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'Benefits virgin' is given fine
1:00pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in Ledbury
A MOTHER-OF-ONE who claimed £9,134 in benefits after mistakenly failing to declare her husband’s redundancy money has been fined.
Jayne Chopping of Roberts End, Hanley Swan, filed a claim form for jobseekers allowance and council tax benefit in August 2010, after her husband Wayne Chopping took voluntary redundancy.
According to her solicitor Mark Lister, her husband’s employer was in “financial straits” and it was “unlikely”
at the time whether any redundancy money would ever be paid, so Chopping filled in the forms correctly and sent them off.
However, after the claim was processed by the Department for Work and Pensions, and Malvern Hills District Council, redundancy payments of £2,700 a month were agreed.
“These payments were free of deductions for income tax - and that was where the error was made,” said Mr Lister, adding she had presumed the payments would not affect benefits payments either.
Chopping, aged 49, admitted failing to notify the DWP of a change in circumstances and wrongly receiving £7,022 in jobseekers allowance, further admitting to not telling the council of a change, receiving £2,111 in council tax benefit – both between August 2010, and July 2011.
Mr Lister said: “In the meantime, Mr Chopping has now secured another job and is making repayments.”
Deputy district judge John Davis was told £585 a month was being paid off and so far £1,450 of the cash had been paid back since July.
Mr Lister said his client was “a benefits virgin – she got it wrong.”
Mr Davis said he took account of Chopping’s previous good character and the repayments to date and fined her £175 each for both offences, ordering £85 costs and £15 victim surcharge.