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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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My friend was reported to the DWP fraud dept, accused of

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my friend was reported to the DWP fraud dept, accused of working, which is ridiculous he has a LD and mental health issues, and has never worked, the DWP said its probably a malicious call but we have to follow this through nowhe had to go for a compliance interview and the job centre a month ago, they asked if he had any savings and he said yes savings of 11,000, the interviewer said well we should be informed of savings over 6k, he's now paying back £22 a week for the current assets which he has in his bank(however he had a letter in 2012 saying he's entitled to contribution based and income related, and only to inform of savings of 16,000 never mentioned a 6k threshold and I've checked all the letters and forms and they state 16,000 (not 6k)!made up of
£110 CB & £70 IRthe interviewer said it will take up-to three months for a answer, on wether any overpayment will need to be paid back, and they would have to go back through years of bank statements?my friend did not know that he had to declare any savings for this matter because he was migrated over from incapacity to ESA Support group, and when he was awarded his award letter said contributions based and IR and to inform of savings at 16,000can they claim so much back? if so how much and what percentage, i assume thy can only claim on the IR not the contributions based - and can this be challenged because he wasn't aware, the letter he has never said 6k or more in savings, he has the letter which states 16kcan he be prosecuted for this oversight which isn't even is fault, I've read some where that if overpayment is 2000 it can goto the CPS? i would assume is overpayment at a guess is about 4,000
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Is there any reason you think he may not? He seems to accept an overpayment?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry I don't understand your responseHe doesn't accept the overpayment as on his letter dated 2012 stated 16,000 never mentioned a threshold of of a person has 6,000 savingsThe gov website says if you have savings of 16,000 you can't get ESA but his savings are 11,000 he never knew that he had to declare it because he had no information to say thisBecause of his multiple conditions and learning disability he didn't understand he read the letter as 16,000See file link http://s32.postimg.org/6ky7kqc2d/image.jpgAre you familiar with benefit law?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I may have posted this question in US I wanted UK lawyer
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
You are in the UK section.But he had over £6k and didn't declare it and was paid out roughly £4k?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes he had over 6k he didn't declare it because he didn't know he had to declare it please re read above.See the image file I've sent you it states clearly 16,000 there's no mention anywhere in the letter about if you have savings over 6k you must inform us. (Plus he has a learning disability)So by my workings out he owes approx 4K in overpayments because a part of benefit is not means tested the income related about of £70 a weekHe is currently paying back £22 a week because he has capital of 11k in the bank currently, they said they will get back about the overpayment
Can please please give a more detailed response on where he stands with this?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Yes, I understand that but the plain fact remains that he had more than £6k and it wasn’t declared and the rules say that he must. The fact that he didn’t know would be a defence to the aggravated version of the criminal offence but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to repay. If he has received £4k in benefits in a circumstance where he has more than £6k then that is an overpayment and it must be repaid.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
They could prosecute him under the criminal law. £4k is an amount as which they would normally be looking to do so. If they have not then they may have accepted it was an honest mistake. There is no way of knowing that really.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So if they prosecute him under criminal what can he get a jail sentence?He's willing to repay, but the fact no where in his letters state you need to inform of over the 6k threshold capital limit - so that's a blame on there part, if people don't no these things are they expected to go looking for the information - when he has a learning disability and he's just going by the letter he received which states 'if you or your partner .... 16,000 nothing about the 6k limit threshold
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, he won't get custody. Probably just a fine.I'm afraid that if you claim benefit the onus is upon you to check the rules. This particular one is quite well publicised. The £16k upper limit is an absolute bar but the £6k lower is also quite liberally written across their literature.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When you say he won't get custody? Can you explain please?What sort of fine could be obtain?Yes I guess he should have checked the rules but people with learning disabilities don't search the Internet for all the rules and I'm sure people whom don't have a learning disability know how to do this...However he just read the letter which said 16k of he knew that there was a 6k threshold limit he would have declared back 4/5 years ago that information was just via a letter, I've looked on the website it says 6k but that's of your on income related he's on both parts contributions based (which is not means tested) and his other part income related (which is means tested)
I gues most people either have one or the other IR or CB but he has both contributions based and income related
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
He will not get custody. I can't think of a way of phrasing it differently. He will not go to prison.It is going to be a conditional discharge or a fine if prosecuted.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But even a conditional discharge is not fair- when he didn't understand or know of the 6k threshold surly to be even punished this way with a criminal record is injusticeWouldn't they take into his learning disability and his mental health condition- it's a genuine honest error not his fault at all
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No. It is not relevant. It cannot get any lighter than a conditional discharge and that is not really very likely I'm afraid. He has over claimed what is ultimately public money.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So he would either get a fine or a conditional discharge? Or both....Because they didn't explain it right he gets punished that's so wrong - if he knew he would have declared he never knew about this threshold of 6k it was never mentioned in the letters he had, what if he offers to pay it all back will he still be punished through no fault of his own
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think he would just get a fine than a conditional discharge
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I think a fine is more likely.This is £4k and a false claim from the start.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok thankyou for your help, il pass the information onto him, thanks, ***** ***** dont see it has a false claim, has he met all the criteria standards etc, he just was not aware of the threshold, and surly they shouldnt expect people to research all this information.

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