In 2013 a single mum was accused of cohabiting with a partner since 2007 whilst claiming benefits as a single parent, which subsequently generated a large overpayment of £112,000.
The client underwent an interview under caution and had her benefits cancelled, leaving her with little means to support a disabled child and five other children.
The client heard nothing further over the next 12 months however at a hearing in December 2013, a witness statement was submitted that stated criminal proceedings had been issued, unbeknown to either the client or her Solicitor.
The Tribunal Judge found against the client.
As evidence had been submitted that neither the defendant nor her solicitor had seen, Howells requested the decision be set a side and was granted a rehearing of the case.
At the hearing on 7th October the Judge found the previous decision did not stand as the standard of proof had not been met. The overpayment of £112,000 no longer stands.
Further to this, the judge found that the client is now owed arrears back to 2013, which amounts to roughly £28,000.
Defending Howells Solicitor Amy Fiddler commented “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case.
This is a prime example of the DWP pursuing vulnerable clients who often feel so overwhelmed that they give up and do not fight their case. The DWP in this case had minimal evidence and caused the client a significant amount of distress and hardship for over a year.
Many people find themselves in these situations through no fault of their own and this case is a prime example that these negative decisions can be challenged and won.”