Ask Anne Diamond: My husband wants me to shop my benefit cheat pal

One of my friends is falsely claiming benefits – about £200 a week. She boasted about it one night when we were all a bit drunk

Dear Anne

One of my friends is falsely claiming disability benefit – about £200 a week. She boasted about it one night when we were all a bit drunk.

I asked her the next day if it was true, and she said yes, but begged me not to tell anyone.
The trouble is, I’d already told my husband. Now he says I should report her. I don’t want to but he says he will if I don’t. It’s caused an enormous row.

I feel I’ll lose my friend or my husband.

Anne says

Which of these options is the more honourable? There’s no doubt, is there? Your husband is right – but it’s so hard on you.

Talk it over with your friend and tell her the truth, that you’d already mentioned it to your husband and that he is adamant that what she is doing is wrong (it is) and that it must stop right now. Many people in your position would feel that, if she were to stop the crime immediately, they would leave the matter there.

What would your husband do? He may argue she should pay the money back and legally, she should. How long has she been taking it? Is it even possible she could pay it back?

Then, of course, she would have to admit her crime, and possibly suffer further action, maybe in court, although the authorities might be lenient if she voluntarily did the decent thing.

But if she continues, assure her she will get caught, and then the prospect could even be jail. The Government is really cracking down on benefits cheats. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is a victimless crime. It isn’t. She is stealing money, raised from all of us with taxes, that is meant for people who truly need help.

If someone you knew was struggling to get disability benefit you might feel as angry about your friend’s dishonesty as your husband does.

She may feel she needs the cash, but she has been very selfish, first in committing the fraud, then putting you in this quandary. Have it out with her – and remember, she’s the one placing your friendship in peril, not you.

Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/ask-anne-diamond-husband-wants-11059381

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