Langwith dinner lady wrongly claimed £3,000 in benefits

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A LANGWITH dinner lady who failed to disclose she was working was overpaid more than £3,000 worth of benefit.

Tracey Owen (44) made a legitimate claim for income support in 2002 but in 2005 she began relief work.

Chesterfield magistrates were told she did not inform the Benefits Agency that she was working.

“She said she had contacted the department by telephone to update their records. It has been looked into but there was no evidence of this,” said prosecutor Matt Evans.

Owen, of Chapel Street, admitted failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefit from April 2005 to July 2010, and from 25th January to 18th August 2011.

Mr Evans said she was overpaid a total of £3,038 during those periods.

She was fined £125, with £85 costsm and the overpayment will be directly recovered from her by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In mitigation, Bob Bashforth said: “She started work as a dinner lady and she is adamant that she picked up the phone and reported it to the DWP.

“It can’t be proved or disproved but this offence does not require evidence of dishonesty - it simply requires that she was working and there was no proof of notification.