Mum caring for son battling cancer rapped by court after benefits overpayment

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

The mother of a boy battling cancer was overpaid by more than £6,000 in benefits when she started working, a court heard

Jodie Thorpe, 35, started claiming carers’ allowance as she looked after her son, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2011 and had septicaemia and meningitis.

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Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court was told that she was entitled to the benefit at the time and had no other source of income.

But Nicola Yeadon, prosecuting, said that Thorpe had failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when she started working as was her legal duty.

She was employed by two agencies between September 2015 and April 2018 and worked more than the allowed hours.

This led to Thorpe, who is married and has two other children, being overpaid by just over £6,000.

Ms Yeadon told the bench that Thorpe was interviewed and said she had not informed authorities of her employment as she had been busy, particularly with childcare, and it had slipped her mind.

Thorpe, of Astley Brook Close, Astley, pleaded guilty to dishonestly failing to notify the DWP of a change in her circumstances that she knew would affect her entitlement to carers’ allowance between October 12, 2015 and April 8, 2018.

A probation officer told the court that Thorpe had been working around her son’s appointments at the time and was now employed full-time as a support worker.

She said she was “very remorseful and regrets it” and had started paying back the money she owed in January this year.

Bob Toppin, defending, said Thorpe had no previous convictions and had admitted the offence straight away.

He said: “I’m always sorry to represent people like her.

“It’s a one-off and will never happen again.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work.

Thorpe must also pay £85 prosecution costs and £85 victim surcharge.