Two people have been prosecuted by Lichfield District Council after claiming benefits they were no longer entitled to.
Fifty-eight-year-old Anthony Rammell, of Albert Road in Fazeley, pleaded guilty to failing to give prompt notification of a change of his circumstances that meant he was entitled to less housing and council tax benefit on May 13.
The court heard how Mr Rammell did not tell the council that his pension had gone up, and as a result he was overpaid £303 in housing and council tax benefits.
Mr Rammell was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 costs on top of paying back the overpayment to the council.
In the second case, also heard at Tamworth Magistrates Court on May 13, 32-year-old Scott Perry, of May Close in Burntwood, pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to notify a change in circumstances that meant he was no longer entitled to housing and council tax benefit.
The court heard how Mr Perry had failed to tell the council he had started a job, and as a result was overpaid £1,344 in housing and council tax. The court fined Mr Perry £215 and ordered him to pay £250 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Councillor Colin Greatorex, Cabinet Member for Finance, Revenues and Benefits, said:
“Taking this case to court was quite a drastic action, when you consider the low amount involved. However, we did offer Mr Rammell an administrative penalty of £91, on top of paying back the overpayment, which we felt was more proportionate. But, because he refused to pay the penalty, we started proceedings against him. This is unfortunate because he now has a criminal conviction and a greater amount to pay.
“We decided to instigate court proceedings against Mr Perry, because he failed to attend a number of interviews council officers had set up to try to resolve the case. We also offered him an administrative penalty of £403, which he refused to pay.
“These two cases highlight the need to tell us as soon as something in your life changes that could change the amount of housing or council tax benefit you’re entitled to.”
Anyone who wants to tell Lichfield District Council about a change in their circumstances can call 01543 308900.