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how much info does dss keep on file

(11 Posts)
chocolatechipcookie Sat 08-May-04 19:49:49

Because my dh gets disability living allowance dss know a lot about his problems. He is embarassed about a lot of them but didnt mind too much about everyone in the last office knowing as he knew most of the staff. Now we have moved to a different area, he's wondering how much they will know.

Presumably all the info gets passed on to any other office you deal with, but how much of it is actually looked at, and is it only the basics that are kept on computer with more sensitive issues being filed away and never looked at.

Also would they pass any info to other people without informing you first?

Hayls Sat 08-May-04 20:04:19

Hi, I used to work there and iirc it's only the basics that are kept on the computer screens. Everything else (claim forms etc) are stored securely and staff can request to look at them if they need to. I wouldn't worry too much, as all info is dealt wih really sensitively and staff don't 'gossip' about you or anything like that. IN fact, they're not really interested in the details of your claim , as long as evrything's in order. iF your dh is worried about a member of staff being able to look up his info, i think (not 100% sure) that he can ask for his information not not be looked up on the computers without permission from someone senior - this may only apply if you know someone who works there who could access your records.

They wouldn't pass on your info to anyone without your permission unless it's within the Dept or (I think) in some cases other govt depts.

HTH- it was a while ago when I worked there so it might not be accurate!

HiddenSpirit Sat 08-May-04 20:13:12

All that will be on the system is a "basic" illness reason. Anything more in depth that is on paper (i.e. his claim form) will be kept in his file that won't be looked at unless there is a reason too (such as an appeal or something). We are bound by the (what was then) Official Secrets Act, so we aren't allowed to disclose anything. No-one in the DSS will think anything of whatever is wrong with your DH (obviously it means a lot to him though) as they see sensitive information everyday

They are not allowed to pass information on to people without getting written consent from you first (except things like Local Authority) and even then it is only to confirm that you are in receipt of benefit and for how long. They won't disclose any other information.

Hope this puts your worries to rest

HiddenSpirit Sat 08-May-04 20:19:02

Hayls, unfortunately his record can only be made "sensitive" (i.e. they would need permission from their line manager to access) is if they are directly related to someone working in that office, such as a parent or sibling (in laws also apply afaik)

chocolatechipcookie Sun 09-May-04 11:43:27

hiddenspirit, you said they can pass info onto the local authority but only to say you are on benefit and for how long. What part of the local authority do you mean? Presumably the benfits section of the housing dept and council tax.

misdee Sun 09-May-04 11:49:15

chocolatechipcookie my dh also gets DLA. he gets down sometimes as he feels it offically reconguised that his life is so different to a 'normal' person. As far as i am aware all the DSS need to know is what u get and what rate it is, they do not have to know the details of why u're dh gets DLA. The local council know about my dh problems as we need help getting a suitable home and atm we are waiting for the medical team to assess the forms. I dont think DSS can pass on information about u, but they do check everything is in order(put in a claim for income support they will chwek your NI numbers to check benefits recieved and what entitled to). sorry if i'm rambling. but hope it helps a bit.

HiddenSpirit Sun 09-May-04 12:24:24

Sorry CCC, should have said that. Yes it is only housing benefit/council tax benefit section

snowqueen Sun 09-May-04 12:36:57

I would have thought the only exception to not passing on info cos of confidentiality would be child protection.

cheeky Sun 09-May-04 18:44:27

I know this isn't relevant to you ccc but I have often wondered if they have a role to play in child protection too, snowqueen.

Someone I know had social services involved and was warned if she left the area to try and run away with the children as she was worried the courts would decide to remove them from her care that they would trace her through her NI number when she continued claimimg benefit at her new address.

Does anyone know if this is true?

snowqueen Mon 10-May-04 14:59:45

I have also wondered if dss know about certain diabilitied you have eg severe learning disabilities and then find out you are pregnant or have had a baby, do they inform social services in case you are not well enough to cope. I have worried about this because I have a partner with problems.

susanmt Mon 10-May-04 17:39:18

I also used to work for Dss and yes, its only the basics on screen, and paper is filed away. Most of the basics of the claim, if it has been going on for a while, will be buried pretty deeply in the notes by now, unless he is having to resubmit information.
Like the others have said, actually staff arent very interested in why people are getting any benefit, just that everything is above board and legal. There are a lot of people with what they would regard as 'embarrasing' problems which are just everyday things - a bit like going to the doctor with something 'personal' - its nothing to them.
As far as I am aware they don't get in touch with social services or anything like that - all the 'health and safety' tyoe issues would be dealt with by the health profession, so it would be midwives, health visitors etc who would make concerns like this known. Obviously if there was an incident for example involving a child in the public areas of a DSS building then the police would be involved (when I worked 'on the counter' we had to report things liek children being hit by their parents - thank goodness it never happened).
They hold a lot of info but they are only really interested in the financial side of things. Mind you this was a while ago but its not changed that much (according to my Dad who still works there - how else did I get a summer job in the DSS????!!!!)

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