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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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My query concerns my being called into an interview under caution

Customer Question

My query concerns my being called into an interview under caution for benefit fraud. Simple facts are when filling in the forms for housing benefit I was just starting a part time job for two days a week. Shortly after I took on a second job of one day a week that I didnt declare. The reason is a medical one. I deal with anxiety and panic attacks. I have strategies in place to minimise stress, one of which is to deal with only two stressful actions a day and when they are completed to stop worrying about them. In this case I filled in the forms, sent them off and then focussed on dealing with the stress of the new job start. Do I need legal representation? Can I get free representation? What steps can I take to put my situation across to the fraud team?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : For now please let me know if it is the council or DWP? Also how much is the overpayment?
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

Hi Alex and thank you for helping. it is with Torridge District Council about a claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. Total amount in the original letter informing me of overpayment is £1864.67. I spoke to the office on the day I received the letter and an ongoing re-payment plan is already in place

Alex Watts : Ok. Then you don't need to worry, if you contest this then you can take this to a tribunal.
Alex Watts : but if you failed to declare anything then you are guilty.
Alex Watts : Its likely to be just a caution given the value and won't go to court.
Alex Watts : They will reclaim the overpyament if it is correct.
Alex Watts : So you don't need to worry about going to court.
Alex Watts : Can I clairfy anything for you about this today please?
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

Legaly though I did fail to declare the second job will that not be seen as guilty?

Alex Watts : Yes.
Alex Watts : depends on the income as well of course
Alex Watts : You may still be entitled to some benefit
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

I am on JSA

JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

and I am still recieving housing benefit

Alex Watts : ok. But in any event you won't go to court given the value.
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

ok thats a relief! So how do I best prepare for the interview? Should I take legal representation with me?

Alex Watts : you can but they know about the job but be honest
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

I am concerned about keeping a clear head in the interview as my anxiety causes panic attacks were my mind goes completely blank, would a letter from my gp for example be taken into consideration?

Alex Watts : no.
Alex Watts : Take a solicitor if you wish
Alex Watts : but rest assured it won't go to court, it's just a caution
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

Can I get free representation?

Alex Watts : Unlikely as there is no risk of custody
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

So what is a 'caution'?

Alex Watts : they caution you, you accept it and you don't do it again. It's a non court disposal
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

its as simple as that? A verbal rap on the knuckles?

Alex Watts : Yes. You may have to sign something, but that's it
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

hhmmm what might I be signing?

Alex Watts : A caution saying you accept it
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

ok you have no further advice for me on how to prepare for the interview or what to say?

Alex Watts : You committed the offence, they know you have and have evidence to show you did, otherwise they would not have asked you in for interview.
Alex Watts : I would be honest
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

ok thank you for your advice

Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything else for you?
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

No thank you

Alex Watts : You have rated poor service despite me giving you the legal answer?
Alex Watts : and the fact you won't go to court and just get a caution?
Alex Watts : what else do you want to know?
JACUSTOMER-fx2i8p1e- :

I would have liked a lot more information about how I can prepare for the interview, how I go about finding legal aid or assistance, what information to take with me to the interview. Yes you did give me a very short and factual answer to what you thought were my concerns - will this go to court. In my initial question to you I asked three questions which I had to ask you again in our chat to get an answer. I have consequently found a lot more information online that has helped me. I thank you for your short and to the point answers but they did not give me the information I was actually looking for.

Alex Watts : You can't really prepare. They have evicence of the offences. You accept you have failed to declare the job. Sadly therefore you are guilty. You can take a solciitor but you won't get legal aid as the first test is would you get custody, the answer is no. You can pay for a Solciitor to attend with you. They may give you a reduced rate given you are on benefit. I answered that it won't go to court given the value. You will be given a caution, so you sign to say you accept the offence and that is it. It's a caution so won't show on a criminal record.
Alex Watts : does that clairfy?