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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71054
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Last year I was investigated for benefit fraud, for claiming

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Last year I was investigated for benefit fraud, for claiming DLA, because I returned to work 17 hours a week and the DWP said, 'on the balance of probabilities I had been claiming fraudulently, otherwise I would not be now able to return to work' My GP stated that I had simply learned to manage my condition over the years, which is true. I have a progressive and degenerative disease which a number of consultants, GPs, MRI's and tests show and the DLA are in receipt of. Even so, they say it cannot affect me that much as I returned to work. They do not care that my condition fluctuates and Im fortunate to be able to work the hours I feel well, in a flexible pattern.
My solicitor, at the time, talked to them and the case was dropped, after a year, for lack of evidence against me.
Anyway, recently I have received an overpayment bill for £5000 and another form the tax credits for £6000 because if the DWP say I wasn't entitled to DLA then I was also not entitled to tax credits.
I cannot afford to repay this, and feel upset that I am actually disabled. I do suffer an awful lot, but I wanted to return to some measure of work and decrease my reliance on benefits. This seems to have worked against me. I have appealed but missed the deadline, and they say I must pay.
I have masses of medical support from Dr's who are shocked that this is happening in spite of clear medical evidence.
I never wish to claim DLA again, as this has brought me to the brink of suicide. I don't want anything to do with the benefits system ever again - BUT I cannot afford to repay this debt and I feel very wronged that I have to. Please can you advise me. I paid a one off fee to my last solicitor which only covered the investigation part, and not repayment appeal. Should I see another solicitor?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What are you hoping to achieve by doing this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Jo, Sorry I was having trouble understanding how to use this site.

I am hoping for my name to be cleared of fraud, as I never did fraudulently claim, as is shown by my medical evidence, and lack of their evidence to the contrary.

I am hoping for the overpayment to be written off, as it never was an overpayment.

I want them to read the full medical evidence which they never did, because they say I missed the deadline for a mandatory reconsideration. The DWP said they would only reconsider my appeal if I gave good reasons for not appealing on time. I think I did, but they wouldn't accept it.. But they already knew I had asked or contact to be via email or phone - and they still kept writing.

Are you still receiving benefits?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. They were stopped last year when the investigation started.

This claim for overpayments is backdated to the date I returned to work. I was receiving DLA in addition to wages, as the DLA isn't affected by work. There isn't a dispute there - but the decision maker said that said ' on the balance of probabilities' I wasn't that disabled to be able to return to a stressful job ( it isn't stressful, it was extremely adaptable to my needs, and I went to work on crutches)

If they read my full medical reports they would see how I managed to work - but they wont consider it, as I missed their deadline. I did this because I was suicidal, and couldn't face their brown envelopes, but they wont consider at all.

I suppose even if I failed to clear my name, the only and main priority for me is for them to just read my DR'S, psychologists and other health workers evidence.

Ok. Thanks.
Are you prepared to risk being prosecuted?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not at all - but I don't understand why I would be? But I cant even face their letters at all really, so I guess I cant face much of a fight.

I just want them to read my evidence really. It seems very wrong to have to repay a debt to them, that I honestly believe I was entitled to

Thank you.
You can ultimately always write to them asking them to reconsider. What you cannot do is force them to do so.
This will come down to whether or not you have the stomach for a fight.
You are no longer on benefits and so they cannot just deduct the alleged overpayment from your benefits which is helpful. You can always just refuse to pay and invite them to sue.
You do open yourself up to the risk of a criminal prosecution. It would be an attractive if they did that at this stage but you cannot hide from the risk.
More likely they would sue in the civil courts and you could defend on the basis that you seem to be raising which is that either there was not an overpayment or that if there was it was not your fault and you could not have known.
However, you do have to face the risk that you may have to go into court to establish this.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou very much for your direct reply. It s helped me decide what to do. Im pretty sure I would 'win' but it would be a long battle and I know Im up to it, so thanks for your honesty

No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’. You can also bookmark my profile
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Gosh Im meant Im NOT up to it! I cant even face the brown envelopes let alone a courtroom. Thankyou, though for making it clear to me. I will simply request that they do reconsider

No problem.
All the best.