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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71135
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have recently been investigated for Benefit Fraud for

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I have recently been investigated for Benefit Fraud for housing benefit and it has been ruled that I have incurred an overpayment due to having capital over the 16k threshold. I received an overpayment letter saying I owed £15,750.00 but this amount is calculated from the first to the last date I claimed and doesn't take into account that I didn't hit the 6k threshold for 7 months and the 16k threshold approx a year after claiming. They haven't included anyou underlying entitlement to benefit in their calculations (my own calucluations bring the overpayment to roughly 11k). Should I ask them to recalculate the overpayment amount? I am scared that this will make court proceedings more inevitable or shall I pay the incorrect amount? Again if taken to court though this amount would see me receiving a higher punishment.

How did you come to fail to declare this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had no savings at the beginning of my claim until I received a student loan 7 moths later. I gave my mother money to put aside for daughter from this money not knowing that it was agaist the rules. I attended an interview under caution and when this was all explained I pleaded guilty.

Ok. There is a risk either way. That is the truth of the matter.

They may prosecute you even if you don't ask for recalculation. I can see why you would want them to recalculate as this is just plain wrong.

They shouldn't summons just because you ask them to correct an error but we all know the reality of human nature.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I fully intend to pay back all of the money immediately and will make it clear that I am not contesting that I am at fault for causing the overpayment just that I think it may be less as from their calculations my claim was fraudulent from the outset which it was not. Do you advise that I ask for a recalculation?

I would in your position. The saving is likely to be worth it.

If that annoys them and they start considering a summons then that is a risk. People are like that.

But it would be worth it here.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If I do pay the incorrect amount and they did take me to court could that mean I get a harsher punishment as it is quite a bit higher? I am just trying to weigh up the possibilities

No but it is the conviction that you want to avoid.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
in your opinion should I appeal the amount or overpay and hope that means I avoid a summons?

In your position I would ask them to recalculate.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advice.

No problem.

All the best.

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