If you have been informed that you are under investigation by the DWP for benefit fraud then it is extremely important that you receive legal advice.
The benefit system and application process can be a confusing one, and applicants will be expected to sign a declaration to confirm that the information that they have provided is true and correct, and that the applicant is under an ongoing obligation to notify any changes in circumstances.
Most applicants will sign this declaration without fully understanding or appreciating the possible consequences. This can lead to allegations being made that there has been an overpayment of benefits that has been caused by either dishonesty or a deliberate failure to inform the DWP of a change of circumstance.
Examples of benefit fraud can include:
Most people may be surprised to learn that the Department for Work and Pensions have the power to interview suspects under caution, in very much the same way as the Police would also interview a suspect. Suspects rights are protected by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice meaning that they are entitled to have legal representation present. It is extremely important that you have a legal representative present with you if you are invited to interview.
If you have received a letter from the DWP inviting you to attend for an interview under caution, then it is important that you receive legal advice. You are entitled to legal representation at that interview, and it is important that you exercise that right. Poole Alcock have specialist defence solicitors available to represent you during your interview.
You may be eligible for legal aid for representation at an interview under caution. We at Poole Alcock will be able to advise you whether you satisfy the criteria for legal aid. If you are ineligible for legal aid, Poole Alcock will offer you competitive rates for advice and representation.
Once you have been interviewed then a decision will be made whether the case can simply be dealt with by the overpayment being repaid, whether a financial penalty should be imposed or whether a prosecution is pursued. The investigation and decision making process can be a lengthy one, taking months, and even years in more complex cases.
If you have received a summons telling you that you are facing prosecution for an allegation of benefit fraud then it is important that you receive legal advice and representation at Court.
Legal aid is available for benefit fraud prosecutions, subject to your means. At Poole Alcock we will be able to advise you whether you will be eligible for legal aid.
At Poole Alcock we understand that this investigations by the DWP can be stressful and upsetting experience. Our experienced team will deal with your case professionally and compassionately, and help you through each process.Contact Us Today
Please submit your information and a member of the Poole Alcock team will respond to you as soon as possible. If you have a quick question, please feel free to call 0800 389 7093
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