There is a principle in law (still valid I believe) based on Pinnel’s Case from 1602, that part payment of a debt does not extinguish the balance of the debt and a creditor could sue for the balance. However, if the part payment is made by a third party on the understanding that the debt will be written off, the creditor cannot then sue because technically that would be a fraud on the third party.
I believe, based on a meeting I had at my local Job Centre on 7 September, (following a meeting last year that was aborted because they refused to allow me to record it, contrary to the rules) that the DWP are proposing playing a similar fraud on my supporters if they intend to consider donations made to me as income and therefore deduct the amount from my benefits. I was maliciously reported to the DWP by someone claiming that I was defrauding benefits, which was the reason for the meeting.
The government’s own recommended Benefits Calculator states:
Donations are voluntary payments and the regulations state:
Voluntary payments are disregarded as income.
However I was put through an hour’s grilling by two Job Centre employees informing me that the donations I receive are income and will affect my benefits. Something which in my mental state was extremely stressful. If that is the case, contrary to the rules, it means that the donations I receive from supporters are effectively going to the DWP, and I would say, technically, that was a fraud on the donors.
I promised JCP that I wouldn’t publish the recording of the meeting but I was told this in relation to donations:
“It would be treated as an income. If it becomes a regular payment …then it becomes an income.”
This is completely wrong and surely amounts to harassment. My understanding is that any donations are considered as savings, of which you are allowed up to £16,000 without it affecting your benefits. My information has gone to a “decision maker” so I don’t yet know the outcome.