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Incapacity benefit advice

(8 Posts)
LovelyBath Wed 19-Mar-14 09:43:28

Hi I wonder if anyone can help me. My friend has been claiming the above for several years for depression, she has also had some serious illnesses during that time. She is worried that the office has not assessed her very frequently over that time and recently that she may be accused of benefit fraud

She is a professional before this started and highly qualified, however had to leave her work when this started. Also is a homeowner. Can anyone advise please, she is increasingly worried that eg the doctors are keeping notes on her as if it is fraudulent but I think this is perhaps part of her depression.

LovelyBath Wed 19-Mar-14 09:45:13

The main worry is if they were to ask for it back could they do this (she had not been working at all during the claiming time). Also they have little income but could they make them sell their home ? confused

Viviennemary Wed 19-Mar-14 09:51:35

Unless she has told lies about her condition then I don't see how they could ask for any of the money back.

LovelyBath Wed 19-Mar-14 10:04:09

Thanks Vivienne.

I think it is that sometimes recently for example they were doing a care plan for her in regards to mental health and recorded things she could do to help herself like exercise and reading and she mentioned doing some things like that. Whereas the benefot is based on perhaps not being able to do such things. It's a bit tricky.

starfishmummy Wed 19-Mar-14 10:11:59

I can't see that she will have a problem as long as she has been honest. Starting to do things for herself as rehabilitation sounds a good idea and should not affect her benefit unless her doctor thinks she is fit for work - in which case I presume he will no longer issue medical certificates.

LovelyBath Wed 19-Mar-14 10:16:46

Thank you Starfish. That's exactly it, there are things she is doing to try to help her recover like exercise classes. But her claim is for mental health, she hasn't said eg. she has mobility issues or something like that.

i think the worry is she hasn't been assessed in a while- over a year.

Do you think she should get some legal advice just in case? I wonder if she'd qualify for legal aid as they are on a low income.

Can anyone advise on whether, if she did have to pay in back they could take assets such as the house or would take in back out of benefits? Sorry to go on it's just she is extremely anxious about it sad

LIZS Wed 19-Mar-14 10:17:56

It is possible she will be reassessed for ESA instead, as IB is being phased out. If there are any mental health charities locally it would be worth making contact so that they can help support her back into work and any relevant training.

LovelyBath Wed 19-Mar-14 10:40:01

Thanks Lizs, Yes I think the last time they contacted her it was about transfer to ESA, then they have not been in touch since last year. I have heard something about ATOS not doing the assessments anymore so maybe that's something to do with the delay.

It may be a good idea to contact somewhere like that maybe it will stop her worrying and show she is trying to get help...

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