David Blunsdon is accused of falsely claiming £73,000 in disability benefits
A father-of-two has been accused of falsely claiming £73,000 in disability benefits after it was revealed he has been cycling to work for the past nine years.
David Blunsdon, from Sompting in West Sussex, had his left hip removed after he was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a form of cancer, in 1999.
He began claiming disability living allowance in 2001 and was riding his bike on the advice of his chiropractor six years later.
However, he allegedly ignored pages of letters from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) asking him to notify them of any changes in his condition, Worthing Magistrates’ Court heard.
After you receive DLA, the DWP sends an annual letter asking for the recipient to make them aware of any improvements in the condition when considering the payment amount for the next year.
Blunsdon denies dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances affecting his entitlement to benefits totalling £73,598 from 2004 to 2016.
He began working full-time as a computer aided design technician for Nash and Partners, a property firm in Chichester, in 2004.
The defendant would commute via train and walk from the station to his office, the court heard.
David Packer, prosecuting, said that in 2007 Blunsdon saw a chiropractor who told him he should cycle from the station and he began doing so.
When asked by Mr Packer if he thought this was a sign of improvement in his health condition, Blunsdon said he did not.
He also stopped using a wheelchair not long after he became eligible for DLA and started using crutches, Mr Packer said.
Blunsdon began to use a walking stick rather than the crutches, again failing to declare it to the DWP, he said.
The court was told that a social worker filled out the application on behalf of Blunsdon, but it was signed off by him.
He was eligible for high rate DLA due to the severity of his condition. Blunsdon also suffered from a deep vein thrombosis – the formation of blood clots – in his left leg. Blunsdon was on a number of medications including warfarin, Naproxen and Lansoprazole.
Giving evidence in court, Blunsdon said he ‘looked at the first page’ of the documents but then ‘threw away’ the rest – another ‘eight or nine’ pages of documentation.
The trial continues.