A WOMAN from Bulford who falsely claimed almost £8,000 in benefits has been given a 12-month community order and ordered to repay the money along with £250 in costs.
Tracy Rooke, 42, of Leonards Close, Bulford had been overpaid housing and council tax benefit, and income support after claiming she was a single parent, while living with a partner who was receiving an income.
Wiltshire Council investigators working with Department for Work and Pensions colleagues jointly investigated Rooke’s case which was heard at Salisbury Magistrates Court last Wednesday.
Ms Rooke pleaded not guilty to two charges of dishonestly making a false statement with a view to obtaining benefit.
But the court heard she had failed to declare she was living with her partner and had been overpaid housing benefit of £5,746.47, council tax benefit of £1,254.37 and income support of £925.71. Rooke was found guilty and sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours unpaid work and £250 costs.
The benefits must also be repaid to Wiltshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions In a statement Wiltshire Council said: “Claim forms contain a declaration that all the information supplied to the council and the Department for Work and Pensions is true and complete and that the person claiming would notify the council and the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes in circumstances.
“Ms Rooke failed to declare that a partner was living in her household when she made her application for benefits. “It is always the responsibility of the person claiming benefit to tell the council of any changes in circumstances which may affect their entitlement. If there is any doubt, then the revenues and benefits team will be happy to discuss any issues. Please contact 0300 456 0110 to report any changes in circumstances or ask for advice.
“The council is very keen to stamp out benefit fraud and will take action against those found to be cheating the system. If you have any information that can help catch a benefit cheat, call Wiltshire Council’s confidential hotline on 01249 706256 or the National Fraud Hotline on 0800 854440. Benefit fraud can also be reported on the council’s website at wiltshire.gov.uk/benefitfraud.