Expectant mum claimed benefits 'naively', court told

AN expectant mother who mistakenly claimed more than £3,000 in benefits was described as a victim of “naivety and misunderstanding” at Darlington Magistrates’ Court.

Sarah Dodsworth, 23, of Malvern Crescent, Darlington, pleaded guilty to failing to notify a change in her circumstances which led to her claiming £3,249 in jobseekers allowance jointly with her then partner.

The court heard that Dodsworth claimed the money between March and November 2011 even though she was receiving maternity payments from her employer.

Jonathan Harley, mitigating, said Dodsworth was dyslexic and may not have fully understood the claims forms.

“She has been a victim of her own naivety and misunderstanding of the way the benefits system works,” he said.

“It was an oversight on her part and one that she held her hands up to at the first opportunity.”

Dodsworth was given a nine-month conditional discharge.

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