Durham council worker fined over benefits claims

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A WOMAN has been prosecuted by the council she works for after failing to inform it her circumstances had changed.

Michelle Burke claimed housing and council tax benefits from Durham County Council, which she was entitled to when she began to pick up the payments.

But she did not inform the authority when it increased her wages, doubling the amount she was paid, and continued to collect benefits between March 2010 and July last year.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that Burke, of Horton Crescent, Bowburn, to be overpaid £3,656 in housing benefit and £492 in council tax.

The bench heard £290 in council tax had been repaid.

In a letter to the court admitting failing to notify a change in circumstance affecting entitlement to benefit, Burke said she had been “going through a lot,” and a bad divorce and had not thought about updating the benefits office when she went full time.

She was fined £183.