PIP, DLA and AA
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.
Receiving too many notifications? Adjust your notification settings.

Initiating new assessments

SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
edited February 2018 in PIP, DLA and AA
Hi guys,

I’ve been locked in a ‘battle’ with the DWP for the last 2 years with them taking every action possible to disprove my entitlement. Although I’ve done what I can on my part to fight this and have been assisted in part by Community Law, it has now reached the point where it has become so ‘legally convoluted’ that Community Law cannot assist me any further and I’ve neen advised to seek legal representation which I can ill afford.

As this is an impossibility, I am hoping to initiate new assessments for both my ESA and PIP and should it reach court as it did previously, provide the courts with all the evidence I’ve accrued over the last 2 years as to the conduct of the DWP.

Does anyone have any advice as to how to ‘trigger’ new assessments without misleading the DWP?

Thanks in advance.

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    Simple. Don’t. You do not need legal representation for social security matters unless they are Equality Act or judicial review. What you actually need is face to face advice with either an independent advice centre or local authority welfare rights. It should not cost.

    Any issues you have with DWP may heighten your sense of injustice but they will not help with a successful ESA or PIP claim. Please explain what is convuluted about the claims and I’ll see if I can point you in the right direction. Until then a new claim to either would be a bad idea on a number of fronts.
  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    Dear @mikehughescq, there is far too much information and innumerable issues to write here but the most recent matter being that my personal circumstance has been under ‘investigation’ for the last 6 months and me being given 3 different explanations for said investigation. I was advised to put in a Subject Access Request for all the information the DWP hold on me who have refused this in its entirety owing to the Data Protection Act (specifically section 7 (6) a.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    I’m an experienced WRO and, in my experience, most matters can be boiled down to two or three key points. So...

    - are you currently getting ESA and/or PIP?
    - does investigation mean that you’re suspected of fraud and have had interviews under caution or does it mean you’re struggling to get decisions to award one or both of those benefits?

  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    edited February 2018
    @mikehughescq I am in reciept of both but the issues I have had accessing these are many and complex.

    I have not been advised as to the reason as to why I’m being investigated with me being given 3 different reasons as to why, however benefits fraud has never been mentioned in any of these explanations.

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    Right, so at present you’re getting both benefits and they’re not suspended, which is what would ordinarily happen if you were being investigated. 

    What is it that makes you think you’re being investigated? 
  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    edited February 2018
    @mikehughescq I was requested to attend an interview with the compliance department at my local job centre which owing to my illnesses (Agoraphobia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was and impossibility so an interview was conducted over the phone. During this ‘conversation’ I was told that as I had recently changed bank accounts that this had ‘highlighted my circumstance for investigation’. They also stated that owing to the investigation they had accessed my bank account and have found a number of small payments paid into my account (these payments were by family members subsequent to assessments for my benefits in which my benefits were reduced substantially and I could no longer afford to cover outgoings. These were voluntary contributions and vastly under the ‘savings capital’). Although they accepted my reasoning for these deposits they advised that further investigation would have to take place. The investigation was escalated to the Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate who advised there wasn’t a case to answer but stated the DWP could continue investigation if they so wished. The CFCD have stated that the reason for the investigation was owing to the belief I had not reported my true capital. On putting in the Subject Access Request the DWP have refused this quoting the Data Protection Act and stating it would compromise the confidentiality of a third party (in my opinion inferring a report of benefits fraud). 

    As I have said I have never been offered a comprehensive reason as to why I was investigated and all three of the reasons offered do not correlate. 
  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    edited February 2018
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    Right, so they were basically looking at capital, which would only impact means-tested ESA, HB and CTR and, more likely, periodic income. If they didn’t suspend during the investigation then they were only looking for a small overpayment and as they concluded there was no case to answer then surely the matter is concluded.

    To be honest it’s not an unreasonable thing to investigate once random payments come to light and if they have concluded that there was no issue then I’m not clear as to what you think a SAR will achieve. 
  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    edited February 2018
    @mikehughescq I put in the SAR as I am yet to recieve any real explanation as to why this ‘investigation’ took place, with me being offered additional account of why on doing so. 

    I also cannot comprehend as to why it would take in excess of 6 months and an escalation to the CFCD to investigate a couple of small payments being paid into my bank account.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh that’s simple. 

    You’ve already had the explanation that access to your bank highlighted irregular payments and it takes so long because they’re hugely underesourced. Nothing more to it than that usually. As you appear to have suffered no financial loss there a[pears to be no purpose to the SAR.

    Had someone for example “grassed you up” they would obviously not tell you who or the specifics as that’s not technically your data. 


  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    @mikehughescq

    Thanks for your response however I’m sure you can understand my confusion. I accepted their ‘explanation’ until the CFCD advised the investigation was initiated for a different reason and with the SAR request now offering a third reason.

    I also question why my SAR would be refused in its entirety (I requested on advice to request all information between 2 dates), on this one ‘technicality’ when even if someone had reported me for benefits fraud, this would only pertain to a small amount of the information the DWP hold on me so this would not stop them providing me with the rest of the requested information.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    I understand the confusion but I’m not sure what’s achieved by an SAR. The nature of fraud prevention means such enquiries will occur from time to time and there’s nothing any of us can do in relating to data held which can prevent that. 
  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    edited February 2018
    @mikehughescq

    I did this on advice of Community Law who advised me to do this owing to the lack of, then subsequent conflicting explanations as to why the investigation took place.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger

    Then I think you may wish to go back to them and ask "why"?

    Your benefit remains in place. There was no financial loss and, whilst none of us like being investigated, it will happen from time to time. There is literally nothing you can do to understand further what happened and it achieves nothing but a large expenditure of time which could be spent on other things.


  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    @mikehughescq

    Many thanks for your help.

    I think you’re right in what you said at the very start of the post in that any issue that anyone has with the DWP just increases the feeling of injustice and although the DWP have not been without fault in how they’ve dealt with my claim for benefits, I fear I may have fallen into this belief of bias on their behalf. 

    Whilst I wholly disagree with how they treat many of those who have no alternative but to access state benefits, I guess we are ultimately just numbers to them and much of our personal circumstance or the reason why many of us are in the position we are, has no bearing on how they deal with us unfortunately.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger

    Can't disagree with any of that.

    I've a friend who was on ESA and was anonymously reported for working PT in a local cinema. It was abject nonsense as they hadn't the physical capacity to stay that mobile for even a day without significant rest and sleep. Friend was highly agitated and wanted to know who, why, when and so on. Was absolutely raging and quite distressed.

    My advice was to co-operate fully.

    It turned out to be a case of wholly mistaken identity. It took 4 months to resolve but again that was simply because they are overworked and understaffed. It's also the case that the people who you meet are just gathering facts. They are rarely the actual fraud investigators and often know absolutely zero about the benefit they've been tasked with asking questions about so there's a whole process of someone writing something up; passing it on etc.

    Again, at the end, my friend wished to know who, why etc. but I advised to simply drop it. Stuff happens. You deal with it and then, for the sake of your health and sanity, you move. Retrospectively he understands the value of that advice.  


  • SMW83SMW83 Member Posts: 91 Courageous
    I think anyone in such a situation would want to know the reason for such an investigation, especially those who are innocent and have nothing to hide as with your friend and I.

    Although I understand they have to investigate such reports, they cannot comprehend what effect this has on those they are investigating, especially those with mental heath issues. This has had a tremendous detrimental effect on my health, not only with my mental health declining/having to have medication increased & having new ones prescribed/almost being sectioned owing to my belief I was being targeted by the DWP,  over the months this investigation has taken place with me being concerned as to the outcome of the investigation i.e would I be prosecuted/have my benefits stopped etc  but as my focus has been predominantly on proving my ‘innocence’ I have been unable to recuperate or recover. 

    Whilst many of the DWPs actions are intended to prevent misuse of the system/minimise the length of time claimants are reliant of state benefits, this, in my case and I’m sure of many others, has had the opposite effect and in fact prolonged it.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,334 Disability Gamechanger
    A valid point.
Sign in or join us to comment.