Burnley woman claiming benefits had £130,000 in bank
A WOMAN was claiming benefits while she had more than £130,000 in the bank, a court was told.
Burnley magistrates heard how Elizabeth Neale, 31, received more than £3,400 from the public purse, but kept quiet about the fact she had been left £133,000 from the estate of her late mother.
Neale, a former worker at Ensleigh Insurance, claimed she had now paid all the cash back, but the Department for Work and Pensions said she still had to repay about £2,000.
Neale, of Deerstone Avenue, Burnley, admitted three counts of failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting her entitlement to benefits — one involving the DWP and jobseekers' allowance, between October 2011 and April 2012 — and two regarding council tax benefit and housing benefit from Burnley Council, between August 2011 and the end of 2011.
The defendant, who had no previous convictions, was given a 12 month conditions discharge and was told to pay £100 costs.
Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, said Neale had claimed benefits on the basis she was single, not working and had no other income. She received jobseekers' allowance and housing and council tax benefits.
The DWP received information that the defendant had received £133,000 on September 23, 2011, after the death of her mother, and the declarations she made after that were no longer accurate.
Mr Robinson said Neale was interviewed and admitted she had not declared the capital. She had been overpaid £3,486. The housing and council tax benefits she had not been entitled to had been paid back, but the jobseekers' allowance had not been repaid and about £2,000 was still outstanding.
He added: “The defendant believes she has paid all that money back.”
Catherine Fell, for Neale, said her mother had died of cancer after being ill a number of years. Her mother and grandmother had died within two weeks and it had been a very difficult time for her.
The solicitor continued: “The money that she received should have gone to her father, but didn’t. Her father gave her the money so she could have a better life.”
The defendant fully admitted the offences when she was interviewed by the DWP.
Miss Fell added Neale, whose father had now also died, was now back at college, on an environmental studies course.