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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Cumbrian dad-of-two admits £4,000 benefits scam

A young father claimed nearly £4,000 in housing and council tax benefits after failing to tell his local authority he had got a pay rise.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, Simon McFayden, 25, admitted two charges of failing to notify Allerdale Council that his circumstances had changed in a way that affected his entitlement.

Ruth Pallister, prosecuting, said that when the defendant, lodged his initial claim for housing and council tax benefit in April 2010 he was working as a sales assistant.

He was earning just over £500 per month.

But in November 2012 McFayden told Allerdale Council his circumstances had changed because he had moved to his new home in Park Road, Wigton.

No other change in his circumstance were mentioned, Mrs Pallister told the court.

The authority wrote to his employer in July and they confirmed that the defendant had been promoted to the position of team leader.

During the three years when he was claiming too much housing benefit – and council tax benefit – the total overpayment he was given came to £3,980. Most of that was housing benefit.

Keith Thomas, for McFayden, said his client’s inital claim for housing and council tax benefits had been guinine.

He had notified the tax credit authorities of his promotion at work, but wrongly believed that they would then tell Allerdale Council.

More than £600 of the overpayment has already been repaid, said Mr Thomas, who pointed out that his client has no previous convictions and has two dependent children with his partner.

“He has done what he can to rectify the situation,” said Mr Thomas. “In effect, it’s a failure by his omission to tell the local authority. He readily admitted the situation.”

Magistrates imposed £180 in fines, £85 court costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.

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