Hartlepool woman wrongly claimed thousands in benefits despite having two pensions

Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.
Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

A 54-year-old-woman claimed benefits despite having two pensions.

Elizabeth Bennett made the claims because her house was going to be repossessed, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“Ms Bennett made three false statements to get jobseeker’s and employment support allowances,” said Paula Sanderson, prosecuting. “On each occasion she failed to mention having two occupational pensions.

“The prosecution say the claims were fraudulent from the outset.

“A total of £5,842 was paid to her which should not have been.”

Bennett, of Lynn Street, Hartlepool, admitted making a false statement to obtain benefits on May 15 and August 2, 2013, and on May 20, 2014.

She was of previous good character.

Stewart Haywood, defending, said in mitigation: “Ms Bennett’s house was under threat of repossession at the time, putting her in a desperate financial position.

“She did lose the house and her employment, and is now living on the £300 a month pension.

“The overpaid money is being repaid at £50 a month.”

District Judge Martin Walker sentenced Bennett to a conditional discharge for two years.

The judge told her: “Your previous unblemished character goes very much in your favour.

“Realistically, you are repaying the money faster than you would if I had made a compensation order in this court.

“You have had the shame and embarrassment of a court hearing, and I cannot believe any court will see you again.”

Bennett was ordered to pay £100 costs and victim surcharge.