Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Advice Needed

About a month ago, my "friend" who lives next door asked me for my bank details so that a family member could deposit some money into my account to get her by until her next ESA payment. The request seemed relatively benign, so I agreed. A few days ago, she informed me that another deposit would be coming through and asked if could help out again by picking it up for her.

When I checked my online statement, I discovered that she had somehow had her ESA payment directly deposited into my account without my permission. Highly annoyed, I asked her about it, and she apologised, but said it was fine. Because I find her to be intimidating, I went ahead and withdrew the cash because I cannot handle the stress. Knowing she'd be out of pocket for two weeks means she would undoubtedly be banging down my door, and I can see she would immediately call DWP and say I arranged to have the payment dropped into my account. 

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place with this because if I simply report it to DWP, I truly fear there will be physical repercussions being that I know she's associated with dodgy people. If I allow it to continue, I am going to be done for benefits fraud. At the moment, I feel so desperate as to change banks, move, and then report it to DWP before the next payment goes in.

Can someone please give me some peace of mind over this, because I am losing a lot of sleep thinking of what to do in such a short time.

Thank you


  • RipplesRipples Member Posts: 189 Pioneering
    @southlass Are you claiming benefits yourself? If so this could be seen as income you are receiving at first glance on behalf of a partner.  Secondly the wider repercussions are self evident. The 'friend' who is having this payment is using your account for a reason I think you know the correct course of action in your mind. Refuse to accept any more payments and if you are intimidated by this person just ring your bank and instruct them that you no longer wish to receive payments from DWP ref  ( NI number)
  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Yes, I am on ESA. Is it OK for someone to arrange having their benefits paid into someone else's bank account? I would think if it were not, the DWP would recognise that my bank account is currently receiving my own benefit deposit and reject it. Regardless, I will be moving house, (I have been wanting to move, anyway.), visiting my bank and visiting the Job Centre in person before another of her payments goes in. 
  • RipplesRipples Member Posts: 189 Pioneering
    @southlass Yes you can nominate any account to be paid benefits but as you are receiving benefits yourself  if asked you would have to explain what the payment  refers to on your statement  If  someone were committing fraud you could find yourself tied into that investigation.
  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    @Ripples Thank you so much. This has lifted a bit of weight off my mind. :smile:
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,352 Disability Gamechanger
    You can not let this continue, it must have been paid into your friends account for some time so why the need to ask to have it paid into yours, maybe your friend is in financial  difficulties or overdrawn and any money paid in would be used to clear debt so having it paid into yours allows her access to the full amount of cash. You could land yourself in a lot of trouble be careful .
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    I would stop it.
    The family member who wishes to give her some money to tie her over can simply send a postal order! 
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    edited May 2018
    @wilko Yes, I'm fully aware that she's done this in order to keep from having to pay overdrafts on her other accounts. Keep in mind, she did this all on her own and without my permission. I am most frustrated that the DWP has allowed her to deposit her ESA into my account.
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Why? You gave her your personal details. She went behind your back and connected them to change it. 
    It's not fine. It's out of order on her part.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    @whistles I never said it was fine. Those were her words of reassurance to me. In the eyes of the DWP, apparently it is OK, but obviously not with me when she took advantage of my kindness.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi southlass,

    A lot of bank account providers will print the national insurance number and the acronym of the appropriate benefit on the bank statement so it'll be quite easy to prove this money isn't yours, if you were ever asked to do so.
    You are clearly uncomfortable with this happening though and quite rightly you are annoyed that the friend gave the DWP your bank details for her money to go in. You need to ask her to stop it though and you know that if it's making you feel this way.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • debsidoodebsidoo Member Posts: 327 Pioneering
    edited May 2018
    Hi southlass
    I would speak to somebody at the bank about this.At least then you could perhaps tell her that they approached you.I know it’s a bit of a fib but at least by mentioning it to the bank you will be able to ask them what they think.
    I would then arrange a quiet chat with the Dwp.They won’t drop you in it but will query it with your neighbour.If you explain how intimidated you are by her then surely they cannot tell her you mentioned it to them because of data protection.
    After all you have done nothing illegal.
  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Just an update on this situation since I have been in contact with my bank and the DWP:

    My bank says they cannot stop anyone from depositing money into my account. The DWP has told me on two separate calls that I cannot stop her benefit from being deposited into my account. She is the only one that can change circumstances and stop the deposits. Although I've learned a hard lesson about giving out even basic account information, I still feel somewhat violated being that I no longer feel I'm in control of my own financial privacy.

    At any rate, I have also moved house without her knowing, so she has only two choices: Remove herself from my account, or volunteer her benefit to me. I am not rejoicing over the latter, as all I want is her out of my life and business.

    Thanks again for everyone's advice.
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Goodness, so sorry to hear about this situation, @southlass. I really hope you reach a resolution soon.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi southlass

    This sounds very stressful for you.

    Have you thought about closing your bank account and opening another elsewhere for your own use?

    Just  a thought, probably not one that you haven't considered. 

    Best wishes


  • southlasssouthlass Member Posts: 8 Connected
    The situation has been resolved. I moved out into a much better place and convinced him to take himself off my account. I was most concerned that the DWP would accuse me of benefit fraud, but everything was fine on that front as well. Thanks for your support!
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Confused the bank wouldn't stop the money going in. They can return to sender? 
    That's am interesting thing I didn't know.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
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