A MAN wrongly claimed over £4,000 of benefit payments while also claiming a miner’s pension – because paperwork was ‘too boring to read’.
Edwin Golightly, 59, of Newmarket Walk, South Shields, failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions that he had a mineworkers pension when signing up for both Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance.
He was overpaid £3,972 of Jobseekers benefits between March 6 and December 3, 2011 and £114 in Employment Support for a short period in 2009.
Yesterday, he admitted three counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
He was fined £73 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 after magistrates heard he is already paying back the overpaid sums.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “Evidence came to light that Golightly had withheld information from the DWP regarding an income he was recieiving from a mineworkers’ pension.
“He had been overpaid Jobseekers Allowance for 258 weeks and one day and Employment Support Allowance for seven weeks and four days.
“When interviewed he said he never read any of the correspondence from the DWP. When asked why he didn’t answer the relevant questions on the form, he said he found them boring to fill in.
“He confirmed he didn’t read the questions. He said he thought it was just a formality and signed the forms.”
Christopher Brown, defending, said Golightly had signed on for benefits between periods he was working and times he was not fit for work.
He said: “His assumption was that there was joined up Government thinking and, as he was paying tax on the pension, the DWP would know about it.
“It would appear that this was clearly not the case. He didn’t set out to carry out a money-making fraud.
“He is deeply ashamed and embarrassed and is sorry for what he has done.
“He has never been before the courts in any way in his life.
“He is paying back the money at £10 a month but has said he will pay £100 a month when he is back in work.”