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JustAnswerKM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 42
Experience:  Court of Protection, civil litigation, divorce and inheritance
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I'm dealing with the estate of deceased and he is suspected

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I'm dealing with the estate of deceased and he is suspected of benefit fraud. If proven how far back can they go to recover payments ?
Thank you for your message. Unfortunately there is no cut off point, the paying body (The Department of Work and Pensions, local authority etc.) can recover money from the point the benefit fraud was committed. I hope that answers your question. Please rate my answer so I can be credited for it. Kind regards Krystel
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How can fraud (as opposed to negligence, error etc) be proven on a deceased person? If not proven is their ability to recover then limited to statute of limitation ?
Hello With these sort of cases, evidence comes down to the paperwork. Let me provide you with an example; if the paying body discover that the applicant (deceased in this case) was in receipt of additional income such as a private pension for example, and failed to declare it (or in this case, outright lied) on their claim form, that's enough evidence to prove that there was an intention to mislead. There are benefit officers now that try to obtain sound or video evidence but this is for exceptional circumstances as I suspect they wouldn't have the resources to do this for every case. If it is not proven that fraud took place, then no payments can be clawed back. I think what you're trying to ask is whether the paying body is statute barred in any way under the limitation act? The paying body have 6 years from discovery of the fraud to bring a claim against the estate. I hope that helps. Best of luck Krystel Please kindly rate my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I've been told that DWP can claw back all overpayments apart from their error so that seems at odds with what you say. Does "benefit fraud" involve lower burden of proof than normal criminal fraud?. Situation here is non-disclosure of savings going over the (oft-changing and complicated) prescribed limits so no evidence of clear intention to deceive.
You are correct they can claw back all over payments. I mentioned that it all comes down to the paperwork so if it is discovered that an error has occurred on the DWP's part then yes, they are liable for that mistake which could affect the sum they claw back.It doesn't sound like the deceased is being accused of "benefit fraud" as such and we will not really know until a claim is issued against the estate. It sounds as though the deceased is being accused of not being forthcoming at the time they made the claim. There may have been miscommunication. You will not really know until you receive details of the claim and perhaps a copy of file. You could ask the DWP to provide you with the file so you can see what exactly they're relying on. No party wants to go through costly litigation, so it's better that parties disclose documents very early on to try and reach a resolution without the involvement of the Courts. Benefit fraud does not involve a lower burden of proof than normal fraud. I hope that helps. Krystel
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