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Declaring benefit fraud please please help

(84 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

sadmum321 Tue 06-Dec-16 13:08:56

I have been reading posts on here for the last few days over people being caught for benefit fraud but none of the cases I have read can I relate to.

Basically I ended up on full benefits a couple of years ago (never been on benefits in my life) because I had a breakdown due to domestic violence.
I found the benefit system horrendous and ended up having CAB and MIND help me apply for housing benefit, council tax benefit, tax credits and also got ESA and DLA lower rate. It took months for these benefits to be put into place and I had to borrow off friends and family to put food on the table as I have 3 children.
I was completely doped up on all sorts of antidepressants. A year ago DLA asked me to go into an interview as I had been on it a year and for them to carry it on they needed to see me. Basically I managed to go for the interview shook and cried all the way through it and 2 weeks later got a letter saying they didnt feel my condition of depression qualified for DLA so it stopped.
I really found it hard to cope without this money so pushed myself into finding part time work.
I found a part time job 8mths ago for 25hrs a week min wage, I didnt feel ready to do this amount of hours but had been looking for months and it was the only job that came up and the only job where the boss agreed to give me a trial basis as he was aware of my illness.
Because I was not sure how I would cope and because of past difficulties in obtaining benefits I thought I would give it a trial period of a couple of months before I declared it.
8months on I still havent declared it and it has been stressing me out as I want to come clean. I am also currently undergoing investigations at the hospital for a suspected tumour as I have suffered other illnesses this year. I have also found the job I have been doing very stressful and its put my children under pressure as I have to work til 7pm every night and my children are on their own (my eldest is 15 so legally ok to look after my youngest) I also find my boss it rather horrid, not letting me have any holidays and making crude remarks so I have become very stressed at work and really need to leave.
I know I should have informed benefits immediately and know I would not be entitled to ESA so if I calculate what I have got in ESA over 8mths that itself comes to nearly £5,000 so god knows what the total amount will be once tax credits, housing and council tax benefit has been calculated, Im presuming around £10,000
What I would like to know is if I come forward and confess will they be kinder to me ie not send me to jail, not take me to court and hopfully just fine me and come to a repayment schedule to pay the money back, or will they treat me as they do people they catch out themselves?
Has anyone on here actually confessed to benefit fraud without actually being caught?
Im getting so much conflicting advise as other friends has said just give up the job and leave and dont declare to benefits as they are thinking because I havent been called in by benefits that I havenet been checked, but I cant live with this dishonest and cant risk just leaving my job and pretending it never happened as Im sure benefits will find out one way or another.
Im racked with guilt and feel terrible with what I have done but it was just one of those things where you keep thinking I will tell them next month or the next month and each month something happened and I had money to pay out and debts to try and clear and then things went bad at work so knew I needed to look at leaving.
I am sorry to you all for committing this crime and I would just like some advise on what to do. I have tried ringing CAB but their phone lines are full and I cant get to talk to anyone.
Once again I am so sorry and Im so ill with all this and worrying whether my MRI scans are going to show up a tumour which I am terrified about.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

RedHelenB Tue 06-Dec-16 14:34:48

I would say better to come clean because it would remove the worry you're feeling.. Also, working 25 hours with children probably would mean you would be entitled to some tax credits/ housing benefits.

kilmuir Tue 06-Dec-16 14:39:14

It's fraud. Come clean. You should keep working

LIZS Tue 06-Dec-16 14:43:46

Come clean asap. It is rare to get a custodial sentence unless it was deliberate and sustained deception. If you can come to a repayment agreement it may not even go to court.

sadmum321 Tue 06-Dec-16 14:45:34

Thank you.

I would keep working but I collapsed again a few weeks ago and my health is not good, Im having loads of time out for hospital/specialist appts and each time I collapse it means more time off work and my employer has given me a verbal warning because I have had a total of 8 days off in 8mths.

Yes Kilmuir I know its fraud and I have said that and I have said I want to point it out. A bit of support and advise would be more helpful not pointing out the obvious which I already know :-(

PigletWasPoohsFriend Tue 06-Dec-16 14:48:20

You need to declare it. You will get found out.

Best to come clean before that happens.

It is fraud and it is a criminal offence.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 06-Dec-16 14:53:57

What I would like to know is if I come forward and confess will they be kinder to me ie not send me to jail, not take me to court and hopfully just fine me and come to a repayment schedule to pay the money back, or will they treat me as they do people they catch out themselves?

They will treat you better than if you get caught; but they won't forgive you. You are unlikely to go to jail as that's rare, and handing yourself in is a good thing to do. You may be fined and have to repay the fine and the benefits you weren't entitled too; you are also likely to be investigated for prosecution - a caution is most likely if you have no history but it depends on the amounts involved and how honest you are. Any inkling that you are lying to the investigators may cause them to push for a harder penalty like community service.

Go and get it out of the way. Having this hanging over you must be awful. Tell the full truth so it's all dealt with now and doesn't reoccur later when you think it's dealt with.

OohMavis Tue 06-Dec-16 14:54:35

Admitting it may mean they won't decide to prosecute, and instead organise a repayment plan. Explain yourself, explain your depression and your worries. They are trained to use their discretion, but you will be interviewed.

You may get a caution, but it's very rare unless in the most extreme cases for benefit fraud to result in a sentence.

Just focus on how much better you'll feel when it's over and you know where you stand. The not-knowing will eat at you if you're anything like me.

And, I hate to say this, but just because they haven't contacted you doesn't mean they don't know. They investigate people and only when they've gathered evidence, act. Get in there first.

OllyBJolly Tue 06-Dec-16 15:49:46

Speak to them. By approaching them first you are giving the DWP an opportunity to work out a repayment plan for you. As a PP said it's quite likely that you would still be due some benefits so it might not be as bad as you think. And as another PP said, you might already be under investigation.

Honestly, you will be relieved once you have told them. It's one huge stress you won't have to worry about. The DWP can only reclaim what you have so will be keen to come to an agreement about manageable repayments.

I hope your health improves.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 06-Dec-16 16:06:25

TBH you were probably entitled to more benefits working than you were without.
You would still get all child tax credits , most or all housing benefit and council tax support, you would lose ESA but most likely gain wtc.

JustAnotherPoster00 Tue 06-Dec-16 16:17:54

My advice would be to come clean OP as others have said but I'd also make sure you take somebody with you when you do 'confess' also make sure you take your payslips especially from when you started and your end payslip/bank statement. Ask your ex boss if they will provide a letter stating when you started and ended. I can understand how this happened OP so try not to stress and make sure you have everything sorted before you report yourself, good luck flowers

SvartePetter Tue 06-Dec-16 16:30:41

You know, I once lived in a flat that had been redeveloped so the council didn't realise it was there. It took them almost 1.5 years to realise that I wasn't paying council tax. When they finally sent the bill I was so stressed about it that I had to get my boyfriend to open the envelope. I was lucky enough to have the money to pay it immediately, and the relief of having it settled was enormous, I hadn't realised how much I stressed about it.

It is not the same thing as your situation at all, but you know they re going to find out sooner or later so maybe rip that plaster?

sadmum321 Tue 06-Dec-16 17:31:57

I think one of the other main issues is when I did go on a benefit calculator to see what I would get working 25hrs a week on min wage the calculation come out showing I was no better off working, in fact physically I was worst off as not only do I not get to see much of my children as I work late afternoons into early evening so I only see them an hour in the morning before school and an hour at night before it's their bed time. I only have my children every other weekend as they have a contact order to go to their dads as I left him because of domestic violence which was the trigger of my depression and I took an overdose a few years ago.
It's just all been a bit too much as suffering depression and domestic violence you are put to the bottom of the pile, there is little support for depression as nhs are underfunded, benefits have come down harder on sicknesss benefits for depression and I was struggling hence the reason for getting a part time job which I wasn't really ready for and was advised by my gp not to go back to work yet. But my ESA was coming to an end next year and I was frightened they would reject me a second time so o pushed myself into this job. My children have become unhappy and stressed because I'm not at home, I come home tired and irritable, they are behind with their homework because I'm not home to do it with them and schools have mentioned this to me.
I know that's no excuse what so ever do have not declared my work but I have as trying to get out of a financial mess I had got into when I was struggling in benefits. I get no csa from my children's father as he works cash in hand and because he is not registered with HMRC they won't investigate.
I got kept in hospital today as after my MRI scan they done a bp check and it was 240/175, I actually discharged myself as I needed to get home to my children.
I just wish I knew for sure that if I go to benefits and provide everything (I have nothing to hide) that I could be sure they will not take me to court (do t think I could cope as been in and out of court for last 3 years with my abusive ex for domestic violence and it nearly killed me) I just wish they would tell me off adjust my benefits and come to a repayment plan that I can afford.
But from what you are all saying I may as well give up my job, not come clean and hope I never get caught and start again doing things the proper way. I know you all say I will get caught but there are millions of people out there doing this for short periods of time that never get caught as they can't physically check every single benefit claim. But I guess I can't live like that with that worry, but whether I confess or not it's going to be hell either way especially when I do confess as financially after fines and repayments I won't be able to afford to meet basic living costs and it's my children that will suffer and be so ashamed of me.
I wish my overdose all those years ago had taken me quietly away as life has been a living hell since domestic violence :-(

LIZS Tue 06-Dec-16 17:40:17

But from what you are all saying I may as well give up my job, not come clean and hope I never get caught and start again doing things the proper way.

I don't think anyone has suggested that confused You could still be investigated retrospectively. I wouldn't rely on online figures to give you the full assessment either.

OllyBJolly Tue 06-Dec-16 18:01:09

Are you paying tax and NI on your current job?

Presstheresetbutton Tue 06-Dec-16 18:06:23

OP. In your shoes I'd quit the job. Look for a new one after Christmas and then go legit when you have one.

I wouldn't confess.

It won't go down well here as everyone is whiter than white but you'd be stupid to hand yourself over to DWP for this. I think most people here have no idea what the DWP are actually like. Inept doesn't come close. Quit, wait for Xmas, find a new job, claim properly.

backaftera2yearbreak Tue 06-Dec-16 18:10:33

Don't say anything. Just quietly get on with it. It may catch up with you, it may not.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 06-Dec-16 18:10:42

Nobody can promise you that you won't be taken to court; although plenty of us with experience have said that if you hand yourself in now and are honest, it's likely to be a caution at worst - that doesn't stand if you get caught, if they find out rather than you telling them, they may well choose to prosecute you because it is prolonged, deliberate fraud.

when I do confess as financially after fines and repayments I won't be able to afford to meet basic living costs and it's my children that will suffer and be so ashamed of me.

The relevant people are likely to be much more reasonable about repayment plans if you admit to this and come clean. Show willing to repay. It is possible, when absolutely necessary, to continue to receive some benefits after an overpayment, whilst it's being recovered. You won't be left with nothing. You are likely to have a tight period whilst you're repaying it; but at the moment you're just extending that period - it will need to be paid back, and the fine will only get higher the longer it goes on, or the more it looks like the fraud was deliberately extended so you didn't need to pay it back.

How old are your children? They aren't likely to know about this, if they are young. They might if it comes up later, when they are more attentive.

I don't think you can wait. It doesn't sound like you're coping with the stress of being potentially found out every day; I wouldn't be able to either. It's hell imagining how it will be. In reality; there will be a way through it. You may be repaying fines and overpayments; but you won't be living under the shadow of being called in for an interview under caution, and having to try and convince investigators that you weren't intending to continue defrauding the government. Even if you stop the claim; you could be found out. People often are. Not everyone; but a lot of people.

Stop it now, whilst it's not likely to result in a court appearance. It will get better.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Tue 06-Dec-16 18:12:27

Hi I'm a benefit assessor for Housing benefit. I would advise declaring as soon as possible as I know for a fact that the councils are ramping up there use of RTI and HMBS which is basically a data match from hmrc - your employer declared to them how much you earn and then if that doesn't match what we've got on our systems a fraud investigation is opened up automatically and if the over payment is over £2,000 then they will try to prosecute you for benefit fraud.

Whereas if you admit the fraud yourself they will fine you but won't prosecute you.

Even if you quit your job the above will happen in April 17 as the earnings you've made will be sent to us end of the tax year.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 06-Dec-16 18:13:04

It won't go down well here as everyone is whiter than white but you'd be stupid to hand yourself over to DWP for this. I think most people here have no idea what the DWP are actually like. Inept doesn't come close. Quit, wait for Xmas, find a new job, claim properly.

I'm not whiter than white; but I've sat in on plenty of interviews for benefit fraud, and it's awful. It will be awful, when OP gets called in and treated like a criminal for committing fraud for an extended period.

It doesn't matter how inept the DWP is, it's mostly automatic these days. As soon as someone picks up the connection between OP's employment and the benefits; the work is done. They only need to send a letter to summon her to the IUC, then.

You may be able to live with the fraud, but OP sounds pretty close to the edge.

Angelitron Tue 06-Dec-16 18:20:25

Quit the job and own up. Get someone to support you though and a good doctors letter.

You will feel better when you have owned up. Honestly.

In the past I ignored bills and just popped them in a bag, one day I just opened them, called everyone and dealt with it. I felt much, much better. It wasn't as bad as I thought.

Just explain you have been stupid and want to put it right. Ask the PP who does this for a living, for the best words to use.

alltouchedout Tue 06-Dec-16 18:24:33

If you can, see a welfare rights advisor. They can help you inform who you need to inform. You are far, far less likely to face a criminal prosecution if you admit to it yourself and a knowledgeable and experienced advisor can help you. The morals of the whole thing aside, it sounds as if the stress is breaking you. Get some help in coming clean. Fwiw I commend you for wanting to disclose this: I used to do welfare benefits work in a drug and alcohol agency and I would have bent over backwards to support a client of mine who actually wanted to make things right.

Bumbumtaloo Tue 06-Dec-16 18:24:45

Honestly I would own up to not only the DWP but the LHA too.

The quicker you own up the quicker this will be dealt with.

Nobody can tell you what will happen to you apart from the relevant departments.

I know that one of the councils in my area will prosecute any housing benefit overpayment/fraud over £2,000 (my stepsister didn't declare her boyfriend moving in and this was the information she was given, she was hoping it would be below but wasn't).

I'm assuming you will be invited to an interview under caution and I would suggest seeking legal advice or at the very least speak to the ciizans advice bureau.

flowers

sashh Tue 06-Dec-16 18:26:39

Come clean. But get in touch with MIND and CAB first so they can help you. It may be a symptom of your illness that you couldn't declare at the time.

BUT depending on the work and the group you are in for ESA you may find you are still entitled to it.

YNK Tue 06-Dec-16 18:29:11

I wish you had appealed your loss of benefit, since it looks like you weren't really fit for work and your health has worsened.
The big lie you told yourself was that the stress of applying for benefits under the preset system was worse than trying to work when your health won't allow it.
What if you had an accident or caused one because you were ignoring your ill-health?
Once you get this straightened out, however you go about it, please put your health first and get support to make sure you get and keep the benefits you are entitled to.
I hope your health improves soon.

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