A 47-YEAR-old woman with multiple sclerosis has been spared jail after falsely claiming £24,000 in disability benefits.

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Tracy Maddison, of Orford Road, Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, failed to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) she had been working at a pub for nearly five years despite receiving benefit.

Maddison pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court to dishonestly failing to notify a changed in her circumstances affecting entitlement to her disability living allowance. The money she incorrectly claimed between January 2007 and December 2011 came to £24,169.

Prosecutor Lesla Small told the court Maddison was in receipt of the allowance from September 2001 to November 2011 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February 2000.

As time went on there was an improvement in her condition, but Maddison failed to notify the DWP.

The court heard Maddison said she had difficulty in walking and suffered from severe headaches, along with pain in her legs, and needed help.

However, in 2007 the mother-of-four obtained employment at the Oyster Inn in Butley, near Woodbridge. Maddison told her employer about some aspects about her condition, and allowances were made so she could work.

Ms Small said Maddison’s employer was unaware of her disability payments.

The court was told investigators from the DWP photographed and videoed Maddison while she was working.

During an interview on December 20, 2011, she acknowledged she knew it was dishonest to make false claims for benefit. Maddison also told officials she had become more mobile due to the medication she was taking.

Michael Stephenson, representing Maddison, said: “She is a lady who seems determined not to give in to her illness and keep fighting it.

“Because of medications there has been some improvement. The nature of these things is not black and white.”

District Judge Celia Dawson told Maddison she had falsely claimed a huge amount of money over nearly five years.

Maddison was given six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months. She was also ordered to pay £100 costs.

The money she falsely claimed will now be recovered through her benefits.

6 comments

  • Big Spot - Motability provides most of these cars and this is another Tax payer funded Scam !

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    Poppys Dad

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • Surely this situation is easy to stop, if employers had to log the NI numbers of all employees with the benefits agency surely there could be a computer programme to match up the numbers of those working to those claiming benefits and therefore they could be checked out quickly before they steal £24000 worth of benefits! If this was implemented maybe people would be less likely to cheat the system, not just those on disability benefit but those on all benefits who think its ok to lie and cheat money from the rest of us that work for a living!

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    MZH

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • People falsely claiming benefits is clearly wrong, but not the real issue. Benefit fraud is a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of money being 'avoided' in tax by big business. All these stories do is vilify little people while diverting attention away from the real thief's of our tax revenues.

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    fuztownsend

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • Google Motability scheme and you will see where those "expensive - late models" come from - they can be used by family - carers. The blue badge is issued to the individual with the "disability" and no, I never did understand why the photograph is not on the front. Some local authorities (who issue the blue badges) do have staff who challenge suspected blue badge abusers and can in extreme cases, withdraw the badge. Perhaps Evening Star can get an official comment from the issuing dept to clarify?

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • Jane, I agree with you, I am also astonished how many blue badges have been issued. I have lost count of how many times I see someone literally running away from a car parked in a disabled area when they've been the sole occupant of the car. On inspection the car is sporting a blue badge. Why isn't the photograph of the badge holder not shown on the exposed face of the badge so that they can be challenged? Whilst I agree the genuine disabled should have priority parking why should it be free for everybody. Being disabled doesn't equate to being poor judging by some of the expensive late models of car I see the badges displayed in.

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    Big Spot

    Friday, February 15, 2013

  • Yes, Blue badges can be used by familycarers but the rules say the disabled person must be in the car. To get a car on Motorbility the disabled person must forfeit other cash payments which presumably means they can afford to turn down cash in favour of getting a new car. Also to get an expensive car they must also make a considerable deposit which emphasises the fact that being disabled doesn't equate to being poor. I have no idea if the blue badges are being used by abusers not entitled to do so or in line with this article by people falsely registered disabled when parking their car at work.

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    Big Spot

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

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