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Proving I havent commited benefit fraud

(11 Posts)
saffy98 Mon 27-Jul-15 16:16:28

Hi, please help, in a bit of a pickle.

okay so I live with the parents as I cannot afford a place of my own, I am unable to work due to agoraphobia and extreme anxiety issues, so have been claiming ESA.

5 years ago my mums friend asked if her son could come and stay with us for a while, he was having some problems in their home town, was struggling to find a job and wanted a new start. It was only ever meant to be temporary and he stayed on a sofa bed in the dining room. Anyway, he quickly became a part of the family, helped me out lots with my illness, found a job, but his financial input helped my parents out alot, so everyone agreed he could stay longer term. recently we have become more than friends, and for the last month or so he has been sharing my room. Things are looking like they could last, so I was contacting the benefits office to inform them of the change in circumstances.

When I spoke to my bf about informing them, he mentioned they would probably think we had been together this whole time, i dismissed it, I've heard they check with friends and family and when they all tell them the truth that would be the end of it. Then this morning my bf made a confession, that his boss and his work colleagues have thought we were always in a relationship, since he moved in, as this is what he told them back then!! I asked him why, and he said telling them he and his gf are staying with her parents while they save up for a house sounded much better than hes staying on his mums friends sofa. NOW im panicking. Will they ask his boss? are they allowed to do that? I'm now too scared to make the phone call telling them we are together in case they accuse us of being together longer than what we are saying. I can't eat or sleep from worry, terrified imagining myself having to go to court and all kinds of things.

Please, help me, I dont know what to do. If I can't find a way then he is going to have to move out to avoid me getting into trouble, because I can't not tell them. HELP!!

Viviennemary Mon 27-Jul-15 16:49:41

I can't see how this could affect your claim for ESA. If your parents are claiming housing benefit or a rebate on their council tax then it would affect it if they have a lodger staying. But that's up to them and not you. I can't see how you'd be in trouble for this.

Coffeemarkone Mon 27-Jul-15 16:54:09

Please try to stop worrying.
He does not claim right? Now if you were claiming JSA, then that could be a problem, but you said ESA. Not sure if being part of a couple would affect that.
You need to put things straight ASAP but in the meantime please dont worry too much, you need your sleep!
Nobody is going to court btw.

Bubblesinthesummer Mon 27-Jul-15 16:55:24

Which ESA group are you in?

stonerstitch Mon 27-Jul-15 18:17:32

If you're on income based ESA it would affect your claim as you need to claim income based ESA as a joint claim if you are in a couple, and so his income would be taken into account (your claim would probably end if he is working full time as he'd be expected to support you as part of a couple). If you're on contributions based ESA then your claim would not be affected. You can be on income based ESA whether you're in the support group or work related group.

But it's extremely unlikely that they'd investigate as far as asking his boss/colleagues, unless there's been a tip off of suspected benefit fraud. It wouldn't happen just as a routine part of notifying change of circumstances, so there's no need to worry there. They will probably ask the exact date you became a couple though.

RepeatAdNauseum Mon 27-Jul-15 18:22:41

You need to tell them that he's living there. They'll put two and two together eventually anyway, and you are committing benefit fraud at the moment, because you're together and you haven't told them.

They are unlikely to start an investigation because you've told them that you're now an item. If they do, they'd talk to your family and friends - they don't tend to involve bosses. You can submit proof too, like statements from your parents saying he slept downstairs until XX date, and proof that you bought food separately and didn't share bills, etc. I wouldn't worry about it unless they announce an investigation, though, it's unlikely to happen.

Noeuf Mon 27-Jul-15 18:30:53

Is it actually longer? It just seems odd to claim a relationship with someone. If not, just tell them and it should be fine.

saffy98 Mon 27-Jul-15 18:47:26

sorry i should of explained further, my bf works part time 20hrs per week, my parent own their home and don't get any benefits (think my mum might get working tax credit).

viviennemary - yes pretty sure they will deduct or even stop my money, which is fair enough.

coffeemarkone - cant get it out of my head hun, i know i need to tell them and will be doing, and telling them when so i can repay them what i owe them, but so scared as i cant prove that date, unless they count facebook relationship statuses lol

Bubblesinthesummer - income based WRAG

RepeatAdNauseum - they know he is living here, but dont yet know we are in a relationship. I just havent told them yet.

Noeuf - no its not longer, I don't get what seems odd?? Thats my problem though, I can't prove how long it has been

thanks for replies people, I am just so worried sad

RepeatAdNauseum Mon 27-Jul-15 18:52:32

Sorry, I was multi-tasking. Yeah, you need to tell them that you are now in a relationship, as of XXX date. They will send you a form to include his income details on, and then re-evaluate your benefit.

There is no reason to believe that they will suspect you of benefit fraud for the period before you were together. You are now knowingly committing benefit fraud, though, because you are together and you haven't told them. If they find out now, you'll have a hard job getting them to believe that you haven't always been together, because they'll think they "caught you out". Tell them when it started, and it doesn't look like you're hiding anything.

saffy98 Mon 27-Jul-15 20:02:34

i know i am right now, but will confess and pay back whatever they deem ive been overpaid by. ive no intention of continuing.

do you not think seeing we have lived together for years is suspicious enough to investigate on its own? sorry, i just feel really trapped at the min. like i want to do the right thing but worried ill get in trouble anyway. dont think they will mind two overpayments, ill offer to instantly pay it back

MarkRuffaloCrumble Mon 27-Jul-15 20:09:51

They can't prove a relationship and if you are adamant that your relationship started on XX date and your BF backs you up then there shouldn't be a problem. Sharing a house doesn't automatically mean you're together, although thefact that he didn't have a room won't help your story!

However, your parents' word is more reliable than his boss who has obviously only heard what one of you SAID was happening, rather than your folks who have been party to what's been going on from the inside.

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