Seek help and get the benefit

PUBLISHED: 11:56 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010

PEOPLE on low incomes can get help with their housing bills - and Fenland District Council is keen to make sure that they do. Housing Benefit can help people pay less rent, or even none at all. And Council Tax Benefit can reduce their Council Tax bill, so

PEOPLE on low incomes can get help with their housing bills - and Fenland District Council is keen to make sure that they do.

Housing Benefit can help people pay less rent, or even none at all. And Council Tax Benefit can reduce their Council Tax bill, sometimes completely.

Anyone wanting details of these benefits - and see if they qualify - should call the council on 01354 654321 or pop into one of the Fenland@your service shops in Chatteris, March, Whittlesey or Wisbech.

But the council also has a duty to ensure that benefits are given to those who really need and deserve them. Over the past year the council has investigated more than 250 cases of suspected benefit fraud and identified overpayments of Council Tax benefit and housing benefit totalling almost £200,000.

It has successfully taken action through the courts. Some recent cases include:

* Two women received a 12-month conditional discharge after making false claims on their benefit forms. They both have to pay back the £6,000 claimed.

* A Wisbech woman was ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid work in the community and given a Community Order with a 12-month supervision requirement after failing to declare her partner's employment when she applied for housing benefit, Council Tax benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance. She will have to pay back £1,000.

* A March woman has to pay back £2,000 plus costs for claiming that a close relative was her landlord when they were not.

All those who have been successfully prosecuted have been ordered to pay back all the money they owe.

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