Woman said having a gay husband led her to illegally claim £17,000 in benefits

Joseph McCormick August 18, 2014
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A woman illegally claimed more than £17,000 in benefits by saying she was not married, and gave her reason as being because her husband was gay.

Julie Matthews, 48, said she did not consider them to be a real couple because her husband Ian, was gay.

The mother of three was ordered to pay back all £17,541 in benefits at a rate of £19 per week by Barnsley Magistrates’ Court.

The couple married in 2003, but the court heard that they had not lived together “for a significant period of time”, before Mr Matthews moved back home in 2011.

But Julie Matthews did not notify the Department of Work and Pensions, and her local council of her change in circumstances.

When asked she said Mr Matthews stayed there “now and again”, and that she did not declare herself as married because “she did not consider them to be a couple because Mr Matthews was gay”, prosecutor Jayne Ormrod said.

Matthews admitted falsely claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, housing and council tax benefits and two social fund loans.

She was told she must do 100 hours of unpaid work, was given a night time curfew and was given a 20-week jail term, suspended for 12 months.

More: benefits, claim, council, department of work and pensions, money

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