Not many people would be in a hurry to say that life is difficult for pensioners at the moment. There are more and more pensioners in the United Kingdom with people living longer and with many people finding finances to be a tight squeeze, there is no getting away from the fact that a lot of pensioners could do with a helping hand. However, it is vital that people obtain additional money in a legal way because there is no defence or excuse for pensioners who commit crime just because they are old.
This is the case for one pensioner who admitted two offences of benefit fraud. The 67 year old man failed to inform Blackpool Council and the DWP about changes to his circumstances. It can be easy to overlook or forget things when you have that many things to take care of but there is no getting away from the fact that the DWP loses a considerable amount of money on a regular basis and this money could be put to better use.
Due to Graham Warren’s non-disclosure of the changes in his circumstances, he received a total of £2,486 in the form of Housing Benefit and Pension Credit that he shouldn’t have received. It was announced in court that money owed to the local authority had already been repaid and that a repayment programme had been put into place for the money owed to the DWP.
Withholding information is a crime
The issue arose due to the fact that Mr Warren did not provide details about his partner taking up employment as a housekeeping assistance in a hotel in Blackburn. This post provided the opportunity for an additional £200 a week to be brought into the household, which is clearly a lot of money over time. It is the sort of money that most pensioners would love to see come into their household on a regular basis but of course, if the money has been obtained in a fraudulent manner, it is money that shouldn’t be brought into the household.
Mr Warren was placed on an eight week curfew by the court as well as having a £60 surcharge placed on him. This is the sort of case that many people will have an interest and opinion on. While the vast majority of us would be keen to see better support and financial assistance for pensioners in the United Kingdom, the current state of the economy makes it difficult to do so.
This is hugely unfortunate but there are many groups of people who are deserving of financial support and assistance in the UK at the moment but for many reasons, they don’t receive the support that they need.
Different people will hold different opinions
It could be argued that £200 a week being brought into a household shouldn’t make that much of a different, especially when the person who ends up being charged is a pensioner but there is a need for lines to be drawn and rules to be set in place. We may not agree with all of the rules and regulations in place but equally, if we choose to break or bend these rules, it has to be accepted that problems can arise from doing so.
There is no doubt that a criminal defence solicitor working on a case like this has to ensure that the facts of the matter are adhered to. It could be of benefit to play up on the fact that the accused was a pensioner looking to safeguard themselves and their home, but this isn’t a line of defence that everyone will agree with. For as many people that would be likely to provide some sympathy to a pensioner, there will be people who are keen to make an example of a pensioner to ensure that other people in their position don’t act in the same manner.
If a lenient punishment was imposed on someone who committed benefit fraud, it is likely that other people would consider it to be a crime that was worth committing. This is why there needs to be a focus on the punishment imposed on people because the outcome isn’t just about them, it can impact on the way that people around the country behave.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.