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to not believe that the DSS would investigate a benefits claimant for anything other than someone reporting them?

(76 Posts)
MoodyDidIt Thu 10-Jan-13 10:38:18

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. hmm 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?

MoodyDidIt Fri 11-Jan-13 14:40:03


omg that is absolutely awful. it must have been so scary for you. and they went through your bank statements.....bloody hell shock

why the hell do people do this to other human beings sad (i mean, the people who ofile fake reports)

thecook Fri 11-Jan-13 17:14:26

MoodyDidIt I knew I hadn't done anything wrong but I still felt scared before the interview. They went through everything on my bank statements, even questioning a £25 spend on my debit card in IKEA. (I had brought some very much needed crockery) They asked why I had made two withdrawals for £10 cash in one day. They even asked why I had given a small donation to a leukemia charity (My friend's little boy had it and it was a sponsored walk).

I suspect my first boyfriend (over 20 years ago). I met up with him (bloody FB) and he made advances which I rebuked.

I even wrote to my bank asking why they had given my statements. Four months later I got a reply. They said they were allowed to.

The investigator told me they got lots of malicious people phoning up them and telling lies about benefit claimants. I think it is unfair to stop people's benefits whilst they investigate.

stephrick Fri 11-Jan-13 17:36:56

I had my housing benefits stopped for 3 months for a check, sent everything in but as you all say left hand doesn't know what right hand is doing, I was prompt but they were not, they had to back date but I had to borrow in the mean time. Whilst checks should be made, a withdraw of benefits without notice unfair.

stephrick Fri 11-Jan-13 17:40:52

Lets not also forget that you can also have a few thousand in the bank whilst claiming, but the majority of us don't, no savings and living month to month.

Darkesteyes Fri 11-Jan-13 17:49:20

We are innocent until proven guilty in this country apart from benefit investigations where you are thought of as guilty until proven innocent.

stephrick Fri 11-Jan-13 18:01:26

I agree, when I've taken in documents to the council they treat you like a sponger. I'm working, my eldest son is working but we need a little assistance with private rent. My other 2 children in full time education, let me rent a council house and I won't need their help. I don't mean to go on but I know single people in 3 bed social housing.

maddening Fri 11-Jan-13 18:06:22

Or has she missed a review or something?

dashoflime Fri 11-Jan-13 18:11:13

I work in the CAB as a benefits adviser and there are loads of reasons that the DWP would investigate besides someone making a report.

The most common one being a discrepancy between the info given to the DWP, the council and the Inland Revenue.

Please don't stir up trouble between your friend and her friends/neighbours hmm

Do encourage her to seek advice though

MoodyDidIt Sat 12-Jan-13 09:26:50

hi dashof

thanks for that. i will definitely encourage her to seek advice from the CAB. i wouldn't stir up trouble for her, thats the last thing i want for her. but i just know that when i was wrongly reported, i had a very strong suspicion it was someone in my social group, and i believe i was right. it goes without saying i have nothing to do with that person anymore.

i honestly had no idea that they would investigate for any other reasons, i am surprised they have the time or resources - although i do agree with it i might add! but i think its unfair to stop people's benefits, most have children to feed and no other income.

can i ask for what other reasons might they investigate?

glitch Sat 12-Jan-13 09:36:19

I had to go in recently. I had to change the time of the appointment and they made clear on the phone that if I missed 2 appointments my benefits would be suspended.
At my interview I asked why I was being investigated and they said it was quite usual for lone parents who have recently separated to be called in as there are so many get back together with their partners and don't inform the dss.
I really hope that is the last time I have to go in for a while. It is bad enough I have to rely on benefits (I am a carer so it is not simply a case of me getting a job) but to have someone pick over your bank statements is just humiliating.

GalaxyDefender Sat 12-Jan-13 10:03:52

It's most likely a clerical error. Many, many times our benefit has been stopped in the past because we've given a form to the jobcentre, and they've lost it/put it in wrong/just left it sitting there.

Once, they lost the same form three times.
The level of incompetence in JCs is appalling. I suspect part of it may be due to targets/overwork, though.

dashoflime Sat 12-Jan-13 11:28:00

like others have said: a clerical error could have done it

I've also seen people investigated for fraud of one benefit, because the payments of another benefit were messed up (e.g: paid late in a lump sum, looking a bit like a wage payment on the account details)

The main thing to bear in mind is that the DWP, the HB dpt of the council and the Inland Revenue routinely share information, so it could be something she's said herself to another agency. Or something that looks unusual in her bank account.

digerd Sat 12-Jan-13 18:04:48

I don't understand your bank, as mine said only under a court order would they have to divulge details of my bank account. But mine was a different matter, nothing to do with the DHSS. But surely the same applies. That was in 1999, though.

digerd Sat 12-Jan-13 18:15:41

I worked for the DHSS in the 70s, before computors, tax credits etc. We had just the one fraud officer in our dept.
The main frauds were the unemployed working on the side and not declaring it. Ficticious sick notes and working, and one woman got married, did not declare it and kept on receiving the benefit.
It was impossible to search for savings in bank A/Cs if they said they had none.
Of course now it is probably quite different.

dashoflime Sat 12-Jan-13 19:28:29

I think the Inland Revenue is notified of savings on which tax is paid and then they share the information with the DWP.

I could be wrong, but that's my understanding of how it happens

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Jan-13 19:31:17

They do randomly pick people in certain groups, a computer tells them who to check they also investigate people who have had there addresses used for credit related fraud,people who have been reported as well as people who piss off the dwp advisor.

She could have also missed a meeting

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 12-Jan-13 19:52:54

According to a friend of mine who is a current fraud investigator most people who are reported are reported by a family member and nowadays they have to investigated a certain % of claimants as routine

digerd Sat 12-Jan-13 20:12:57

In the 70s, the Income Tax dept was in the same building, but said they could not divulge anything to anybody including the DHSS about a claimant of ours.

digerd Sat 12-Jan-13 20:18:02

However, I do know that the police managed to get info on a suspect thief's bank account balance. The poor man was overdrawn by 26p so was accused of stealing where he worked by the police investigating.

LineRunner Sat 12-Jan-13 20:28:52

I thought the rules had changed in the last couple of years to allow the DWP, HMRC and Councils to check against credit files such as Experian?

It's credit files that yield the most infiormation about people apparently associated with certain addresses.

Sadly, much of this data is wrong.

Always ask if you are being questioned because of credit reference agency files, I have just decided.

dashoflime Sat 12-Jan-13 21:08:29

Digerd: I think they might have changed it with the advent of tax credits:
The intention was to allow info on Tax Credit, Benefit and Housing Benefit claims to be shared between the agencies as getting one will effect your entitlement to the others.

Linerunner: Completely forgot about Experian! Your right: that too.

The point is, it might not be possible to find out why you've been investigated, so please don't fall out with your friends and neighbours by assuming someone's grassed you up.

snailvarnish Sat 12-Jan-13 21:15:10

This happened to me a while back. I was on IS and had been for a while without any trouble. All of a sudden I was summoned to a meeting. I went in...answered a few questions and everything was ok. They even gave me £4.20 to cover my petrol and parking hmm

It may be nothing to worry about. I had a lot of trouble too because of old tennants post coming to my house. Had some very rude letters through from HB accusing me of having other people in the house and if they had just looked back through the previous tennants of my flat they would have seen it was all ok.

LineRunner Sat 12-Jan-13 22:24:18

I have tried for ten years to get my ExH's name off various utililty-type bills, and it is only this last year when I have been complaining that it is precisely because of these new rules about data matching that it needs to happen, has any of these companies finally agreed to do it.

It's amazing who can still be 'linked' to one's address.

StinkyWicket Sat 12-Jan-13 22:28:22

We've been claiming tax credits and child benefit since Jan 2009 and have been audited twice, nothing ever came of it and to my memory they didn't stop the benefits coming while we got the info together (although to be fair I did fax it the same day we had the letter).

Although may be totally different as TC not HB etc

StinkyWicket Sat 12-Jan-13 22:36:04

LineRunner you have a very good case of breach of data protection there. Companies are only supposed to keep information that is accurate and relevant.

I work for a bank and we have to do data protection training every year, mine wasn't too recent but that I do remember!

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