Tomorrow interview -- overreaching? — Scope | Disability forum
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Tomorrow interview -- overreaching?

I've received an unexpected letter summoning me to an interview tomorrow because "we're reviewing your benefits and circumstances".

My circumstances have not changed in any way since I was assessed for and awarded Pip last year.

I am not an "old hand" at this and have never been investigated before. I am a bit intimidated and a bit affronted. The wording of the letter is threatening.

My question is this: I am in receipt on Contribution Based ESA, and PIP, and nothing else. I have read up about these and they are not in any way means tested. I am entitled to these two benefits regardless of how much I have in savings, income from any source whether earned or unearned. And yet in this letter they demand that I bring statements that show every bit of money that I have: e.g. all my savings, building society accounts, post office, bank statements, also ISAs, Premum Bonds, Income Bonds, Captial bonds, National Savings, and any other savings or investments.

As my two benefits are not affected by any savings I have, why are they asking, do they have a right to see these things?

Don't I have a right to privacy over savings that do not in any way affect my benefits? 

Are they overreaching their authority and just being nosy for no legal reason about things that do not affect my benefit?

What would happen if I took just my bank account statement and nothing else> Can they withdraw my benefits for not declaring savings that do not affect my benefits?

Thanks to any expert who can advise.

Marianne

Comments

  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    I've received an unexpected letter summoning me to an interview tomorrow because "we're reviewing your benefits and circumstances".

    My circumstances have not changed in any way since I was assessed for and awarded Pip last year.

    I am not an "old hand" at this and have never been investigated before. I am a bit intimidated and a bit affronted. The wording of the letter is threatening.

    My question is this: I am in receipt on Contribution Based ESA, and PIP, and nothing else. I have read up about these and they are not in any way means tested. I am entitled to these two benefits regardless of how much I have in savings, income from any source whether earned or unearned. And yet in this letter they demand that I bring statements that show every bit of money that I have: e.g. all my savings, building society accounts, post office, bank statements, also ISAs, Premum Bonds, Income Bonds, Captial bonds, National Savings, and any other savings or investments.

    As my two benefits are not affected by any savings I have, why are they asking, do they have a right to see these things?

    Don't I have a right to privacy over savings that do not in any way affect my benefits? 

    Are they overreaching their authority and just being nosy for no legal reason about things that do not affect my benefit?

    What would happen if I took just my bank account statement and nothing else> Can they withdraw my benefits for not declaring savings that do not affect my benefits?

    Thanks to any expert who can advise.

    Marianne
  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    I know PIP isn't means tested but don't know ESA is same.  But you know, so you are ok on that. Sometimes checks like this are done as a customer service audit that people are getting what they should.

    I`m sure someone will be along with the right advice.

    I can see why it is making you anxious...I`d be just the same.

    Best wishes for tomorrow. xx

  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Thanks for your kind wishes.

    Apparently there are two types of  ESA, and I am on the one which is not means tested. They made it clear to me when I was awarded it.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Sometimes they do these compliance interviews at complete random just to check that you're receiving the correct benefits.

    You say you're claiming just contributions based ESA, may i ask which group you're in and are you claiming the old Contributions based ESA or the New style ESA?

    If you're claiming the old Contributions based ESA are you 100% sure that you're not claiming the Income related top up on the Contributions based ESA because some people do, depending on their circumstances. If it's definitely all Contributions based and you're in the support group then you will be receiving £111.65 per week, is this the same amount as you're receiving? If it's more than this then you'll be claiming the income related top up, which is means tested. You'll be surprised at the people that get confused between them and what exactly they are claiming.

    Do you receive any work pensions?




  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    Question answered on your other thread with this reply...

    Hi,

    Sometimes they do these compliance interviews at complete random just to check that you're receiving the correct benefits.

    You say you're claiming just contributions based ESA, may i ask which group you're in and are you claiming the old Contributions based ESA or the New style ESA?

    If you're claiming the old Contributions based ESA are you 100% sure that you're not claiming the Income related top up on the Contributions based ESA because some people do, depending on their circumstances. If it's definitely all Contributions based and you're in the support group then you will be receiving £111.65 per week, is this the same amount as you're receiving? If it's more than this then you'll be claiming the income related top up, which is means tested. You'll be surprised at the people that get confused between them and what exactly they are claiming.

    Do you receive any work pensions?

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    Also to add to my advice, if you're working yourself then this must be declared to DWP as part of permitted work and you mustn't earn anymore than £131.50 per week, anything more than this and you won't be entitled to any ESA, even if all your ESA is Contributions based. Do you work at all?


  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Oh dear it's all so terribly confusing.

    may i ask which group you're in ~  I am looking at a letter from them and I cannot see where it says that. Could it be "Limited capability for work addition"?

    are you 100% sure that you're not claiming the Income related top up ~ 

    Yes I do receive a work pension, that started recently, and they have deducted some  money from the ESA because of it.

    I used to get £111.65 like you said, but since I turned 60 they deduct £13.23 for the work pension.


  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    are you 100% sure that you're not claiming the Income related top up ~ 

    Yes, the letter days I get ESA contribution based, nothing else on that letter.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    If that was all that you were claiming before the pension (£111.65) per week then this will all be just contributions based. If you were claiming anymore than that then it will be the income related top up. That amount also tells me that you're in the support group.

    Your works pension is reducing your ESA because you're claiming more than £85 per week and anything more than this will reduce the amount of ESA Contributions based that you're entitled to.

    Are you working or have you done any paid work recently?
  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Ah, I see. I really ought to know all of this stuff off the cuff. It just seems like such a complicated business that I just leave it all to the DWP to assess me and decide what they want to give me.

    No, I have not worked for years.

    So regarding my question, why are they demanding to see paperwork relating to savings etc when they don't affect my benefits at all, and do I have to give them all this private info and what will happen if I don't? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    I have no idea why they are asking to see that if all of your ESA has always been just contributions based. As advised, sometimes they do these checks to see if you're claiming all the benefits you're entitled to.
  • Cressida
    Cressida Member Posts: 920 Pioneering
    Ah, I see. I really ought to know all of this stuff off the cuff. It just seems like such a complicated business that I just leave it all to the DWP to assess me and decide what they want to give me.

    No, I have not worked for years.

    So regarding my question, why are they demanding to see paperwork relating to savings etc when they don't affect my benefits at all, and do I have to give them all this private info and what will happen if I don't? 
    If this information is easily accessible I would just take it along to sort everything out the day. Just my humble opinion as I'm no expert.
  • susan48
    susan48 Member Posts: 2,222 Disability Gamechanger
    I had a compliance interview and ordered to take bank statements for every account, mortgage balance, share certificates etc etc . I did take them but he didn’t even read them and gave me them back after the interview was over 
  • Cressida
    Cressida Member Posts: 920 Pioneering
    Glad it was straightforward then. If you hadnt taken them they may have asked for them. I'm confused thoughas i thought your interview was today?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    Cressida said:
    Glad it was straightforward then. If you hadnt taken them they may have asked for them. I'm confused thoughas i thought your interview was today?
    The person that posted the thread is having their interview today. Susan already had theirs because it's a different person. :)
  • atlas46
    atlas46 Member Posts: 826 Pioneering
    Hi @MarianneDown

    Good luck with your interview today, I am sure it will be something and nothing.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Best wishes
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,076

    Scope community team

    Good luck today @MarianneDown, let us know how you get on. Hopefully they'll clear things up for you!
    Community Manager
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.
  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Thanks for all your kind thoughts and good wishes.

    I wish I could understand why someone whose benefits are not means-tested has to produce evidence of all their savings.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    If you've never worked or had any other income from working then there should be no reason why they are asking for the statements, if you've always been claiming just Contributions based. Without seeing the paper work it's difficult to advise. Good luck for today and please do let us know the outcome.
  • Cressida
    Cressida Member Posts: 920 Pioneering
    Cressida said:
    Glad it was straightforward then. If you hadnt taken them they may have asked for them. I'm confused thoughas i thought your interview was today?
    The person that posted the thread is having their interview today. Susan already had theirs because it's a different person. :)
    @poppy123456 whoops didn't realise that it was a different person! I must pay attention :)

  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,642 Disability Gamechanger
    Does anyone still get paper bank statements?  Don't remember the last time I got one, all done on a phone app nowadays, and laptop for a few years before that, no idea how I'd get statements if I needed to provide them!  :o
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    Does anyone still get paper bank statements?  Don't remember the last time I got one, all done on a phone app nowadays, and laptop for a few years before that, no idea how I'd get statements if I needed to provide them!  :o
    Change your settings on your online banking to request paper statements.
  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Overly and Poppy.

    I am paperless. I simply logged on to the bank, downloaded my statement as PDF and printed it out.

    Well, I went and it was nothing.

    They didn't ask for anything but my passport to prove ID.

    Not interested in my savings at all.

    Just told me not to work more than 16 hours a week or earn more than £130pw. I already knew that.

    What was the point of all that then? It's a mystery to me.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,730 Disability Gamechanger
    I used to be paperless too but this isn't always convenient, especially for those who don't have access to a printer. I do have a printer but the cost of the ink isn't cheap. For this reason i changed to receiving the paper copies, this way if i need them for anything i easily have them to hand.

    Glad the interview was nothing to worry about, as advised it was most likely a complete random check, which they do sometimes do and the letter you sent was most likely a automatically generated standard letter, which happened to ask for the evidence it asked for. Letters from DWP very often make no sense at all.
  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Poppy. I'm a bit chagrined about the list of things they asked for in the letter, causing me to have to rummage through file boxes to find letters and statements, as well as having to print off my bank statements and all my savings and investments, only to find they didn't actually want or need any of them.

    She was awfully sweet and friendly. I wondered if she was a "smiling assassin".
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,076

    Scope community team

    Hi @MarianneDown. I'm glad it doesn't seem to have been anything to worry about. Did they say whether they would be in touch again? 
    Community Manager
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.
  • MarianneDown
    MarianneDown Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Thanks Adrian. No, that was the end of it.

    For now...
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,076

    Scope community team

    Will be keeping my fingers crossed for you! :)
    Community Manager
    Scope

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

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