Benefit Fraud Interview
Initially, you would usually receive a letter through the post inviting you to attend an interview under caution. There is no legal requirement for somebody to attend an interview under caution at the offices of the Department for Work & Pensions or the local council. However, failure to attend could influence a decision to have you arrested in order to answer questions.
Those who accept administrative penalties, cautions or who are convicted of benefit offences may be subject to the loss of benefit rules. It is therefore important to speak to a solicitor before attending any interview. Find Out More
People will usually be invited in for an interview under caution at either a Local Job Centre or Local Authority Offices. The interview is under caution which is as follows:
"You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you say can be given in evidence"
During the interview process, you will be asked questions about your initial claim form and any changes that may have occurred. Evidence will be put to you, which the Department for Work & Pensions or Local Authority say support their case. These authorities have wide ranging powers to obtain various types of evidence. They may conduct surveillance upon your home, contact employers for employment details, contact Banks for account statements and speak to people who know you to obtain witness statements in support of their case. Other Agencies may also be contacted but the previously mentioned ones are the most usual.
At an interview MJP solicitors will obtain the disclosure so you know exactly what the allegation is that you face. You will be provided with high quality Legal Advice in respect of the interview process and a decision will be made how to proceed.
Free Advice AvailableIf you have been arrested, interviewed or are due in court for a benefit fraud matter then speak to a solicitor today for free advice on 0333 011 0515 or contact us using the contact form on this page.
After The Interview
After the interview there maybe further investigations by the Authorities. However, at some stage they will refer the matter to a Benefit Entitlement Decision Maker. This person will decide, upon the basis of the evidence provided by the investigating officers, whether you are entitled to benefit at all, or, at a reduced rate during the relevant period covered by the investigation. If it is decided that you were not entitled to benefit or entitled to benefit at a reduced rate, the matter is then referred to an Overpayment Decision Maker. That person will decide whether any benefit has been overpaid and whether this should be recovered. Letters would be sent to you indicating what that overpayment is.
You have the right to appeal any overpayment decision, which must be done within 28 days of receiving the overpayment letter. However, there is legislation that provides for late appeals up to 12 months after that decision has been made.
MJP solicitors will advise you of this process at the interview and will refer you to an appropriate welfare benefits service such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux to deal with this on your behalf.
Once the overpayment decision has been reached the matter will be referred to the Department for Work & Pensions or Local Authority Solicitors who will make a decision on whether to prosecute you. As a general rule of thumb the following rules apply: -
- For overpayment amounting to approximately £2,000.00 the Department for Work & Pensions or Local Authority may offer you a caution or an administrative penalty. A caution is similar to a Police Caution and an administrative penalty is exactly the same but there is a financial penalty added on top of 30%. For example, if the overpayment was £1,000.00 and you received an administrative penalty you would be expected to pay £1,300.00 back.
- For overpayments ranging between £2,000.00 to approximately £35,000.00 the case can be dealt with in the Magistrates Courts.
- For any overpayment over £35,000.00 then the matter is usually dealt with in the Crown Court.
It is unlikely that any appeal may be heard before you would be summonsed to Court. It is important to note that it may take up to about 10 months for a case to actually go to Court, from the date of the interview.
Benefit Fraud Interview Under Caution
If you have been invited for an interview by any authorities such as the DWP, local council or police you should seek legal advice and representation as soon as possible. MJP solicitors can offer free representation at interviews under cautions at local centres/offices and at police stations and our services are available throughout England and Wales including Liverpool, Manchester and Southport.
Get in touch today and speak to our solicitors by calling 0333 011 0516, using our enquiry form to send us a message or you can leave your name, contact number and time below and we'll be in touch.