A SOUTH Tyneside woman has admitted defrauding the benefit system out of almost £10,000.
Susan Waggett claimed a total of £9,793 illegally in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit between April 2008 and December 2013.
It was an oversight on her part that she needed to declare.Zeena Begum, defending
Over that time, she failed to inform the authorities that her husband was being paid a miner’s pension, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.
Waggett, 55, of Landseer Gardens, South Shields, admitted two charges of failing to notify changes of circumstance affecting social security benefit and two charges of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefit.
She was given a 24-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 surcharge.
Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting, said: “From April 2008, her partner was in receipt of a miner’s pension, and from that date onwards, she failed to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that this income was coming into the family home.
“It would obviously have impacted on her income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit claims.
“The total overpayment was £9,793, which will be recovered by the DWP. When she was asked why she had failed to notify the authorities of this, she said she had made a mistake.”
Zeena Begum, defending, said: “My client has never been in trouble before.
“It was not a fraudulent claim from the outset. It was a legitimate claim to that benefit in 2003. Unfortunately, when her husband began to receive the pension, she failed to declare that.”
Ms Begum said her client, her husband and their two daughters had all been employed at electronics plant Viasystems in South Shields.
When the firm went out of business, the couple were made bankrupt and they lost their family home.
Ms Begum added: “That triggered Mr Waggett to suffer from a number of health difficulties.
“At the same time, Mrs Waggett was going through various difficulties and was looking after her mother and her husband.
“It was an oversight on her part that she needed to declare. Her understanding initially was that the miner’s pension was something separate. She now accepts that she should have done that.
“Mrs Waggett has taken steps to get employment as a result of everything that has happened today and has found employment with a cleaning agency and has already started paying back the money owed.”