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I work for DWP, ama

35 replies

Madein1995 · 02/03/2019 10:43

I've worked for DWP just over a year now. I was on pip for s while, not as a decision maker but as admin support and taking incoming calls. I've recently moved over to Fraud

OP posts:
brightonbeautifull · 10/03/2019 20:54

If you have Fibromyalgia what is the best evidence you can bring with you? I'm applying soon and have seen a lot of different opinions, a lot of negative stories and it's made me anxious about the whole process

PurpleWithRed · 10/03/2019 21:02

What is the biggest fraud you’ve had to deal with/been aware of?

AppleDump · 10/03/2019 21:48

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SconesandTea · 27/03/2019 16:07

Do you think some people who may be more eligible lose out over others because they don't fill in the form so well? Or is that all covered in the follow up assessments?

Supersimpkin · 27/03/2019 16:09

What sort of fraud goes on?

OldAndWornOut · 27/03/2019 16:11

Is it true that those who know how to 'work the system' are more able to get esa, pip, etc?

Seaseasea · 27/03/2019 16:18

I used to work at a similar place, has it made you cynical about the world?
My colleagues all became quite bitter and turned a bit right wing. We all said after 2 years you had to leave or you’d never trust anyone again!

Pinkruler · 28/03/2019 21:06

Do you get any training before you man the phones?

Monday55 · 28/03/2019 21:11

How do you sleep at night?

Shostakobitch · 28/03/2019 21:51

Agree with @Monday

Nat6999 · 28/03/2019 21:58

How anyone who works for DWP can sleep at night amazes me, the most cruel & incompetent department of the Civil Service.

IvanaPee · 28/03/2019 22:00

Jesus steady on! The system isn’t the OP’s fault!

OMGIwonacar · 28/03/2019 22:05

How can you sleep at night? Don't get so ridiculous. Most of my ex colleagues in DWP were as frustrated as the customers were by the system and did their best to get claims processed quickly and equitably following guidance.

Grandadwasthatyou · 28/03/2019 22:14

How does it take so long to process?
I am renewing dd's DLA and have provided absolutely everything requested, including letters from school and CAMHS. There should be nothing else needed.
I rang the other day as I realised it said on the letter you can enquire after 8 weeks. ( application has been in since mid January). After waiting in a queue forever I was told despite the fact it says you can ring after 8 weeks it's only for you then to be told they have 12 weeks to process it.
What is the point of that?

Grandadwasthatyou · 28/03/2019 22:16

@Madein1995 .. are you still there?!

Seaseasea · 28/03/2019 22:19

People in benefits services hear that a lot from people who are annoyed at the system, ‘how do you sleep at night’

Would you prefer no one did it? They could all leave and not come back and then no one would process your benefits or answer your questions.

Do you think the front line staff make the rules?

For every person that has a shitty response or phone call we’ve probably taken 100+ calls of ‘satisfactory’ responses.

People are absolute assholes, which is why I quit working there. Yes the ‘system’ was shit as anything, but fuck me there’s some vile vile people in the world.

Nat6999 · 28/03/2019 22:20

I'm disabled & on PIP, in July last year I got renewal forms for my claim. I sent the forms back & got an appointment for an assessment in October. I went to the assessment with my mum & the assessor was awful, she was rushing through the assessment, didn't give me chance to answer one question before she was shooting the next one at me, asked me to do exercises that were impossible, I was in so much pain doing one that I wet myself. I got a copy of the assessors report & it was full of lies, nothing in the report happened in the assessment. I lost my enhanced awards for daily living & mobility, my mobility car had to be handed back. After having a reconsideration refused, I put in an appeal, three weeks after putting in my appeal application I got a phone call to say they had read all my supporting information & could now award me my enhanced payments again for the next ten years. I asked why they hadn't read it all at first & got told we don't do that. I am lucky that I have a welfare rights worker & my MP supporting me, there are thousands of people who either don't have or don't know about them who would have had to accept the incorrect award. I worked for HMRC before I was ill, I know that anyone making mistakes at the rate the DWP do would have been in big trouble. Why don't they get things right first time?

LadyBahBahBah · 28/03/2019 22:26

I worked for DWP for 25 years- not that that was its name back in the day. I also had a stint with 'Sector Fraud' as it was known.
Hopefully the OP will come back to answer questions!

Nat6999 · 28/03/2019 22:31

I started my Civil Service Career at the DHSS ( old name for DWP) I left after four weeks, I couldn't have lived with myself after seeing how they were treating claimants & that wasn't half as bad as now.

IvanaPee · 29/03/2019 06:47

So nobody should ever work there then? Who would have awarded you the benefits in the first place if not a single person worked there because they were all losing sleep?

Herja · 29/03/2019 06:51

I was sent a letter yesterday, asking if I'm sure I'm single still. Is this standard ffor coming up to renewal time, or has someone (wrongly and unfairly) reported me as being in a relationship?

Fridasrage · 29/03/2019 07:00

I'm worried about this OP. You are almost certainly going to break the terms of your employment by answering questions like this on a public forum.


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Madein1995 · 12/05/2019 21:03

Hi, right first of all I’m so sorry for not replying! I looked a few days after and didn’t see any replies so kind of left it. No notifications came through! I’ll andwer the questions now, just in case anyone is about.
Re me posting on here – I recently left so that’s all good.
Heria it could be either of those truthfully. Although usually the interventions team ring you if they have any queries. I hope it’s all ok for you 😊
Brightonit’s not unusual to hear negative stories. Unsuprisingly those are the ones which make the news. I won’t sugarcoat it and pretend it’s all perfect because it isn’t. PIP is a huge benefit and the training staff are given is not ideal at all. AP’s and Case Managers have to make recommendations or decisions within the government guidelines. The real question is ‘are those guidelines fit for purpose’. Of course not.
Re what evidence. Everything every single thing you can. Keep photocopies in case they lose it. Medical information is always best , such as prescriptions and reports. When you get to an assessment make sure after you ring up and ask for a copy of the AP report. Read it through and make note of anything you disagree with, and find evidence backing it up.
Purple my old manager once took someone to court and got a conviction, they had defrauded the system of over £300,000.
Scones unfortunately it depends on the person and their circumstance. Someone who doesn’t fill forms in well for example, bus who is articulate or able to recognise inappropriate things during assessments, likely has the strength and intelligence to fight.
Many mentally ill people, especially those with chaotic lifestyles and little support systems, do not have that. It isn’t ALL the DWPs fault – there isn’t funding for charity organisations or support services, and the information claimants get from CAB is nothing short of idiotic sometimes – but the system doesn’t help. It is confusing, extremely so. While me and my colleagues would do all we could to explain and support people (including ringing people back during my lunch break to check they’d gotten home ok), if you are being told to F off or threatened, you are going to hang up. Which means people aren’t getting the advice they need.
The support isn’t there for vulnerable people, and it all boils down to funding.
Super loads. I think in 2017/ 2018 the majority of fraud convictions were working in receipt, followed by living together. The public assume disability is the biggest (which leads to ignorant idiots writing in ‘my neighbour can walk to her gate so it fine’) but it isn’t. Theres working in receipt, living together, claiming CB for a child no longer with you, undeclared capital, undeclared assets / savings, employing people CIH who claim benefits, sub letting a council property, living in a council property with undeclared non dependants … the list is huge.

Old that’s a tricky one. I would say yes in the respect that anyone with benefit knowledge is in a better position than others. The system is so complicated and the rules odd and ever changing, that if you know your way around the system, you will find it easier. That said PIP and ESA assessments are extremely difficult and no one who ‘fakes’ gets very far, I imagine.

Pink scarily little. My training consisted of listening in to some of my colleagues calls before being chucked in the deep end. To a team of 11 we had two mentors, and were on calls full time. It was really stressful. I had done processing work before so I knew the basics of the system, but the work I did was mainly re assessment (people going from DLA to PIP). So my knowledge of new claims, assessment process, financial information etc was very low.
I helped a colleague train a few months later. We were all going to a different department (fraud) soon and boss had given no indication on training. I offered to have her listen to my calls, and then had her actually take some calls while I sat next to her to give support if needed. It was still challenging for her but a lot better that way.
Training was absolute shambles, if I’m honest.

Granddad it sounds as though your dd is having a paper based review? I’m not too good on child DLA, only reassessment and PIP but I’ll give it a go. On PIP, the assessors have as long as they need to make a recommendation and DWP cannot expedite that (it frustrates us too). Long waiting times are not unusual I’m afraid, it’s due to a staff shortage and too much work coming in, and yes I can see how it upsets claimants. It’s not fair, really. I think the reasoning behind the 8week thing is so dwp don’t look bad. They sent out a ‘timeframe’ calender a few months ago and said the new claim process should take no longer than 4 months. We all had a good laugh at that, not the waiting times, but the cheek of the bosses and the fact that it’s a work of fiction. You could wait for 4 months for an assessment, and the process taking 7 months is usual. It’s terrible.

Nat first, I want to apologise for your experience. It sounds awful and again it isn’t unusual sadly. Re the assessors – we hear comments about them all the time. Trust me, they frustrated me too. Some of the reports were just breathtaking, and I had claimants crying down the phone. We can’t do anything. The DWP have no authority whatsoever over the assessors, and all we could do is pass you the complaints helpline. So while the assessment sounds bad, that is something to be raised with the assessors and not a cause for a DWP staff member not to sleep at night.
With your recon getting refused, again that isn’t unusual. Unless you go through the AP report finding all the incorrect statements and sending evidence to back it up, your decision will not change.
They do (or should!) read all the information at first, any case manager worth their salt would. It sounds as though the phone agent was untrained and inexperienced and felt put on the spot. I agree the appeal back out is an odd one. They’re told you want to appeal, the DWP work out you will win the appeal and they have no chance, and to save all the money going to court, put PIP in payment.
I completely agree re lack of support systems. The new processes are difficult to understand and information from other agencies eg CAB can be so far off the mark sometimes. I imagine many claimants rely on kind telephony agents like I was, spelling out exactly what they needed to do.

Nat and Monday I’ve been asked that numerous times by claimants, and the answer is quite simple. I sleep fine, thank you.
As I said, I was not a case manager. Even if I were, case managers and Aps must work within the guidelines they’ve got.
See, I like helping people. So where could I do most good? Outside the system, doing nothing? Or being one of the nice people on the end of a phone, helping and supporting others as best I can?
I was known for being very calm and hardly ever shouting or hanging up on someone. I did it twice. The first time someone threatened he knew where I lived and would attack me sexually (in cruder words). Another time someone blamed me for him being made homeless, refused to go through security so I could try and help him, and instead called me lovely names. I didn’t feel bad on either of those.
I was sworn at regularly. People hear ‘DWP’ and think we’re all monsters. No, we’re not. We’re normal people, just like you, doing a job, just like you. Do you really think that the people who make the decisions are the ones who answer the phones? In reality the ones who answer the phone are desperate to help you, but can only do the best with what they’ve got, which isn’t a lot sometimes.

I also helped people. The amount of people ringing up with MH issues is astounding, and unlike some of my colleagues I was always calm, tried to calm the situation down and gave the support they needed.
I made one gentleman (clearly vulnerable) get a pen and paper and write a ‘to do’ list to do with his claim. Things included printing off a form and the address to post it, what information (drs) he needed and where to get it, to book a drs appt and ask for his evidence but also discuss changing medication as his current made him suicidal. Is that the actions of someone who’s cruel?
I talked to women in abusive relationships and signposted them to other organisations. I also made a leaflet on DV and signposted claimants for my team.
One fella rang me from the M4. He’d checked his bank account on the motorway in queues and his esa hadn’t gone In, and he’d panicked. ESA wasn’t me, but I told him what to do and gave him the phone numbers and then rang him an hour later to check he’d gotten home ok.
A man rang who’d recently left prison. Usual procedure was to create a task which would sit in an inbox for 6 weeks. This man was lovely, sounded desperate and I felt for him. So I emailed the prison personally, and I then reinstated his payments, and then rang his probation officer. All during my ‘tea break’ as otherwise I had to be receiving calls.
There was a big issue with forms being mislabelled and money being stopped as a result. My boss wasn’t bothered so I kept a tally and when it hit 50 occurances I took it to his boss instead.
I gave people the number for MH services in their area, substance misuse services in their area, food banks and other agencies.
I advised hundreds of people on the recon process (AP report, circling, more evidence) and probably hundreds on the appeal process.
I spoke to a lady who had suffered serious abuse and called up crying, needing to speak to someone. I calmed her down and talked about my dog and the weather for a good 20 minutes until she had calmed down.
I could often be heard saying ‘Right, forget that for a minute. Get a glass of water and sit down. My names X, what’s your name? Where do you live, what’s the weather like?’ Anything to try and calm a person down before actually getting to the bottom of it.
Not just hanging up on abusive callers but saying ‘I want to help you, but unless you stop swearing at me I can’t do that. I know you’re upset and there’s problems with your claim, and I can work with you to try and sort it out. But you need to try and stay calm for me. Can you do that?’ Most people wouldn’t do that.
And then offering to call said abusive but now calm, caller, back, for eg if the report would be online tomorrow. Usually they’d call but if they rang and got through to someone not as tolerant, they’d not be helped and things would escalate.
So. Does that read like the actions of a ‘Cruel DWP worker’?

OP posts:
TitusP · 12/05/2019 22:06

I appreciate that this is not you fault OP but I have to often speak to government departments, including HMRC and the DWP as part of my job.

Far and away the DWP is the worst department to speak to. I have never had a positive experience and have found the people I have spoken to, to be incredible frustrating, and actively unhelpful, one women I have spoken to twice sounds gleeful as she is purposely obstructive whilst I try to help the families of people who have died. I have professional knowledge in the areas I have to speak to the DWP about and it's impossible, heaven forbid how the general public copes.

I am wondering how the culture in the DWP differs from other government departments in creating this response? I have obviously spoken to difficult people in other government departments but in the DWP it appears to be widespread and insidious and I can't help but feel this must be a culture created from the top down.

Madein1995 · 13/05/2019 21:58

titus I can completely imagine some of the unhelpful staff you've experienced. A lot of it I think is due to a lack of training. There's next to none. Also the job changed for my intake - we were told no phones at interview, so it was sprung on us and many staff resented that. If youve someone with no telephony training, no customer service experience, yet theyre expected to field calls from angry and upset people, and too often they don't know how to deal with it. Add in the fact that many taff have no background understanding of te benefit and that adds to the chaos.

Certain things such as security uestions have to be done, and I suppose I've been obstructive in the past and reused to make any changes or send letters unless someone passes security. Its more than my job was worth. I could ork around that by arranging a visit so someone can certify you need an appointee etc, but otherwise my hands are tied.

I don't think most low level staff are purposely mean. Some are lazy as in all walks of life and some have some bloody awful views. The majority are decent people. They've no training, no experience, they've had a suicide call this morning with no back up from managers, they've been threatened and screamed ata all morning and so if someone gets annoyed when being told they cannot bypass security, a firm response is understandable. The pressure they're under is immense.

That said, no one should recieve substandard service. Claimants can be vulnerable, and while they shouldn't be expected to take any abuse or arsy comments ('how do you sleep, how can i feed my kids' etc) they should not be rude. Firm, hanging up if neccessary is fine, rudeness is not. Most claimants ringing are having one of the worst days of their life and some compassion wouldn't go amiss. I would urge anyone who thinks they have been mistreated by a member of DWP staff to make a complaint. The complaints team take it extremely seriously, will listen to the call and decide then.

I think the DWP is in desperate need of funding. Give your staff proper contracts so they're not stressed and looking for jobs at every opportunity. Provide proper support to colleagues who have had suicide calls. Back up colleagues when they tell a customer something, not just break the rules to appease an angry tosspot. Be a lot more stringent about the APs and let DWP staff raise their concerns. Those things don't change the actual benefit system (although god knows disability benefit especially needs looking at!) but would make the existing system more efficient, and kinder to both its staff and its claimants.

Of course, that wont happen.

OP posts:
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