Benefit fraud teacher says claim was an ‘oversight’

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A SCHOOLTEACHER has admited fraudulently claiming more than £13,000 in benefits.

Frazer Hayes, of Neville Street, Platt Bridge, pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change of circumstances, which saw him claim £13,781 in incapacity benefit between November 2007 and April 2009.

A hearing at Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how Hayes, 48, was working as a supply teacher between the dates, yet stil claimed incapacity benefit throughout the time he was working at two schools in Manchester, without notifying the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The court heard how Hayes, started working as a supply teacher at Chorlton High School in Manchester in November 2007, where he earnt £120 a day. He then went on to work at Plant Hill Arts College in Manchester, where he earnt £17.16 per hour. He had previously been on incapacity benefit since 1998.

In mitigation, Kevin Liston said: “This is an oversight offence and at no time has he supplied false information. He sent a letter outlining his intentions which asked the Department of Work and Pensions to contact him if anything needed to change. They say they never received it, so he believed everything was correct.

“Whilst he has admitted that it was wrong to claim the benefit, the stress of working at a deprived inner city school, was making it hard to focus on the job.

“Mr Hayes is a man of good character who has suffered from stress and depression. He has been on legitimate incapacity benefits since his father died at the age of 58 and since 2009 he has been on them again.

“He has suffered through this, with his wife and him splitting up over this case and he also knows that he will be virtually unemployable because of this in the future. It will haunt him for decades to come.”

Hayes was sentenced to 140 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 court costs.