Social worker struck off for £145k housing benefit fraud

A social worker who claimed over £145,000 in housing and council tax benefits she was not entitled to has been struck off the register in England.

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A social worker who claimed over £145,000 in housing and council tax benefits she was not entitled to has been struck off the register in England.

Over the course of 11 years, Jennifer Angela Findley used false names to commit the benefit fraud, the General Social Care Council’s (GSCC) conduct committee heard.

Findley admitted 19 offences of dishonesty at Basildon Crown Court on 21 September 2011 and was sentenced the following November to 18 months in jail.

Findley did not attend the GSCC’s conduct hearing, nor was she represented. In her absence, the committee noted that the benefit claims were not initially fraudulent.

Findley was of previous good character and the offences did not relate to her employment as a social worker or put service users at any obvious risk of harm.

However, the committee also found no evidence that Findley had developed any insight into her behaviour, which was sustained over 11 years.

“Social workers often have to assist clients with issues surrounding the claiming of benefits,” the committee said. “It is wholly inappropriate for a social worker to use false names or aliases to make claims in their own right.”

It concluded that Findley’s conduct had brought the profession of social work “into disrepute” and decided to remove her from the register.

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