I’ll challenge conviction – benefits case woman
8:59am Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
A GRANDMOTHER has said she will challenge a conviction that she illegally claimed £11,000 in disability benefits.
Julie Peters, aged 56, from Breightmet, claims she has been honest and criticised the system for punishing someone with physical and mental health problems for working.
Magistrates found Peters guilty of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions promptly of a change of circumstances. The money was claimed between October 10, 2008, and November 15, 2011.
The DWP claims she said she was unable to walk, but Peters was caught making deliveries for Victoria Sandwich, the family-run business in Lee Lane, Horwich, and carrying shopping bags.
Peters said: “I have been truthful. The Government is targeting the wrong people. They are devastating the lives of people with mental health issues, who they should be helping.
“They want people to get back to work, which is what I have tried to do.”
Peters used to work as a pharmaceutical representative until she was seriously injured in a crash on the M1 in 2002 as she was coming back from a conference.
She says she was forced to give up her job because of her injuries. She has since battled breast cancer, post traumatic stress disorder, depression and other health problems.
Peters said: “My life has been devastated by this. The DWP knew I was working 16 hours a week and that’s flexible as, if I don’t feel well enough, I can go home. If I felt capable of going back to work I would be working for a pharmaceutical company.”
She claims she did not tell the DWP she could not walk and instead said she “could not walk far”.
Peters said she earns less than £100 a week at the business, where she helps her daughter, Vicki, who runs the cafe, and has, at times, had to rely on her elderly mother to help her financially. Peters, who will be sentenced at Manchester Crown Court in March, said if she was told to pay the money back she would have to pay 50p a week.