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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71038
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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please can you advise so I am clear. I have recently received

Customer Question

Hi please can you advise so I am clear. I have recently received a letter stating that I am being investigated by DWP for benefit fraud. I currently receive working tax credits and childcare tax credits. We have 3 dependant children together Leighton born 2008, Jensen 2009 and Harper 2013. We voluntary separated in 2009 when Aaron could not handle the fact we were having another baby. We resided at our mortgaged property living separate lives from Feb 2009 till Nov 2010. We then bought a bigger house in 2010 as with having 2 children and living separatly it was hard in a small house. That house was rented and we moved in 2010 it was easier to live separatly in the bigger house. He does his thing I do mine in the whole 6 years we have been separated we have only ever had 1 sexual encounter in Mar 2013 which was not in the property this also resulted in the third child. No sexual encounters have occurred since. I pay half the bills and he pays half and he gives me £160 every 2 weeks. My tax credits pays my childcare, and my bills plus contributing to the household bills. We are not in a position to afford to both buy properties at this stage in our life and this works. I can not find any legislation that states you can not live together and be separated as long as I am not financially dependant on him or him me. I am self employed hence the element of working tax credits. I have always been honest and when asked if I have a partner I say no but we reside in the same property I am told if you live separately and not as husband and wife then this is ok. Nothing no where States this can not happen. I am a loan parent I do claim the above I don't claim council tax benefit or rent etc just tax credits. Also HMRC state that you are married until you are legally separated etc or divorced which I am not so I always class myself as married. Can you claim this benefit in my situation and if so how can I prove this
Thank you very worried Emma
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you saying that you didn't tell them he was living there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They never asked they just said do you have a partner I said no I do not have a partner we live in the same property not as husband and wife and this have never changed in the whole time I have claimed tax credits since 2009
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If he is living there then that should have been declared.
I do actually agree that the forms are misleading. However, the fact that he is not your partner is not the issue. The issue is whether or not you are sharing expenses with him. Partners who are living separately can be sharing expenses - for instance somebody working away. Also, people can be sharing expenses with people who have the barest connection like lodgers.
Probably in this instance though they say he is your partner. Since you are living together that does give rise to an inference and it should have been declared I'm afraid.
Even if you are not together it still really should have been declared to them as you are sharing expenses in terms of utilities and mortgage etc.
However, that is almost certainly not their allegation. Their allegation will be that you are actually together I'm afraid.
Sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This is what I mean I have always stated that he is not my partner but that we share the same property just not living together as husband and wife I have never said that I live alone in the house as I never have but I have not lived with him as his wife
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
If you made this clear in the papers then it is not fraud.
It might lead to your benefits being stopped and a repayment but thery will struggle to prove fraud.