A man fraudulently claimed over £6,000 in benefits despite receiving his pension – because he believed he didn’t have to declare it.
Over a period of two years, Stephen Cannon claimed housing benefits, Jobseekers Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance.
But he never told the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that he was getting his pension.
Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard the 59-year-old claimed a total of £6,300 from April 2013 up until September last year.
Cannon pleaded guilty to nine counts of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain a benefit, but in mitigation it was said he was told his pension was “not means tested.”
Alastair Gowans, defending Cannon, said it was a “genuine mistake on his part” and that he had already began paying the money back after the blunder.
He said Cannon, of Dipton Road, Stockton, “believed he was not required” to notify Stockton Council or the DWP of the occupational pension he was receiving – which he had worked 20 years for.
He added that he “didn’t deliberately set out to be dishonest”.
Cannon was given a 12 month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
He must also pay £170 costs.