Care worker was £4,700 benefits cheat

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A WOMAN claimed nearly £5,000 of incapacity benefits while working for a care home.

Kayleigh Hamed, 25, of Windlass Court, South Shields, had been claiming the benefit legally since 2007 as she suffered from panic attacks.

But she failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when she took up a job as a care worker with Four Seasons Health Care Limited in October 2010.

She was wrongly paid £4,700 until August last year.

Investigations by the DWP uncovered the false claim.

Hamed pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to incapacity benefit at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Because she had no previous convictions and admitted the offence, magistrates handed her a 12-months conditional discharge.

John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “She had been claiming incapacity benefit since September 21, 2007, due to panic attacks.

“She failed to report that she had started working with Four Seasons Health Care Limited on October 16, 2012.

“When she was interviewed, she said she understood the benefit rules and knew working would affect her benefits.”

Ian Cruickshank, defending, said: “The claim was not fraudulent from the outset – it only became so when she failed to notify about her change in circumstances.

“She will most likely be dismissed by her employer because she is working with vulnerable people.

“I would ask for you to deal with her on that basis.

“She is a young lady with no prior convictions.

“There has been a significant delay in this case coming to court, which has added to her stress and anxiety.”

Mr Cruickshank added that Hamed has already begun to pay back the overpaid cash to the DWP.

Magistrates also ordered her to pay a victim surcharge of £15.

No court costs were ordered due to the amount of money she has still to pay back.