Cut a long story short, a very good, old family friend (I call her my Aunt) of mine has been told she's committed benefit fraud.
She works full time and also had a night shift on a Saturday evening at another work place. She informed the benefit people of this night shift and all her other work, as you're supposed to do. She's been on and off benefits for various reasons for years, and is considered to be low income.
The other week she stopped her Saturday job and instantly went down to tell them that she had stopped doing her Saturday night shift. To which they responded 'what night shift? We have no record of this.' Some stupid bint has obviously cocked up and not recorded this information so it's being treated as fraud as they have overpaid her by about £1,600. Because they have no record of this other shift they think she's not told them about it. Because this has been over a few years, the extra they were paying her wouldn't have been noticable.
My Aunt is honestly one of the most honest, kindest people I know.
What can she do? On top of the £1,600 they will also charge her 30% of that ammount, I can't remember why though. Interest perhaps. She doesn't have this money, she has very little and always has had very little. Not to mention that 'fraud' on her record will mean she'll struggle for work in the future etc.
Why on earth would she tell them she had stopped working if she never told them she had started the night shift? It makes no sense at all to dob herself in, now does it? I can't imagine why the benefit office didn't think of this.
I really don't know what to suggest, though. Sorry. Bumping for you, and hoping somebody useful comes along.
littlewoman that's exactly what I said! Why would anybody try and trick the system to then walk into the office and let them know she has actually been working. Muppets!
Luby she just went down to the offices on both occassions to let them know.
It's really winding me up, the s**t she has gone through in her life, I honestly would have jumped off a cliff after half the stuff she's put up with in the past! And yet she still remains the nicest, sweetest most honest person I know!
Some idiot has obviously not logged her working hours when she told them about her night shift, so it now appears to them that she's committed 'fraud.' I'm so angry for her!
Can she get any legal aid? She has NO money! She is the poorest person I know, and has always struggled financialy.
Hi. A similar thing happened to me today. I started a job 2 weeks ago, I stopped claiming IS and started claiming WTC and CTC. I was told by the DWP that I was eligible for a 4 week run-on of HB and CTB, and they would let HB dept know. Since I hadn't heard about the run-on from the HB dept, I rang them today. They hadn't been told I had stopped claiming IS, and thought I was still claiming as an unemployed lone parent. They wanted proof of my 4 week run-on, so I've sent my letter from DWP to them. I also rang DWP, and they've emailed the HB dept. My claim for HB has been stopped until this is sorted. I know it will be sorted, but if I hadn't rang the HB dept, I could've been looking at being accused of fraudently claiming HB and CTB. It's scary when it's not your fault. I have sympathy for your friend, it's always the honest ones who end up worse off.
It sounds like she should go to the Citizens Advice Bureau, or possibly a Law Centre, or contact the local MP/councillors to take up the case on her behalf. The fact that she was trying to let them know about her change in circumstance and that she has done previously should strengthen her case that this shouldn't be treated as intentional fraud.
I don't suppose she's a union member in her full time job? Union members can get access to legal advice and it might also help if she has problems with her current employer.
I would also advise that your friend puts all changes in writing and keeps a copy as well as telling in person in future.