Woman admits falsely claiming £13k in benefits

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A mum fraudulently claimed more than £13,000 in benefits after failing to declare she was living with her partner.

Diane Brown, 38, pleaded guilty to three counts of dishonestly making a false statement to claim housing benefit, job seekers allowance and employment support allowance at Wigan Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The court heard how she was claiming the benefits on the basis that she was an unemployed single parent with no other means of support but had failed to declare that she was living with her partner Christopher Brown.

This resulted in her being overpaid £13,146.47 between March 2013 and April 2015. But Michael Ellis, defending, said she had not made the error intending to make a profit but when she first claimed had not been permanently living with Mr Brown, to whom she is now married. But she did admit that the money had been fraudulently claimed.

He said: “She has never been in trouble before and is paying back £180 a month to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and has been doing that for the last nine months.”

The court heard how Brown, of Culcheth Avenue, Abram, was the sole career for her eldest son who is autistic and also suffered from a number of illnesses herself.

It had been a year since Brown was first interviewed by the DWP and the court was told the wait for the appearance had been a big strain on her and her family.

The court also heard how Brown was now too scared to claim further benefits in case they made another mistake despite the fact neither she or her husband were working and they were living off the money she received from personal independent payments, the replacement for disabilities allowances. Brown was given a three-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay court costs of £85.