Claimant let off

A Long Melford widow who continued to claim benefits after inheriting £65,000 from her late husband has been sentenced.

Pauline Boggis, 60, from Cordell Road, admitted failing to notify Babergh District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions of the change in her circumstances when she appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The court heard that Boggis had claimed income support and council tax benefit from March 2008 as she was unemployed and had no means to support herself.

Rosalind Cappleman, prosecuting, said: “Evidence gathered following an investigation by officers showed she received inheritance of £65,820 on January 25, 2012, and this was paid into her bank account.

“It was found she had not reported the change in her circumstances. She admitted in interview that she knew the rules and should have declared this.”

The court heard the total overpayment in benefits was £3,706 between January 25 and September 2 last year.

In mitigation, Anne Gray said: “The defendant’s husband died and she received an inheritance from a property he had co-owned with his brother. It was money from this that went to her.”

Mrs Gray told the court that her client had to pay for her husband’s funeral and his debts.

“Most of the remainder went to pay the mortgage,” she said.

“She has suffered from depression since her husband’s death and she has been given medication for that.

“She said in her interview that she knew money had to be declared but thought inheritance did not.”

The court heard Boggis had “made a mistake” and was paying back the money at a rate of £10 per week.

Mrs Gray said: “I would ask for leniency. Losing her husband was very distressing for her and she is finding the whole business, on top of her bereavement and emotional problems, very difficult to cope with.”