Disability claimant admits fiddling £12,000 in benefits after circumstances changed

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A disability claimant has admitted fiddling £12,000.

Stephen Miller started claiming benefits legitimately but his mobility improved after a change in his medication and he failed to report the change to the authorities.

He claimed disability living allowance for almost three years between October 2015 and July 2018 before a benefits investigation was carried out.

Miller, 52, of Mill on the Mole, South Molton, admitted failing to report a change of circumstance and was conditionally discharged by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court on Friday, July 26.

The judge ordered an inquiry under the Proceeds of Crime Act which may result in assets being seized to repay the taxpayer.

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He said: "It seems the Crown accept the initial claim was proper and made honestly and that there was a change of circumstances and that medication enabled you to do more than when you originally claimed.

"Rather surprisingly, there is nothing on the form which requires a claimant to assert positively that their condition has not changed. I have not been asked to see the surveillance video from the Isle of Man TT."

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Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said the Department of Work and Pension now accepts that Miller's original claim for DLA was genuine and that his condition improved through new medication.

She said the total overpayment was £12,000 but some of this is being recovered through benefits and the rest is being sought through the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Kelly Scrivener, defending, said Miller had suffered the strain of having the far more serious offence of making dishonest representations hanging over his head for many months.

She said his bike should be excluded from any confiscation order because he lives in a rural location without easy access to shops and services.

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