to not believe that the DSS would investigate a benefits claimant for anything other than someone reporting them?(76 Posts)
my BF is is a single parent and has had a letter today saying she has got to visit the jobcentre, as there is some sort of "query" with her benefits. they have been suspended until after her visit and she is very worried and upset.
she has nothing to worry about because as far as she is concerned she hasn't done anything wrong (ie no cash in hand working or dp living with her) but obviously it will affect her financially while its being investigated.
she doesn't believe anyone would report her, but i think she's being a bit naive and i think someone probably has, and if i was her i would be very concerned that i probably couldn't trust someone in my life. i have been in a similar situation a few years ago when i was a single mum, and there was no way that it could have come from anything other than someone maliciously reporting me. (i should add i had done nothing wrong either, and nothing came of my investigation)
but surely they would not just randomly pick people out of their records to investigate for no reason? i wouldn't think they have the time or the resources to do this?
StinkyWicket It's odd that companies like British Gas were so adamant that they couldn't take my ExH's name of the bill unless he requested it 'because of data protection'!
It seemed mad, as I was still left paying the bill anyway, and he would be freed of any liability.
I am a Fraud Investigator for the DWP. Our referrals come from friends, family and neighbours of the claimants, usually via the Benefit Fraud Hotline which is anonymous.
We also data match the National Insurance computer system for people who have received National Insurance credits whilst being unemployed, sick or carer, and who have also paid National Insurance for the same period
HMRC notifies us of claimants who have received interest on savings which suggest they might have in excess of the prescribed limits for claiming a means tested benefit, and we receive information from credit reference agencies where single claimants might have joint credit or financial links to someone else.
We are able to obtain bank statements, utility bills, wage slips and all manner of other things during our investigations in order to prove or disprove an allegation.
We would not ordinarily stop someone's benefit prior to an Interview under Caution unless we had irrefutable proof that they were not entitled to benefit, such as proof they were working, or bank statements showing they had more than £16,000 in savings. These are black and white instances of benefit law,
In cases where we are investigating whether a claimant is Living with someone as husband and wife, or is not as disabled as they purport to be, the investigations are much more complex, the evidence has to be far more compelling, and the benefit can only be stopped by a Decision Maker.
We are not allowed to call people in for a taped Interview under Caution, unless we suspect a criminal offence has been committed.
Many of out investigations result in a Prosecution, because, lets face it, Benefit fraud is just another name for theft.
Do you obtain credit info as a result of starting a investigation or do the credit ref agencies actually know the benefit status of everybody and automatically provide ou with info that prompts an investigation?
How come hmrc can't do exactly the same thing with bank statements utility bills ect, the amount of clients I have who hacve had to pay to get an entire years worth of bank statements and duplicate copies of household bills as well as benefit entitlement letters like cb dla ca ect to send to tax credit claimant compliance, seams stupid if hmrc can just get it themselves, a bit like causing a claimant unnessacery work.
How would it be taken if a Lone Parent on Income Support had their TV license and Sky bill paid for by an Ex partner?
I'm worried now because my Ex pays these as additional maintenance (his choice), as if he didn't, I wouldn't have TV for the DC's. The TV license is in my name, but paid from his bank account, but the sky is in his name.
Also, my water company won't let me pay by Standing Order (due to disability related memory problems, I cannot manage Direct Debits), so he pays the Water bill by Direct Debit, and I have a Standing Order set up that divides the £24 a month DD up into £22 every 4 weeks by SO.
Could it cause problems for me?
The Water bill there is no way around, as I absolutely cannot manage my finances by DD and they won't let me pay by SO.
Sockreturningpixie - Experian provide information to us which can result in an investigation, although to be honest, the referrals from them are not very high quality. More often than not, investigations into 'Living together' cases are the result of an anonymous tip off. In those cases, we instigate a financial check into the claimant's life.
Merrycouthymows - We certainly look at whether a third party is paying for utilities etc, and the fact that your ex pays for Sky, Water and TV licence would be red flags, but the investigation would cover much more, and possibly include surveillance.
In your case, if it came to the attention of the Fraud Investigators, it would almost certainly warrant further investigation on the face of it. If surveillance didn't uncover your ex being at your address, you could still be called in for an Interview under Caution, where you could offer an explanation into why he is paying. If what you say is the only link between you, I should think you would not be found to be Living together.
Out of interest FandF can i ask how you make the decision to do surveilance?
The importance or otherwise of the case, I should imagine. (Money/principle/public profile etc etc....)
Thank you for the information. Will it make a difference that I told them when I claimed, and I tell them again at every Work Focused Interview, that he is paying the TV License and Sky bills as additional maintenance, backed up in writing by my Ex?
I also have it in writing that though the water bill is paid by DD from his account, I am paying him by SO from my account, and that is provable by my bank statements too. Would that all help?
Don't worry so much. If they were to ask you about those specific things, just tell them the facts.
I'm actually shocked that credit check companies know whose on benefits unless a claimant discloses that info in the course of obtaining credit its not there business, surely a benefit claim is between the dwp and claiment and nothing at all to do with a third party agency.
I've got no issue with dwp starting an investigation then applying for info but to have info passed the other way as matter of course, is wrong.
Do they do this about everybody or just those on benefits? Does the dwp have access to credit info about people who don't claim?
As long as your ex is maintaining housing elsewhere and you do not do things like a couple would ( socialising making future plans stuff like that) other than where its warrented for child related reasons and child contact then you have nothing to worry about.
I disagree fatandfifty. In our team anon info makes up around 20% of our work and the rest is almost entirely from staff or organisational referral and data matching. Most of our stuff from the fraudline gets weeded out in the risk assessment.
Totally agree on the CRA matches though. Totally useless so far.
I'm loving the outrage here on what info we can see. And no, it's not a breach of DP.
MerryCouthyMows - You should have nothing to worry about if you are keeping DWP informed of your circumstances, and you have a paper trail showing payments to your ex.
Zeeboo - I agree, we get a lot of staff referrals, but I think they are just ticking a box to achieve their objective of completing x number of FRFs. They are rarely worth an investigation. We rarely get GMS working cases these days.
onadifferentplanet - We generally undertake surveillance on cases where a single person, claiming benefit is alleged to be living with someone, or in cases where someone is claiming benefit on the grounds of disability where the disability is in doubt.
I'm not going to add anything else to this debate as I don't particularly want to give away more details of what we can/can't do.
It could be identity theft. A friend had her incapacity benefit suspended because his father had used her name and address and NI number to register a business with the tax people.
Zee boo, I'm not outraged about data protection.im just surprised by credit agencies randomly passing info.
I'm not on benefits I have not claimed child benefit even when it was not means tested. What surprised me is that my credit info could be passed to the dwp. Or if that's not the case then how to experian know who to send info on?
The DWP fraud staff manuals are available on line for anybody who is interested to read as are the hmrc fraud manuals and tax credit claiment compliance staff manuals.
They have to publish them or provide them for a FOI request, and I know they are there because I have them open in another window now.
Sockpixie, it isn't random that's why! It's a data match between credit reference agencies like experian the DWP data matching service which also provides data matches to the local authorities.
They are targeted, specific and lawful and of no concern to those not on benefits.
Ohhhh well that's ok then I thought you ment they had acess to everybody's
I was accused of fraud once and had to go in, First time i'd ever claimed benefits. They had my address down as being at my Dads AND my Mums. No idea to this day why - The only logical conclusion i can come to is that as my mum and dad split up the same month i left school (And obviously they got no CB anymore for me) someone must have assumed as his claim had disappeared that i'd gone with my Mum.
It was all quickly sorted out - Thankfully several of the staff in my local jobcentre were happy to back me up that there was no way i had been claiming anything anywhere else as they had seen me in the job centre here week in week out day after day, I'd have to be teleporting to be doing both.
The reason I worry is because I have already been investigated for fraud TWICE in the 19 months I have been claiming Income Support - because my
bitch of a next door neighbour keeps maliciously reporting me.
That's the reason I have kept a paper trail for everything.
It sucks arse that she gets in a mood because I've had to complain about her music (blaring out till 3am on a school night again ) to the Housing Association, and so she reports me for fraud - and I'm found to be all above board and legit each time - and they are duty bound to suspend me benefits and investigate.
She tries to stop me from continuing with my ASB case against her by getting my benefits stopped. And even though the DWP know it's malicious, they still HAVE to investigate and suspend payments.
I know at the bank or building society if you have unusual transactions they alert certain people due to money laundering concerns etc
I don't know if they would then tell benefits folks just in case iyswim?
So in answer: I have no idea lol
Hi I am being investigated as I have to fill in I.S review forms.
Also I am my late fathers administrator in which I am still dealing with his affairs .
Can they check my new bank accounts in which I've had to set up to deal with the administration duties . Thanks
DWP do data cross matching routinely; ie they type your name/NI number in and see what comes up. This includes bank accounts, credit applications, car insurance, passport applications etc. Basically most things your name is on they can access it. When you sign the declaration on DWP you are agreeing to give them this permission, which is a condition of receiving the benefit.
This is such a mess now . I was only trying to organise and pay my dads debts .
They will think I have money because of the account is in my name and now this has might of messed up my sons Isis in which my late father put money in years ago and all his Xmas & birthday money is in that .
MOODY you supposition is probably false. Most of the people who report people dont know the complexities of the sysatem; or ther real details of who they are reporting.
I was told that someone was reported by a neighbour having a big car outside their house (Not illegal) And it was the doctors car anyway
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