Benefits cheat claimed £16,000

A BENEFITS cheat who falsely claimed more than £16,000 in disability living allowance was found out after a call to her place of work, a court has been told.

Valerie Davis claimed she was so ill that she needed help with washing and dressing, yet she had been able to hold down jobs with a supermarket and an accountancy firm.

On Friday, the 48-year-old admitted failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefit between October 2007 and January 2011.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that Davis, of Church End, Wrangle, made a legitimate claim for the benefit in 1994, as she was suffering from severe hip and arthritis problems. But when her condition improved and she returned to work in 2007, she continued to claim the allowance, despite the fact she no longer qualified. She illegally claimed a total of £16,138.

Officers from the DWP learned from tax authorities that she was back working and when they checked her situation her boss said he had no knowledge of her having health problems.

Sunil Khanna, defending, said that Davis had returned to work to boost the family income after her husband switched to a lower-paid job.

He added: “She has never come to the attention of the police before. Now she has lost her good name. She is desperately sorry. Her situation had improved and she was working 20 hours a week but her condition was up and down. Some days she could work, but not others.”

The solicitor said that Davis’ condition had changed since she was charged and she is now unable to work and is claiming employment support allowance.

Davis was given a 12-month community order with supervision and a three-month night time curfew. An application to confiscate her available assets to compensate the DWP was adjourned to a later date.