Mum was overpaid £6K in benefits

Mansfield Magistrates Court

Mansfield Magistrates Court

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A Nottinghamshire woman was overpaid nearly £6,000 in benefits because she failed to tell the council her partner had returned to work.

Claire Marie Downey, 40, of Long Lane, Carlton-in-Lindrick, near Worksop, denied failing to notify Bassetlaw District Council (BDC) of the change which affected her claims to Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction, but she was found guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on March 4.

Tahira Lee, prosecuting, said: “Throughout the claim she was sent several letters with reminders to notify any change in circumstances.

“She claimed she informed the council about the change in her partner’s income, but they had no record of this.

“Her explanation was not thought to be robust or credible by council officers.”

The court heard that in August 2015, almost three years after her claim began, BDC were tipped off that her partner had returned to work.

She had received £5,995.97 in benefits and was paying BDC back the money.

David Verity, mitigating, said: “These proceedings have had a big effect on Miss Downey and her family. She has always been adamant that she did telephone the department.

“She denies the allegation but respects the court’s decision.”

Magistrates imposed a 12 month community order and told her to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work. She was ordered to pay £120 costs as well as a victim surcharge of £180.