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DWP Benefit Fraud Allegation and DLA Benefit

(13 Posts)
mryde34 Sun 29-Apr-12 10:57:12

I know this subject is controversial and effects so many other people out there and I hope that by gathering as much support collectively we may be able to make a difference.

My issue is that back in 2009, myself and my ex partner separated however we do have a young son with Aspergers Syndrome together, whilst things were initially hostile between us, we resolved our differences to become friends but obviously maintaining our separate lives.

My son lives with his mother and I see my son 50% of the time on a working two week rota so that each of us know what we are doing.

In February 2010 I lost my job and was made redundant and since then have taken various training courses to improve my employment prospects (HGV Licence, First Aid Certificate etc....) which unfortunately has not yet resulted in a job. I have now setup my own business from home so that I can provide a future for me and my son.

In September 2010 my ex-partner was evicted from a flat due to rent arrears and due to the fact she had nowhere else to go (disowned by her mother and father from birth and her adoptive parents unfortunately passing away several years ago). I allowed her to stop with me as a temporary measure until she was able to find alternate and more permanent accommodation. However due to rent arrears and poor credit rating she could not find a place.

In May 2011 a local drug dealer (well know within the neighbourhood) offered my ex partner various drugs and concerned about the safety of my children I warned him and his partner to stay away (as any respectable father would). It is also worthwhile noting that at this point I also reported the drug matter to the police and also followed through to the IPCC whom did absolutely nothing. The drug dealer also has two young daughters which wear shoes that are two sizes to small and are abused by the family..

Sorry I digressed there a little................. smile

One particular day when returning from collecting my son from school, the drug dealer was waiting outside my property which resulted in me being physically hit and was whitnessed by my son. As you can imagine with a young son who has Aspergers, this was particularly distressing. I immediately retaliated and after a few short phyiscal conflicting moments, the matter ended with death threats from him.

And this is where really the problems start................................

The drug dealer reported to the DWP that I was living as a couple with my ex partner and as a result was defrauding the benefit system which subsequently resulted in me being interviewed under caution and my ex partner, however the fraud charge was against myself. The error which I made at this point was back in September 2010 where by I failed to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances as at the time my view was there was none as we maintained separate lives. Following the interview I immediately took all the relevant corrective action and altered the housing benefits etc accordingly maintaining that I simply just did not know I saw my situation as a change of circumstance.

Several months after the event everything calmed down. I heard nothing from the DWP and even got back together with my ex partner. We moved 20miles away from the area to a new home we share together and things could not be happier.

In March 2012 I received a letter from the DWP stating of there intention to prosecute for failing to notify change of circumstances but also as living as Husband and Wife with my ex partner. I immediately responded stating that I clearly provided a shelter for her only as she was homeless with my son and that she had nowhere else to go and also that I did not see a personal change of circumstance as I was still single maintaining my own life etc.... and that when I discovered the change, I took the necessary and relevant corrective action immediately.

Therefore I accept the change of circumstance issue but the DWP apparently are automatically programmed to always assume the worst and as a result were determined that my ex partner and I was a couple in a relationship despite the fact that all the finances and bills were in my name only, I did my own shopping etc.... and there was only a small amount of shared activity as we have a son together with Aspergers but even then I took him out on my own. I also have 15 other people both friends and family that also state the same thing.

However the DWP still maintain the relationship stance and as a result am due in Magistrates in May 2012. Despite overwhelming evidence my legal team have made it clear that my chances of winning are very small as the DWP have an extremely high conviction rate.

It is also worthwhile noting that there is also no law to state what actually a couple is or is not so how can you prosecute someone for which there is no law. The DWP have a set of guidelines which are flawed and its this that they base there decision.

In a few weeks time I am forced to plead Guilty for something which I have not done and as a result run the risk of the possibility of spending time in jail away from my son which mentally is destroying me.

I am currently on anti-depressants as a result of the stress and anxiety and also gutted that it has even got to this stage so now I have to play the waiting game and see what happens.......

On another slightly separate issue I have also applied for DLA Benefit for my son with Aspergers which started on the 14th October 2011, again the DWP have persistently said no he is not entitled to the benefit despite medical evidence supporting his condition he has had almost from birth. This also is going to court shortly as I have appealed and fought every step of the way.

I have also contacted my local MP on four separate occasions regarding the DWP and the DLA issue which he has completely ignored (again I have even submitted a complaint which has gone unnoticed).

So as you can see my stress levels and anxiety at the moment are definately elevated but if there are any other people out there in a similar position to me, I would love to communicate and share your thoughts and possibly take them to the PM.

Toughasoldboots Sun 29-Apr-12 11:00:44

If you were living separately but under the same roof- is that not a plea?
I don't really know much about it but I have heard that people do this.
Have you got legal representation?

Toughasoldboots Sun 29-Apr-12 11:02:28

Sorry, just seen that you have. Have you been on the rightsnet forum? They advise about things like that.

lisaro Sun 29-Apr-12 11:10:51

You were on benefits and moved another adult into your home. How is that not a change of circumstances?

Shakey1500 Sun 29-Apr-12 11:14:04

Sorry but I think they're right. It matters not, within the letter of the law, the circumstances surrounding the evidence. You might be able to argue a compassionate plea citing ignorance, but it is pretty clear within the terms and conditions of receiving benefits, that you must inform them of any changes.

hathorkicksass Sun 29-Apr-12 11:17:08

Why are you pleading guilty?

MrsMicawber Sun 29-Apr-12 11:22:12

I understand where you are coming from and I sympathise. However IME, HMRC and I would assume by extension DWP are a law unto themselves, as they are governed by their own regulations.

If your MP hasn't been helpful I don't know what to suggest - but I hope you get the help you need.

sashh Wed 02-May-12 05:00:50

What lisaro said.

I had a male housemate for a while when on benefits, I told them, they came round and checked we were not a couple and it was fine.

margerykemp Wed 02-May-12 06:16:05

There is law to legally define what a couple is in regards to benefit claims. It is in a social security commissioners decision. The test considers factors such as whether you have a child together and have ever been in a relationship which unfortunately you fail. However it also considers sleeping arrangements, cooking, cleaning, holidays, whether you were paying maintenance as an ex partner would, evidence of other relationships, shared social life, joint bills or debts, shared purchases, locks on doors, shared routine, etc. you shouldn't plead guilty but need lots of evidence to back up your side not just your and your ex's word for it.
Did you charge her rent or give her an occupancy agreement?

As for the dla claim, you don't automatically get it for having a congenital condition, your DS needs to prove he has mobility and or care needs. It is a vv hard test to pass and most applications fail.

ZillionChocolate Thu 03-May-12 06:50:32

I agree with MargeryKemp.

It sounds as though you are represented in the criminal proceedings. Perhaps you should ask for a meeting with your solicitor, to talk all this through.

BerylStreep Tue 31-Jul-12 15:56:17

How are you being forced to plead guilty?

Can your partner provide any evidence that she was actively seeking somewhere to rent at the time, but was not successful? For example, appointments with estate agents?

What was the court result?

KatieisScarlettinSpandex Tue 31-Jul-12 15:59:14

They look at "economic relationship"

When she lived with you did you provide food, electricity, etc? Did ex-p buy her own food?

MakeItALarge Fri 03-Aug-12 14:27:37

DWP have very little intrest in the 'details' ie were u together as a couple, who bought food or whether you were looking for somewhere rlse to rent. I had a friend in a very very similar situation, she was advised to plead guilty regardless of the details. Pleading innocent would mean the case would be tried in crown court with a possibilty of a prison sentance.

Unfortunatly benefit fraud is one of the few cases where you will be presumed guilty and it is up to you to prove otherwise.

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