What happens if you’re accused of benefit fraud?

If you have been accused of benefit fraud, this is undoubtedly an unsettling and scary thing to experience.

Understanding what comes during a benefit fraud investigation process can help you to prepare for your defence and give you some much-needed clarity regarding what it is investigators will be seeking. Certainly, this will likely be a stressful time for you, but with the correct information, you can make sure that your case has a good chance of being resolved and that you reach a desirable outcome. With this in mind, we outline to you our guidance on dealing with a benefit fraud accusation. 

What is benefit fraud? 

In general, benefit fraud is characterised as being committed when someone has claimed benefits to which they were not entitled to with the intention of doing so, an example being, by not reporting a change in circumstances or by providing false information.

In this scenario, benefits fraud could be carried out when an individual fakes an illness or an injury which may prevent them from working, so they can, in turn, claim unemployment benefit. Benefit fraud may also be committed if someone fails to report that they are living with someone who contributes to the household income, so they can protect any tax benefits they receive.

In each of these circumstances, what is key is that a person will be receiving a benefit, a payment or a tax break, that they are not entitled to.

What happens during the investigation process? 

If an individual has reported you for benefit fraud, but you are a genuine claimant, there is very little to be concerned about. However, it is understandable that this situation may make you feel unsettled, regardless of if you know you have done nothing illegal. The first thing to do is to stay calm. Benefit fraud investigation processes can take a while – so it is crucial that you stay as calm and collected as possible to lower the impact of the investigation process on other areas of your life.

A typical benefit fraud investigation process will involve several stages.
These will often include the following:

Contact from the relevant agency
In the first instance, you will be called by the specific agency who is responsible for the benefit case involved. In most scenarios, this will often be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency, or your local authority concerned. The exact mode of contact will vary depending on the agency involved, the urgency of the case, and what contact information the agency possesses relating to you. 

If the agency repeatedly tries to reach out to you via one means of communication, says the regular post, and they receive no contact, they may need to turn to another form of communication, for example, over the phone.

Potential stopping of benefits
Depending on the specific nature of the claim, at hand and what the benefit concerned covers, the relevant agency may stop your benefits throughout the investigation process itself. Sadly, there is very little that can be done at this stage to reinstate any of your benefits, however, you will get a letter from the relevant agency informing you about what is going to happen. Several charities exist to assist people who have had their benefits stopped for one reason or another, so there should always be somewhere to turn, especially if your benefit impacts factors such as having somewhere safe to sleep or being able to feed and clothe children.

Whenever you speak to the relevant authorities regarding your case, be sure you are represented by a solicitor. They will guide you on what to say and to what extent and detail. You need to either exercise your legal right to silence or answer questions honestly to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer to a particular question, or if you do not understand it, make sure to say so or do not comment. 

More investigation and fact gathering
Once the authorities have got in touch with you, they may continue to collate facts about your case. What is then to take place depends. The officer’s actions vary in each case, and it will often vary from surveillance to interviewing people who have information regarding your benefits or perhaps just people who know you. In serious cases – for example, those involving potential criminal gang culture, demand a more intense level of investigation, and as such, it is likely that deep investigations into personal and professional lives will only occur in more serious scenarios. It is recommended that you ask a solicitor about cases similar to yours that they may have taken on (understanding that they cannot divulge specific personal details, of course).

What happens when the investigation process is complete? 

Once the process is complete, the relevant agency will let you know about the outcome of your benefit fraud investigation process. While it could seem like the case is taking a while, consider that the agencies will be fully aware of how serious the consequences could be for your personal circumstances, so they are trying to do the investigation as quickly as possible and with as little disruption to your life as they can. When the case has been concluded with the investigation, they will let you know the outcome by post or by telephone, whichever they have used to contact you previously. At this point, if you have been found to have committed or attempted fraud, several things may happen:

● you may have to pay back the overpaid money

● you could be given a police caution

● you could be prosecuted at a Court of law, which could lead to a criminal conviction, a fine and the risk of imprisonment or an alternative community-based punishment

● you could have your benefits lowered or stopped 

● If you have not been found to have committed or attempted fraud, any benefits that may have been stopped temporarily will be resumed and in the vast majority of cases you will be able to claim a back payment for the monies that you are owed. This could be the case even if you received help from a charity or friends and family while your regular payments were stopped

I have been falsely reported 

Unfortunately, it is very common in the UK for people to be reported for benefit fraud maliciously. There are thousands of people around the UK who report someone else for benefit fraud, falsely claiming that they are ripping off the benefits’ system.

Between 2016 – 2018, the government received over 280,000 reports, but not one of them resulted in someone getting wrongly convicted. The main reason for this was a lack of evidence.

The government is fully aware of how serious a matter it is to be accused of swindling the system; not only would it mean that payments are halted (which could jeopardise things as fundamental as feeding and clothing children) but it could also lead to criminal consequences for the person accused, making it harder for them to find employment and educational opportunities.

For this very reason, every report will be taken seriously, and the government will only proceed if there is sufficient evidence. If someone has accused you of benefit fraud, and you are a genuine claimant, you likely have very little to be concerned about.

Have you been accused of benefit fraud? Crystal Law Solicitors can help with legal advice.

If you or someone you care about is facing an investigation process, it helps to get professional guidance regarding your situation. Such advice will not only help you to plan your next steps, but it is also likely to settle some major concerns you may have about the investigation and the impact it may have on your day-to-day life.

For confidential and friendly support, contact Crystal Law Solicitors. As benefit fraud solicitors, we provide legal advice for those requiring legal assistance in the area of Civil Benefit Fraud and Overpayments. We always endeavour to provide you with clean and concise advice that you can understand and which will be of practical help. To find out more about how we can help you, please contact us today, we’d be delighted to help. 

Family mediation – What is it and how can it help?

Problems in a relationship can be highly stressful and difficult to navigate, especially if you share children or assets like property together. Many people consider divorce or separation as a last resort, as there can be a lot of complicated issues to sort out. 

If you and your partner have decided to separate, then you may be struggling to come to an agreement on issues such as child custody, splitting your assets or deciding who will live in the family home. Family mediation is one service which can provide great help for many couples and guide them through the process of divorce or separation with as little animosity as possible. If you’re thinking about divorce and want to know how family mediation can help, read on to find out more. 

What is family mediation? 

Family mediation is a process which helps a couple (or other family members) to reach an amicable decision on issues like child custody, finance and property. Mediation is not counselling, and it won’t delve into the emotional issues surrounding a breakup, but it can help couples come to practical agreements about what will happen going forward. 
Many couples approach mediation if they’re struggling to agree about certain terms or issues relating to their divorce, and mediation can help resolve the problems before they escalate and reach a family court. 

How do I start the process?

Meditation often begins when one party approaches a mediator (usually through a family law solicitor). A brief meeting will then take place to find out more about the situation and whether mediation would be suitable. In some cases (such as domestic violence), mediation will not be suitable or recommended, but a solicitor will be able to offer other forms of help, such as obtaining a court application form or restraining order. 

How can it help?

A family mediator will offer impartial, third-party advice to help you and your partner come to an amicable and workable agreement. Litigation in a family court can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, so in most cases, it’s much better to reach an agreement together before taking things to court. Mediation also provides a calm, neutral environment where both parties can communicate in a measured way.

If you’re looking for professional family mediation, get in touch with experts at Crystal Law Solicitors. Our expert mediators have over 15 years of experience in family law and can help you reach a solution that works for all parties. While they don’t give legal advice, our mediators can explain the family court process to ensure you know your options at every stage, so get in touch today to arrange an appointment or visit our website to find out more. 

A guide to lasting powers of attorney

Getting older is an unavoidable fact of life, but many of us might feel worried or apprehensive about what the future holds. As we get older, our physical and/or mental health can deteriorate, which might mean that it’s more difficult to perform everyday tasks, or make decisions that are in our best interests. 

It can be distressing if you or a loved one is struggling to live their life as they once did, but there are measures which can help. Lasting powers of attorney can give peace of mind to you and your family and ensure that the person in question has their best interests protected. If you want to know more about lasting powers of attorney and how they can help, read on for our handy guide.

What is lasting power of attorney?

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) allows an individual to appoint someone they trust to make decisions on their behalf. An LPA can be put in place if a person’s physical or mental health is beginning to deteriorate, to ensure that they can receive the best care and to protect their assets. There are two different types of LPA; health and welfare and property and financial affairs. You can choose one or the other, or both.

Health and welfare

This gives the person appointed power of attorney the right to make decisions about things including daily routine (washing, dressing etc), medical care and whether or not to move into a care home. This type of LPA can only be used when an individual is unable to make their own decisions.

Property and financial affairs

This type of LPA covers decisions regarding money and property, such as paying bills, collecting a pension or benefits, medical costs and whether to sell a property. This can come into effect as soon as it’s registered, with the person’s permission.

How to register

You’ll need to be of sound mind to make a lasting power of attorney, so many people arrange LPA as a precaution if they feel their mental or physical health is at risk of deteriorating. The registration process can take time, so professionals recommend starting sooner rather than later. You’ll need to choose one or more people to be given lasting powers of attorney and if they accept, then they’ll need to fill in the relevant forms. 

You’ll then need to register your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (bear in mind this can take up to 10 weeks). Many people seek professional help from a solicitor to ensure that they understand the contents and how the LPA operates. If you’d like to register a lasting power of attorney, get professional help from the experts at Crystal Law Solicitors. We’re on hand to guide you through each step of the process and ensure you understand exactly what’s involved. For more information or to arrange an appointment, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or visit our website. 

Situations where you might need landlord solicitors

Renting out your property can be a fantastic idea, a great investment and highly rewarding when the rental of the property runs smoothly. However, disagreements between tenants and landlords can be lengthy and in some cases become confrontational.

Most difficulties can be prevented with the right legal advice at the start of the process. By using a solicitor, you will be able to gain substantial legal rights, and in turn provide your tenants with the crucial reassurance that you have your tenancy agreement prepared, and all legal matters have been carried out properly.

The law can be complex, so it’s important to get the necessary legal advice which will stand you in good stead. Solicitors are the pros when it comes to the law and how it impacts you. If you are considering investing in a property to purchase and then to let, a solicitor can offer you advice on the property you are considering, for example, suitability and achievable rental income and furthermore deal with the legalities of the purchase on your behalf.

The key to a properly carried out tenancy, and everyone being happy, is for both landlord and tenant to understand their rights and responsibilities. Using the services of a solicitor to deal with the rental of your property makes sure that you are being advised of current legal requirements, offering you the peace of mind that you are keeping on the right side of the law, as failure in doing this may end in you paying out significant costs.

So with this in mind, here is some guidance in regard to using a solicitor as a landlord, and a few situations in which they can come in use to you.

Your obligation as a landlord

As a landlord, there are certain obligations which you have. These include:

●     Registering as a landlord with your local council. You need to renew your registration every three years. This is in order for the local council to determine if you are a “fit and proper” person to be acting as a landlord. It is an offence to act as an unregistered landlord, and you could incur a fine of up to £50,000.

●     Electrical safety checks. Which must be done on annual and a 5 yearly basis.

●     Preparation of an Energy Performance Certificate, This requires to be displayed at the property and must be renewed every 10 years.

●     A legionella risk assessment test. This should be done every two years.

●     Landlords Gas Safety Inspection If the property is serviced by gas. This needs to be on an annual basis.

●     Installation of hard-wired and interlinked smoke detectors.

The landlord and tenants acts

The vast majority of legal proceedings that are issued arise under the Landlord and Tenant Acts in relation to property disputes. Landlord solicitors are specialists who are able to understand the various Landlord and Tenant Acts that govern the obligations on both landlords as well as tenants. By instructing solicitors in Landlord and Tenant Act matters, the issues that come with such proceedings are diminished. The complexity of the Landlord and Tenant Acts indicates that it is much more sensible to instruct solicitors who will be able to interpret the law and indicate to you whether or not any breach has taken place. By working with a solicitor as early as possible, a comprehensible, concise assessment regarding the merits of the case can be made and this will give you a realistic opinion as to the chance of success under the Landlord and Tenant Acts.

A couple of the examples of the types of landlord and tenant claims that are made under the Landlord and Tenant Acts often include:

●     Problem tenants. This is classed as a tenant not paying rent or if they are acting unreasonably.

●     When there has been a breach of the tenancy agreement by either the landlord or a tenant.

●     Figuring out how to end a tenancy.

●     How to evict a tenant during a fixed term tenancy, or after it has expired. Under the Landlord and Tenant Acts, landlords are not legally permitted to remove tenants themselves from the property. Landlords must not also change any of the locks either. Any kind of attempt to do so could result in the tenant bringing an action for harassment or unlawful eviction under the Landlord and Tenant Acts.

●     An unlawful eviction of the tenant carried out by the landlord.

Why should I consider legal assistance as a landlord?

Not only can we help you with the tasks mentioned above, we can also offer assistance in other situations such as:

●     Advising leaseholders in respect of acquiring the

●     Challenging excessive service charge claims

●     Assisting with problem neighbours and

●     Advising in all aspects relating to Rent Act protected tenants

●     As a landlord, you may want to have a specialist landlord solicitor by your side, who can help you with your day-to-day questions. We’ve extensive experience and knowledge to help you in every situation.

Common legal issues a landlord solicitor can deal with

Tenancy agreements and leases

providing the right tenancy agreement or not having the right lease in place can make your life so much simpler. It permits you to create a good relationship with your tenants and lowers the likelihood of disputes. It also provides you with protection in the eventuality of a dispute if it does arise.

Rent arrears and rent recovery

If your tenants are not able to keep up with paying their rent, there are certain options for a solicitor who can pursue this on your behalf to recover any outstanding payments. In lots of cases, these matters can be dealt with quickly with a solicitor’s letter. Moreover, where more serious action is called for, they can advise on your options, the fees involved and what is best for your long-term interests.

Regaining possession of a rental property

If you’re trying to get back possession of your property, a solicitor can also guide you through this process. They will help you by serving the correct notice to the tenant and getting a court order. Our expert team can also support you in enforcing their order, if needs be.

Tenancy dispute resolution

When there is a dispute over a problem such as disrepair or anti-social behaviour, a solicitor will be able to advise you on your legal rights as well as responsibilities. They will be able to help you reach the outcome you require as swiftly and quickly as possible. In most scenarios, court proceedings are not required, this can save you a significant amount of time, money and hassle.

Crystal Law Solicitors – landlord solicitors here to assist you

At Crystal Law Solicitors, we understand that the area of landlord and tenant law is complex. Situations and experiences within this legal area can be both stressful and difficult. That’s why our team of landlord and tenancy solicitors provide a clear, comprehensive and cost-effective legal service to our clients. Our priority is to ensure that everything is crystal clear. Our landlord solicitors always communicate and engage with each client in a way that suits their needs, offering down to earth, jargon-free advice. We understand the law can be complex; our rental property lawyers provide up-to-date tailored legal advice and work hard to guide and advise you on the best solutions for your case. To find out more about the legal services we offer, please feel free to get in touch, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

 

A beginners guide to family mediation

Family mediation is something put in place to support couples who are in the process of separating or divorcing to figure out what to do about the house, the children, the assets, the debts, and is something that can help everyone in the family to establish new relationships.

In family mediation, you will need to negotiate face to face with your partner about arrangements that need to be carried out in the future, with the help of one or two neutral third parties, these are the mediator or mediators.

How is family mediation different from the other options?

Unlike going to court, family mediation recognises that you are the experts within your own family and leaves the decision-making to you. Unlike negotiating through your solicitors, family mediation permits you to speak directly to each other so that you can explain what you are feeling and what is most important to you. It also lets you focus on the things that really matter to you as a family.

How could a family mediator help my family?

Family mediators have a lot of experience relating to issues surrounding separation and divorce and are able to give you general information about all the options available to your family. Family mediators will also be allowed to ask both of you significant questions about the practical elements of your family of any option that particularly interests you.

Family mediators can speak to you about the legal implications of some factors that you might be interested in. Family mediators are particularly trained to focus on the needs of the children in the family, and will help you, as parents or guardians, to work together to do that.

I have concerns about being in the same room as my former partner

Lots of people find discussing with their partner about what could happen after a separation or divorce quite upsetting. Family mediation can offer you a safe place to resolve your differences. Family mediators are specifically trained to keep an eye out for any domestic abuse issues that may impact your family, and also for other problems that might make negotiation between family members particularly hard. Family mediators will not permit you to take part in mediation if they do not believe you will be safe.

Crystal Law

Crystal Law Solicitors is a boutique law firm located in the heart of the East Midlands with offices in Leicester and Nottingham. Our expert family law solicitors have a wealth of experience that comes from helping thousands of people across the country. Mediation is an excellent way to reach a consensus about the decisions that are important for you and your family after a divorce. To find out more, please contact us today, we’d be happy to help.

The benefits of using a wills and probate solicitor

Probate may be a legal term you have heard but aren’t too familiar with. Basically, it is the word used to describe the legal and financial processes which are involved in dealing with the property, money and possessions. 

Here in this blog, we take a look at some benefits of using a wills and probate solicitor and how they may be of assistance to you.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of administering a deceased person’s estate. This may involve coordinating the organisation of their money and possessions and then distributing them as a form of inheritance. You might be shocked to know that the number of adults in the UK who don’t have a will is at its highest rate, amounting to over 31 million.

What scenarios will require wills and probate solicitors?

Other than the simple administrative and impartial guidance that comes with using a wills and probate solicitor, there are a few other issues that may require the support and guidance of one. This includes:

●     A will being contested in terms of its validity and or if dependants were left out of the will (and they are likely to contest this)

●     The deceased person has passed without a will

●     The case involves a large estate and complex details are involved such as trust funds

●     The estate in question is bankrupt

●     The estate involves a foreign property or asset

Every will and estate will very much vary, the precise probate process is reliant on the instructions left on the will as well as the assets, creditors, and the benefactor of the estate itself.

This process involving the executor will go something like this:

●     Get the relevant information related to the estate’s assets

●     Apply for a grant of probate

●     Fill out an inheritance tax return and pay any due tax

●     You receive a grant of probate

●     Repay any outstanding debts left by the deceased

●     Distribute the rest of the estate in accordance with what is stated in the will

A wills and probate solicitor will also support you with any disputes that occur between the executor, benefactors or HMRC – which can also be extremely reassuring to know.

At Crystal Law Solicitors we are specialists at dealing with all private client matters which includes, Wills, Probate, Trusts, Power of Attorney and Court of Protection Matters. We are here to give you a helping hand, be that someone to turn to. We provide up-to-date personal legal advice for each of our clients, keeping things crystal clear. To find out more, please feel free to contact us today

Which type of will do I need?

Writing a will is important for several reasons; it protects your assets, allows you to choose how they’re divided and gives you the peace of mind that your loved ones will be taken care of. A will is a secure legal document which allows you to lay out how you’d like your estate to be divided after you pass, but which type of will is right for you?

There are several types of will available, and some may suit your situation better than others. It’s essential to ensure that you get the outcome you desire, so read on to find out more about the different types of will to help you decide which one you need.

Single will

This type of will allows an individual to state their wishes, but you don’t have to be single to make a single will. They’re popular amongst people with children from a previous relationship or if you have different wishes than your spouse. A single will lays out how you’d like to divide your assets, and you can also include details for your funeral or who you’d like to receive sentimental and personal items.

Mirror wills

These wills are designed for couples with the same wishes; each individual gets their own will, but the documents ‘mirror’ each other. When one spouse dies, their estate automatically passes to the surviving partner and items are distributed according to the will once the partner has also passed.

Mirror wills require a lot of trust, and individuals should be aware that their partner can make changes to their will without the other knowing. The surviving spouse can also change their will after their partner has died, so it may no longer reflect the deceased’s original wishes.

Trust wills

Trust wills give an individual greater flexibility over how their property and assets are managed, and they offer extra security too. A discretionary trust allows you to leave part of your estate (or all of it) in a secure trust managed by appointed trustees. You’ll also need to name beneficiaries of the trust, and your estate won’t be divided until after you’ve passed. Trust wills often are used to benefit minor children or anyone in debt, as creditors can’t access funds in the trust.

If you need help and legal advice when it comes to making your will or will writing, get in touch with the experts at Crystal Law Solicitors. We help customers across Leicester and Nottingham with a range of will and probate matters, including writing the will, setting up a trust, appointing a power of attorney and more. We pride ourselves on using simple, jargon free language and offer straightforward, accessible advice, so give us a call today or contact us via our website to find out more. 

How can an immigration lawyer help you?

Immigration law can be highly complex and it includes sensitive issues such as human rights and deportation matters. If you’re dealing with an immigration issue, then it’s important to seek the right legal advice and support to help you navigate the process.

Immigration lawyers specialise in this particular field and work with their clients to help them achieve their desired outcome. These solicitors cover many different areas of immigration law and have the inside knowledge you need to help make your case a success. If you’re feeling worried about an immigration issue and aren’t sure what to do next, read on to find out how an immigration lawyer could help you.

Visa applications and appeals

If you’ve already applied for a visa and had your application denied, an immigration lawyer can appeal on your behalf. They can also help you apply for and obtain a marriage or relationship visa, adult dependent visa or work visa, depending on your situation. The work visa scheme can be complicated and there are several different types that can be applied for. An immigration lawyer will be able to work with you and put together the best application depending on your skills.

Deportation appeals

The threat of deportation can be very distressing for individuals and their families, so you need skilled help and advice that’s on your side. Immigration lawyers can help with securing your release if you’ve been detained, put in a visa application, or help to appeal against your deportation order. It’s important to act quickly and seek legal advice as soon as possible if you’re dealing with deportation or removal issues.

Citizenship

The citizenship process can be lengthy and complex, but an immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process. They’ll assist you when applying for citizenship, explain the rules surrounding UK citizenship and help with any tests or forms you need to fill out.

If you’re looking for skilled immigration lawyers in Leicester or Nottingham, get in touch with the experts at Crystal Law Solicitors. Our immigration department has a specialist knowledge of this complex area of law, and we welcome cases at all levels. We deal with a variety of cases, including entry clearance, citizenship, asylum, human rights claims and more, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to help you achieve the best outcome. For more information or to arrange an appointment, give us a call today or contact us via our website. 

How to file for divorce

Making the decision to file for divorce isn’t easy, especially if there are children involved, or you have lots of shared assets. As well as the emotional upheaval, you may be feeling worried about the practical steps involved when filing for divorce.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by legal jargon or worry that the procedure will be complicated, but the process of filing for divorce can be straightforward. If you’ve made the decision to file for divorce and want to know how to get started, read on for our handy guide.

Check you are eligible for divorce

There are certain conditions that have to be met before you are eligible for divorce in England and Wales. You’ll need to have been married for over a year, have your marriage legally recognised in the UK, and at least one partner must have the UK as their permanent home.

You’ll also need to provide grounds for divorce. This is seen as evidence that your marriage has irrevocably broken down and can include adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, or if you’ve been separated for at least two years.

How to apply

It’s easier if both parties agree to a divorce, but you can still file in some circumstances without the support of your husband or wife. To apply, you’ll need your husband or wife’s full name and address, your original marriage certificate (or a certified copy) and proof of your name change if you’ve changed it since you got married.

You can apply online through the government website here, and you’ll need to pay a fee of £550. Those on low incomes may be eligible for financial help.

What happens next?

Your application will be checked, and you’ll receive a notice that your application has been sent out, a case number and a copy of the application. Your husband or wife will also be sent a copy of the application and an acknowledgement of service form. This will ask whether they agree to the divorce or want to contest it, and they must respond within eight days.

If they agree, you can apply for a decree nisi, if they contest, the process is more complicated, but you can seek help and advice from a legal professional.

If you’ve decided to file for divorce and need legal help and advice, get in touch with the family law experts at Crystal Law Solicitors. Our experienced family law solicitors can help you every step of the way, from filing for divorce, to sorting out custody arrangements, splitting assets and representing you in court if necessary. We’re also committed to helping you resolve family disputes and have close links with counsellors who can provide additional assistance. To arrange an appointment over the phone or face to face, give us a call today or contact us via the website. 

What exactly is benefit fraud and what are the risks?

The benefits system here in the UK is in place to help those who require financial support while they are seeking employment. It also helps those whose earnings are too low, if they care for someone, are ill themselves, are raising children or are disabled.

The safety net of benefits is there to catch people who slip through the cracks financially for whatever reason. Some people genuinely attempt to defraud the benefits system, and some are accused of doing so wrongly. Here, we take a look at what benefit fraud is, the different types and what could happen if you are accused of benefit fraud. Read on to find out more.

What Is Benefit Fraud?

If you claim benefits from the state that you are not entitled to on purpose, then you have committed benefit fraud. This situation could arise by providing false or misleading information when making a claim, or by failing to report a change in your circumstances which would leave you exempt from support. For example, claiming jobseekers’ allowance while in employment, hiding a proportion of income to claim benefits, failing to declare a change in address and making false claims to receive housing benefits are all considered benefit fraud. If you’re suspected of benefit fraud, you will likely be contacted by either HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions or your local authority for an investigation.

What Happens If You Are Accused Of It?

Once an investigatory process is put in place, those accused of benefit fraud may be instructed to attend a recorded interview which could be used in a criminal investigation. In court, a judge could find you guilty, for which the penalty could be to repay all outstanding money, pay a penalty, a halt in benefits and a potential prison sentence. With this in mind, if you have been accused, you must seek legal advice. The penalty for losing a benefit fraud court case can be financially crippling and if you are innocent, you must receive the best legal representation possible to prove your innocence.

If You’ve Been Accused of Benefit Fraud, Contact Crystal Law Solicitors Today

If you’ve been accused of benefit fraud and require local legal representation for your case, look no further than Crystal Law Solicitors. With offices in Leicester and Nottingham, we’re experts in this area of law and can provide you with the legal services you need.

To find out more about our services, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at either of our Leicester or Nottingham offices. For Leicester, call 0116 255 1650 and for Nottingham call 0115 697 5555. Alternatively, email us at enquiries@crystallaw.co.uk or leave us a message on our contact form.