Gainsborough

Disabled Gainsborough woman sentenced for claiming benefits while working

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A disabled woman who received benefits because she was not well enough to do basic household chores has been given a suspended jail sentence for cheating the system.

Barbara Fulwood received disability living allowance on the basis that she needed help to do her shopping, ironing and cleaning.

But in May 2007 she started working as a housekeeper at a local care home without notifying the Department for Work and Pensions of the change in her condition that meant she could work.

Edna Leonard, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Fulwood had initially made a legitimate claim for disability living allowance which was granted in 1995 due to mobility problems and other health issues.

Miss Leonard said: “The claim was legitimate at the outset but that changed when the defendant began working in May 2007.

“She was under a duty to notify the authorities of any change in her condition and failed to do so. The total overpayment she received was £24,821.”

Fulwood, 62, of Wapping Lane, Marton, near Gainsborough, admitted a charge of fraud between May 9, 2007 and June 16, 2015.

She was given a four month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and a 10 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

She also faces a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing which could mean she is forced to sell her home to pay back the DWP. That issue was adjourned to a hearing later this year.

David Eager, in mitigation, said: “She has let herself down. She knows what she has done is wrong.

“She is not someone who is swinging the lead. She has a number of health problems.

“She raised her children and they left home and so she was at a loose end and took up the employment.

“The amount of benefit she was receiving was not a living amount. She could barely survive.”