would be doing you a disservice if I wasn't honest.

 

Knowingly allowing is hard to prove if not admitted by the partner but if you accept responsibility then they may well run with it.

 

RTI is a fairly recent thing. I might be wrong, I'm just speculating that it might be this.

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

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Yes, I would rather get honest replies of course.

I'm going to just tell the truth about the situation.. I'm in charge of the finances and I thought the information would have been given to them by tax credits/paye automatically and that it came as a complete shock that we've been overpaid. I'm not going to say I knew what I was doing and admit fault in this way as this is certainly not the case x

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Jibe.. I feel as though you are mad at me for providing this information but I try to give an open and full answer.

 

Given we are saying what MAY happen is all we can do. The thing to remember is the financial mess most Councils are in means they will claw every penny back they can..

 

Look at it this way tell the truth at the earliest opportunity and give a full frank account as to what happened and wait..

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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MM, I am not mad at all! I'm very grateful for you taking the time to help and advise me.

I would much rather people are honest, this is why I have come into this forum for help x

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I am glad. I wish you luck with this issue and hope that it is sorted without any penalties.

 

Plan for the worse hope for the best. In future take a little bit more time to double check everything and make sure you make any changes of circumstances as soon as they happen, plus it is easier to call them before making it ask them and then they will tell you if it needs to be done..

 

MM

If I have been of any help, please click on my star and leave a note to let me know, thank you.

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I am glad. I wish you luck with this issue and hope that it is sorted without any penalties.

 

Plan for the worse hope for the best. In future take a little bit more time to double check everything and make sure you make any changes of circumstances as soon as they happen, plus it is easier to call them before making it ask them and then they will tell you if it needs to be done..

 

MM

 

Wise words & totally agree

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

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Thanks for your help guys.

 

If you could paste that link for the partner issue MM I would be very grateful.

 

Also, shoelover, you mentioned in a previous post about other circumstances which may make our case unsuitable for prosecution? What are those?

 

Also, when you talk about cases that go into the local paper, what would be circumstances that make a case seem more interesting for the paper?

 

MM, in your experience, and being honest, what do you think will happen in our case?

 

Thank you, your help is so much appreciated x

Edited by honeybee13
Paras.
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Usually a high overpayment or a more unusual fraud, if the person is well known are usually cases that get into the papers. According to google over 10,000 people were prosecuted in a year. Few of those made it into the papers

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

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