Failure to declare partner proves costly
1:20pm Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Banbury
A 47-YEAR-OLD Banbury woman has been ordered to pay back almost £25,000 she illegally claimed in benefits.
Tracey Herdman failed to declare her long-term partner was living with her three days a week at her home in Woodgreen Avenue. She pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to disclose changes in circumstances at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on May 21.
Herman was ordered to repay housing benefit of £3,445.42 and income support of £21,323.84 claimed since 2007.
She was also sentenced to 200 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £500 legal costs.
Herdman was prosecuted following a joint investigation by Cherwell District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.
Council lead member for financial management Ken Atack said: “It’s a common myth that this kind of situation does not amount to living together and that the claimant can still get all of their benefits.
“This belief is not correct and as Ms Herdman’s case shows, forming a relationship is a change that must be notified and benefits reassessed where necessary.”