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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 70181
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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if you have committed benefit fraud and gone to prison does

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if you have committed benefit fraud and gone to prison does the money have to be paid back as well

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What is the amount in the claim?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

£2,269 this was over 30 years ago

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

my husband - we were not married at the time, claimed unemployment benefit whilst working and he got caught and went to prison - I think it was for 3 months and at the time was not asked to make any payments. Over the last few years he has received letters from the DWP asking for the money to be repaid.He has ignored them as he did the prison sentence, the debt is now being referred to a solicitor. I just want to know that if a prison sentence was served and it has taken nearly 30 years to ask for this money does it have to be paid


Do you know if there was a compensation order? I suspect not if the conviction was 30 years ago.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes he did £500 and then served 3 months in prison. He also phoned the DWP 3 years ago to obtain evidence that he still owed this which they were gong to get from the archives but never received anything so as far as my husband was concerned he didn't have to pay

No, sorry.
I meant did the court order compensation? Probably not but just in case.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


And has it been paid please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes it was paid at the time over a period of months

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

He also claimed benefit twice after this incident and was not refused or asked to pay back the £2,269


If he has paid compensation ordered by the criminal courts then there can be no action arising from that.

However, that doesn't mean that they cannot sue in the civil courts although I have to say that if this is 30 years ago its very unlikely that they would and if they did their records wouldn't support it.

If he is on benefits now then they could impose a reduction but if he is not their only option is to sue.

Unfortunately, since this is crowns debt they are not the barred by limitation but generally speaking delay is fatal to legal action as evidence is lost and memories are affected.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No he is not on Benefits now and hasn't been for over 20 years - all I really want to know is that do we have to pay anything back as I don't want it to go to the Solicitors and end up paying court costs and interest on the amount or do we just set up a payment plan to pay it back now


Sorry if i'm sounding a bit niave but is it the DWP that sue the civil courts for the amount owed

They won't do that.

If this is a sum under £10k its a small claims court sum and it will be cheap to sue. You won't end up paying costs.

You do have to repay it if that is the genuine overpayment that they can prove. Whether they can or not is another matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your help Jo I think we will wait and see what the Solicitors say before we offer to set up a payment plan as they will need to prove it as my husband has asked for evidence before and not received anything back

It is reasonable to ask for evidence. Of course, overpayments should be repaid but you want to be confident that you do owe that amount.
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