Benefit claimant hit with fine after investigators uncover £16,000 in savings

9 January 2017

A Willingham benefit claimant has been hit with a fine and given a criminal record after failing to report £16,000 in savings while claiming support.

Beryl Ljung, aged 74, of 76 Balland Field, Willingham, was prosecuted for failing to notify South Cambridgeshire District Council that she had received a large sum of money disqualifying her from eligibility to claim Council Tax Support.

Mrs Ljung pleaded guilty at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday as she confirmed that she had failed to notify the Council that she had received funds in 2014 and increased income from a private pension.

In addition to already paying back the full amount owed to the Council, Mrs Ljung was fined £100, told to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and ordered to pay £734.88 to cover the Council’s costs.

The Council brought the case to court after officers established during the course of the investigation that Mrs Ljung had failed to notify increases in her private pension, savings and an overseas bank account held in Sweden.

The investigation was undertaken when data matching from other public sector organisations, including the Department for Work and Pensions, indicated that the Mrs Ljung had failed to notify an increase from income from a private pension since 2009.

During the course of the investigation Council officers uncovered increases in her private pension, a lump sum from her ex husband, bank accounts – including the ISA where monies from her ex-husband were paid into – and a bank account held in her sole name in Sweden. The ISA and Swedish account were not declared. This resulted in £2627.39 being claimed that she was not entitled.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council cabinet member for finance, said: “It is vital if you’re claiming benefits that you tell us about any changes to your circumstances. We are always happy to help and make sure you are able to claim what you are entitled to. However, we will not tolerate people who claim money they’re not entitled to as it takes it away from those people in genuine need. We always investigate when there is a need to do so and will bring people to book. Please talk to us when your circumstances change – if you do not you could end up in court.”

To report a change in circumstances visit www.scambs.gov.uk and click on the ‘report it’ button.

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