Widow netted more than £9k after falsely claiming benefits
A 65-YEAR-OLD widow admitted receiving more than £9,000 in disability benefits after she failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that her health had improved.
Lillian Garner of Sea Bank Road, Chapel St Leonards, admitted failing to notify the DWP of the change in her circumstances between July 7, 2010 and February 2, 2013. Prosecuting at Skegness Magistrates Court, Nick Todd said Garner received disability living allowance for a number of years because she was unable to work and couldn't walk without crutches. In September 2012, the DWP received an anonymous call to say that Garner showed no disability and was regularly walking her dog on the beach.
As a result of this they carried out a surveillance operation and subsequently interviewed her.
She accepted that she had had a hip replacement and that since then her health had improved since 2010. Mr Todd said that £9,873 had been wrongly claimed since that time but Garner had agreed a repayment scheme with the DWP.
Mitigating, Gary Farmer said Garner had first claimed in 1992 because of arthritis and a collapsed disc in her spine, which meant she had to use crutches.
In 2008 a ball joint in her hip was replaced and the other one was done in 2010. He said she was waiting for an operation on her discs but, although she still used painkillers, she no longer needed crutches. He told the magistrates Garner accepted she was wrong not to tell the DWP and was stupid not to do so.
The magistrates said the offence was exacerbated by having been committed over a long period of time but they recognised she was repaying the money and that she had never been before a court before. She was fined £90 and ordered to pay £100 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.