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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I broke my back when I was 18 and Im now 42 . I was claiming

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I broke my back when I was 18 and I'm now 42 . I was claiming DLA until 2013 as it was stopped as they believe I'm not I titled to it. Although I was given a life award. I returned back to work in 2006, informing the DWP of this but they are saying I didn't inform them and they have no record of this but are aware of my heart condition which I informed them at the same time as returning back to work.. I haven't had any follow up medicals from the DWP as informed I would..and now I've been informed that I am going to court in April to arrange paying them back.. I'm worried that I will go to prison as I'm on a low wage and a single parent..please can u help.. Kind regards XXXXX XXXXX worried single mom. (Sarah)
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Are they taking you to a civil court or a criminal court?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Redditch magistrates court
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Charged with which section under the Social Security Act?

It will be on your summons sheet.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Section 111a (1a) and (3) of the social security administration act 1992
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. Thanks.

How much have you been getting a month roughly in DLA?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I was having the car on the car scheme so the only money I actually received was £80 per month for personal care..if I didn't have the car it would of been around £180
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

On my very rough calculations that would make the over payment in the region of £17,000 which is obviously a significant amount but probably not the worst.

Dealing with the criminal liability first, you will find the offence here

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/47/section/13

and basically they are saying that you failed to tell them dishonestly.

If you did tell them then you have a defence to the criminal charge. Obviously they have no record of your failing to notify but that does not actually mean that you did not.

If the matter does go against you at court then the starting point does say 6 weeks custody but you will not get custody. Its very unlikely you would get custody on a first offence of failing to notify rather than making a dishonest claim from the start. They will give you some form of community order appropriate to your issues probably like unpaid work and a compensation order that the money is repaid.

If you do repay something now then that will be very good mitigation.

Even if you win at court though that does not mean you don't have to pay. If you have been overpaid then you've been overpaid and it does have to be repaid regardless of the criminal liability.

There has been a case that has suggested that repayment is not due in certain circumstances but you basically have to show that your hands were entirely clean and that is always hard to do.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69780
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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