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Advice needed! Would this be considered benefit fraud?

(18 Posts)
hangsbyathread Sun 21-Apr-13 18:41:11

First post so please be gentle with me.

I am a trainee hairdresser and in receipt of housing benefit, child tax credit and income support. I need to do as many hair cuts on as many different heads as possible. Practice makes perfect and all that..

I friend who lives around 4 away from me has offered to let me cut her hair. Obviously i would be doing the hair cut for free as i am a newbie. She cannot come to me as she works during the day and i will need to go in once her kids are in bed. This will leave me out of pocket due to petrol. She has offered to give me £5 for my travelling expenses but its making me feel a bit nervous.

Does anyone know the rules on this kind of thing? Morally i believe there is nothing wrong with me being compensated for petrol i will be using to go and do something that also benefits her. I am not looking for peoples opinions on whether this is right or wrong. I would just really appreciate someone telling me whether i will get in a lot of trouble for a fiver.

Thanks for reading.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Sun 21-Apr-13 18:44:23

It's not a wage is it? It's reimbursement for travel expenses, so basically a gift.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Sun 21-Apr-13 18:45:24

Besides, nobody will know about it unless you declare it, and if you declared it as self employed earnings you would still end up making no profit therefore there is no benefit fraud as you aren't receiving more than you would get even if you did declare this money.

hangsbyathread Sun 21-Apr-13 18:45:54

Thanks for your reply... So you think chance it and if it's a one off i won't end up in trouble?

NorthernLurker Sun 21-Apr-13 18:46:49

Ask her to give you the fiver in the form of a gift card for a shop that you will use. Then it's clear it's a gift - because that's what it is isn't it? A gesture of thanks from her - like flowers for babysitting. I don't think £5 is going to be a major issue anyway but if you make it clear it's a small gift then you'll be more comfortable.

MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe Sun 21-Apr-13 18:48:27

It's a gift, really don't worry about it smile

hangsbyathread Sun 21-Apr-13 18:50:23

Thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Sun 21-Apr-13 18:51:57

How could you get in trouble though? Who is going to report you?

hangsbyathread Sun 21-Apr-13 18:55:44

The facebook army Ehric. i live in a small town and everyone knows (and some dislike) each other.

Viviennemary Sun 21-Apr-13 18:57:08

It would probably be better if no actual cash changed hands. People talk and you never know who could report you. It's obviously worrying you so it would be better not to accept money.

garlicyoni Thu 02-May-13 11:32:51

I know this is a bit of an old thread, but am fighting a rising tide of "scrounger shouters" myself so want to keep making things clear.

Going to see a friend and taking money for the petrol is not 'earning'. You can do it all day, all week, if you like; you would not be cheating benefits.

You are allowed to accept gifts of money, take out loans, win money or find money on the ground. None of this affects your benefits; you are allowed to have a life!

You are allowed to have up to £16,000 in savings (£11,000 for some benefits, and £6,000 for HB) or thereabouts, before it affects your entitlement.

The perception that people must be absolutely on their uppers, grubbing in bins for food, in order to have entitlement, is incorrect. The purpose of welfare is to save folks from ever getting to that point, and to shore them up while they improve their circumstances. I paid a lot of money into the system while working, and I do not expect people benefiting from my payments to grovel or apologise for doing a friend a favour!

BenjaminButton172 Fri 03-May-13 22:43:34

I work & still claim jsa & i am not committing benefit fraud.

Because i am a single parent the first £20 a week gets disregarded & anything else i earn gets deducted from my jsa.
I fill out an hours form when i sign on.

I am not certain but it is probably the same for income support.

I would declare it at the jobcentre because if u dont and someone reports you they could stop ur benefits while they investigate which could take weeks/months.

SodaStreamy Sat 04-May-13 19:29:59

She's not working though Ben, she won't get any income for the haircut nor is she asking for any

I wouldn't declare this , I may be wrong but as said up thread your entitled to life and people to exchange the odd fiver, bottle of wine, flowers whatever as part of day to day life without declaring it to the taxman

However OP, if it's going to play on your mind and make you anxious just don't accept it.

is she the sort of friend you would go round and share a chinese meal with? if so let her get a takeaway for you both to thank you.

What a horrible position that you are in worrying about the exchange of £5 might make you a benefit fraud. God I hate this system sometimes

BenjaminButton172 Mon 06-May-13 22:48:41

I didnt say that OP was working. I was saying that OP could do haircuts and get paid for them as long as they are declared. I maybe didnt word it properly in my first post.

SarahBumBarer Thu 09-May-13 21:13:09

Are any of your benefits dependant upon you not working (as opposed to having little income)? I would assume not since most benefits which are withdrawn if you work are also withdrawn if you train/volunteer or are otherwise not available for work. If that is the case then why not declare it (to HMRC)? If you are left out of pocket why not claim the tax loss and set it against your future profits?

Fuckwittery Thu 09-May-13 21:16:29

hmrc allowances for petrol expenses are 45p per mile.
so if its an 8 mile round trip, take 3.60 from her not a fiver and i think you'd be safe.

piratecat Fri 10-May-13 20:10:03

noone needs to know she gave you a fiver for the petrol op. who is going to know?

You are allowed to earn £20 on JSA, so if you really wanted to declare it next time you sign on, then do so. Be interesting to see what your advisor says about it.

BimbaBirba Mon 13-May-13 21:34:32

The issue is not the fiver. It's not remuneration so it doesn't need to be declared. The issue is why are you on IS while working?
If you put more than 16 hours per week into hairdressing you should be on working tax credits not IS. The fact that you're not paid is irrelevant.

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