PIP, DLA and AA
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Pip been stopped. Any advice?

KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
Hey everyone, I’m 25, have chronic fatigue, hypermobility and fibromyalgia along with severe mental health issues. 

One of my lovely neighbors put in a false claim about me working so my ESA got investigated, they saw I wasn’t working then hit my PIP. Dwp were spying on me to gain information to say I don’t deserve my pip. Everything has now been stopped except my ESA. They have video footage of me walking from my back path to the car which is the only way to the car, and walking halfway round the town with my occupational therapist. I’ve been advised against using crutches as they cause more pain, but I do use a mobility scooter on my bad days, dwp managed to not film those days.. They have accused me of fraud and I was under investigation. I was on enhanced rate for both parts of pip as I have schizophrenia and psychosis and one of my biggest fears was the government watching me. Citizens advice was useless and I’m hoping to get represented by a lawyer. My neighbor wrote a statement about me but got someone else to write it for her. I’m awaiting my mandatory reconsideration response, but I’m so angry and scared this was done to me. Any advice? 

Replies

  • DaveTheWaspDaveTheWasp Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Wow, that sounds like you're having a pretty rough time.

    In relation to PIP, I think it would all depend on which descriptors you were awarded the PIP for, and if/how the evidence contradicts these descriptors. Everyone should be allowed to have good days where they are more capable than others, but if these become a majority then I would have thought that it would class as a change of circumstances/condition.

    Be prepared for this to be a long fight (MR's rarely change the outcome of decisions) but there are plenty of people here with lots of experience and knowledge to offer, and who will be able to point you to the right places.

    I hope this makes sense (I'm not the best at explaining myself) and the best of luck with this! 

  • jadealyssajadealyssa Member Posts: 63 Courageous
    Hi @KailahD23
    Sorry your having a rubbish time.
    Maybe if you can get your doctors to send your medical reports on to DWP and maybe ask them to do a covering letter to explain your condition and why you may have good/bad days. There may be a one fo cost for your doctor to do this but I guess it's worth a try.
    Hope this if of some help
    Best wishes 
    Jade 
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 3,816 Disability Gamechanger
    people don't realise the damage they can do with malicious reporting and I hope you get this sorted out.
    my advice is given freely and is correct to the best of my knowledge.
  • KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Thankyou both of you. So when I went for my f2f, we told the nurse I walked to the shop/chemist on my good days. Bad days I can’t get out of bed. I have help wherever I go and I am never unaccompanied. My circumstances haven’t changed, I’m still the same with more medical issues now, I have my medical notes but it states I have symptoms of fibromyalgia 🙄 I do though have all my other diagnoses. 
    I told dwp as well about not being able to use crutches, but they’ve made up a lot of **** in order to have a case against me. They also haven’t put in all the information that they had on tape. 
  • KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    @woodbine Thankyou so much. X
  • jadealyssajadealyssa Member Posts: 63 Courageous
    @KailahD23
    I would gather whatever evidence you have of your own, medical or otherwise and submit this. Some people in this world can be very spiteful and have no true understanding of how this will severely impact people...just because you have good days doesn't mean you don't have a serious disability.
    I really hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. Keel your head high and continue to fight 
    Thinking of you 
  • KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Bless you. Thankyou so much @jadealyssa much love to you xx
  • jadealyssajadealyssa Member Posts: 63 Courageous
    @KailahD23
    Your very welcome.
    Anything I can be of help of please give us a shout
    Keep us updated 
    Best wishes 
  • KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I will do @jadealyssa thanks again xx
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    woodbine said:
    people don't realise the damage they can do with malicious reporting and I hope you get this sorted out.
    You have the DWP on one hand telling everybody that it is their duty and responsibility to inform on others if they have any misgivings over whether they should be in receipt of a particular benefit. On the other hand people criticise them for telling tales.
    I don't think that the question of what damage people cause is important. I have read it elsewhere that you should not report anybody unless you have proof that they are deceiving the DWP - that is going too far in my opinion.
    Many people inform on others with the best of intention.

  • KailahD23KailahD23 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    edited February 2020
    @skullcap, if I had lied about anything then fair enough. But I’ve done nothing wrong. The person who reported me is malicious and has done it to nearly everyone in our street. That’s not ‘with the best intentions’ that’s just being a d*ck
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
    @skullcap said "I don't think that the question of what damage people cause is important."

    This is one of your old favourites under Yadnad, Gruber etc - I did wonder how long it would be before this came up again.

     How do the informants know what the claimant is being paid PIP for - i.e. the substance of their claim?

     If you see someone walking down the street do you grass? Maybe they can't manage to walk again until the following day? Do they suffer from a variable condition? Chances are that the grass doesn't know, unless he/ she has  seen what was written on the claim form.

    The important question that the DWP should ask, and don't seem to, is 'why has this person come forward with this information?'

    Are they public spirited? Or involved in a dispute over parking, hedge-trimming etc? Or just downright nasty?

    @KailahD23 - I'm sorry to hear what has happened - I hope that it all works out...


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    cristobal said:
    @skullcap said "I don't think that the question of what damage people cause is important."

    This is one of your old favourites under Yadnad, Gruber etc - I did wonder how long it would be before this came up again.




    You and me both..
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • cristobalcristobal Member Posts: 966 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
    @OTIS20 - I think the problem is, when you are grassing on people who are potentially vulnerable/depressed/ suffering various forms of mental illness, is that it can very easily make their condition a lot worse. No-one likes to feel that they're been spied on and some people are more 'sensitive' to this than others...I don't think it would bother me personally.

    Much depends I think on the motive I think, as I said earlier. If you genuinely believe someone is on the fiddle then by all means tell the DWP. Just be certain that you're not grassing because they've nicked your parking space, or you're fed up with their dog barking....

  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    For a start I don't condone anyone 'grassing' someone up for no reason but on the other hand if the bar was set at the informant should only inform on someone if they had concrete and conclusive evidence.no one would do so because it would be impossible to get that level of evidence.
    As for saying that passing the assessment and being given an award should be the end of it and the DWP should not take action over what an informant says is ridiculous. No one would be prosecuted based on information given.
    The vast number of cases that have been through the courts are for those individuals that were genuinely given an award, they simply 'forgot' to tell the DWP that there had been an improvement.
    If I saw someone that I knew had a Motability car and that he regularly played 18 holes of golf and every morning and he walked the 1/2 mile there and back to the paper shop I would pass that information on to the DWP. I see that as my duty and responsibility to the rest of society.
    What the DWP do with that information is down to them and not my problem. We all have a responsibility to society to pass on information that will or could fight crime. People do it with drug dealers and users, burglars etc so why not with people that fail to pay their tax or fiddle the DWP?

  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    OTIS20 said:
    Agree. People thst past assessment should be left alone there under enough stress etc and people watching them only hurtsv
    What an open invitation to become a benefit cheat. 'Hey I was awarded it so the DWP should ignore any future allegation that I might be cheating the system'?
    We are a 'watched' society in more ways than one. In fact we are more watched than the population of China and Russia.
    For many years the government and police have brainwashed us into becoming more aware of what others are doing around us. It all helps to solve and prevent crime. It is just normal practice now to pick up the phone and ring the hotline or Crime stoppers to report suspicious activities.
     
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    OTIS20 said:
    Ohh but do you not think thst if someone did inform on someone they should at least stand uo and show there face and be counted to the person if its just a case of not a ax to grind or payback for parking in there space etc 
    Probably they should, I would. But most people are nervous of repercussions especially if it is a neighbour or family member involved. In their case, they would think twice about bringing trouble down on their own head hence why it is anonymous.
    At the moment I am gathering enough information regarding ex family members which will be passed to the DWP, Police and HMRC. In my case I don't just ring the hotline I make an appointment to see the relevant authority to talk what I know through with them.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    A danger of conflating two issues here and missing things in the process. Unless the person who made a report has said they made the report then there’s no way DWP tell you. Even if a person claims to have been the reporter it doesn’t mean it’s true. Anonymity is crucial else few would report. If there’s little substance to the accusation then the truth will usually out fairly quickly unless other questions arise or there’s a lack of good advice and representation, as is the risk here. 

    Ultimately, whether they were or not makes zero difference to the desired outcome. It may make a difference to neighbourly relations but if part of a health condition involves a fear of being watched then poor relationships may unfortunately happen anyway. 

    Logically fraud is prevented, at least in some small part, by there being a reporting mechanism. It would plainly be ludicrous if there weren’t. Debating the motives is all well and good but no-one can second guess them and again it makes literally no difference to the outcome. 

    Moving onwards to the actual issue.

    An MR is the next step but the success rate is 16% so the outcome is pretty much random. However, much more clarity is required here. “Good days” is a poor phrase to use. DWP rightly or wrongly interpret it as meaning “no symptoms” whereas most people mean “less symptoms”. The key question here is the extent to which the “less bad days” are close to 50% or more. If they exceed the “bad days” then clearly there is an issue to be resolved but it’s not necessarily fraud. Medical evidence may help but it needs to address that specific point. Something vaguely giving your diagnosis and how long it’s existed is neither use nor ornament. 

    Then we have the question of what “accused of fraud” means. Does it mean that charges have been formally laid and that you’ve been notified of that or does it mean that fraud has been suggested but nothing more? Not every overpayment is fraud. 

    However, the way DWP often play these cases is to imply that they’re going to prosecute for fraud, often in circumstances where they’ve not a hope in hell, and then suggest that if you just drop the claim and agree to an overpayment then they’ll not do so. They even throw in admin penalties for fraud even when they’re not prosecuting. It’s an underhand tactic but it happens. You need to be live to it and get good advice quickly.

    You will need a solicitor if a charge of fraud is to be laid but possibly not otherwise. You will need a WRO to challenge any recoverable overpayment. Solicitors don’t get much benefits training and no legal aid for representation at an appeal hearing so they’re unlikely to help you challenge any recoverable overpayment and will often see the best way forward as to fess up to a fraud because they don’t necessarily know their way around the benefit rules. 

    Ideally, if there is to be a prosecution, you need a solicitor for that and a WRO for the allegedly recoverable overpayment. You need them to work together and a WRO may find themselves explaining why fraud has not taken place to a solicitor.

    There’s no way of any of us knowing whether there was a fraud here or not. All we can do is highlight the way forward without assumptions one way or another.
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    edited February 2020
    Thanks, all very logical and clear. 'best way forward as to fess up to a fraud because they don’t necessarily know their way around the benefit rules'. could also be where a legal aid solicitor and/or barrister knows absolutely nothing about the benefit rules and best advice that is given in many/most cases is as you have said, plead guilty for the chance of a reduced sentence irrespective of whether the claimant is guilty or not. Heard of it happening quite a few times especially involving cases where Welfare Rights are not of good quality that is if you can find one in the first place.

    Nothing to do with any criminal act, more a confusing and an out of the ordinary situation. I spent the best part of three hours once over the course of two meetings with the CAB only to be told at the end that they did not know the answer or how to proceed. They suggested that I contact a solicitor that specialises in benefit law. And we all know that they are not only expensive and as rare as hen's teeth. Suffice it to say I muddled through on my own, got it all wrong and ended up failing to claim a benefit that if I had have done so at the time would have seen me by now approaching £30,000 better off.   
  • sooze77sooze77 Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    I used to work in this area. Not all reports are looked in to (believe me there are thousands). Many people are reported again and again. Have you seen the evidence that they have against you? It would be very unusual for them to just watch your for the one or two days, they have to do it for a number of days and sadly in this instance they have seen you walking over a period of time and this has prompted a review and a new decision. All you can do is appeal against the decision now and it is up to you to show them why you think they are incorrect.

    It is sad that some people report maliciously but in my opinion this reporting system does need to be there. There are many people that cheat the system (l am not in any way saying you are) so there does have to be a way for people to be reported. Just work now on gathering all your evidence together that can prove you should still be entitled. 
  • sooze77sooze77 Member Posts: 20 Courageous
    That's life sadly, its nothing new and has always been this way. People report others for many reasons, feeling hard done by, spite, jealousy and some genuinely think they have the responsibility to do so if they feel someone is claiming fraudulently. I know many that do it for the latter reason and in no way does that make them busy bodies or make them bad people. Some people do need to be reported because they are cheating the system. Like l said unfortunately others will be caught up in this process and the onus is on them to prove why they feel the decision was wrong, but taking into consideration any evidence they have against you. In the first instance ask to see all of that evidence if you have not done so already. That will give you a good starting point and you can start to contest where you think they are incorrect.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    skullcap said:
    Thanks, all very logical and clear. 'best way forward as to fess up to a fraud because they don’t necessarily know their way around the benefit rules'. could also be where a legal aid solicitor and/or barrister knows absolutely nothing about the benefit rules and best advice that is given in many/most cases is as you have said, plead guilty for the chance of a reduced sentence irrespective of whether the claimant is guilty or not. Heard of it happening quite a few times especially involving cases where Welfare Rights are not of good quality that is if you can find one in the first place.
    I’m not sure you’ve understood my point here. The advice to fess up tends to occur when there’s no WR advice. It would rarely occur where there was. OTIS20 said:
    Yes but why do people report other people. Is it that there law abiding or judt plan am simple jealous. They need to ask themselves a serious question. I bet the same people report other people wouldn't knock back a bit of hookie gear from the market. So they are not without sin tbh i know a few people like this sit on there high horses and condem other people 
    Here’s the thing. Who cares what the motivation is? It makes literally no difference to anything. The very act of posing the question though... is intruding into other people’s business is it not! 
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    skullcap said:
    Thanks, all very logical and clear. 'best way forward as to fess up to a fraud because they don’t necessarily know their way around the benefit rules'. could also be where a legal aid solicitor and/or barrister knows absolutely nothing about the benefit rules and best advice that is given in many/most cases is as you have said, plead guilty for the chance of a reduced sentence irrespective of whether the claimant is guilty or not. Heard of it happening quite a few times especially involving cases where Welfare Rights are not of good quality that is if you can find one in the first place.
    I’m not sure you’ve understood my point here. The advice to fess up tends to occur when there’s no WR advice. It would rarely occur where there was. OTIS20 said:

    Sorry if I did not make myself clear. Being advised to plead guilty irrespective of whether they are actually guilty is the norm in benefit fraud. It is only different when the accused is able to access good advice from a WRO that things change. In fact I have even heard that the criminal case should and is put on hold until the results of a FTT appeal hearing of an appeal has been issued over the level of any overpayment.
    Finding these experienced solicitors/barristers that have good knowledge of the workings of the welfare system is almost impossible to secure unless you have the funds to do so. Likewise good WRO are as rare as hen's teeth too.  

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,006 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes that is a tad clearer thank you. However, it is not true to say that the criminal case can be held until the SSAT has been heard. They run on separate tracks at their own speed and it is exceptionally difficult to impose the obvious logic onto that. That very issue is one of many reasons a person accused of fraud needs a solicitor and a WRO as both will know best how to manage their respective processes. 

    There’s a whole other discussion to be had about what funds may or may not buy you but the idea that good WROs are rare is a weird assertion. Who is judging that? 

    Claimants with all due respect are in no position to judge. If you win their case then you’re good? Lose and your bad? That makes no sense at all objectively. If you cherry pick only cases that would have won anyway claimants won’t see that. They’ll l just read others eulogising how their case was won by company x or WRO z and conclude “good”. Equally it I take winnable cases and accept the risk that some with winnable cases will lose then do the losers make me a bad WRO when actually I’ve no control over how many winnable cases come through the door week to week. Check my stats January to March and my loss rate might look high. The opposite may be true April to June. Am I good in one quarter and poor in the next? 

    There are other objective factors to be taken into account but also many subjective factors. Such bland assertions hides myriad of complex issues. Good and bad are really not that simple. 
  • skullcapskullcap Posts: 172 Member
    Thanks. I agree and from my point of view can only evidence cases that I am aware of. I have good knowledge of three such cases that all ended up in Crown Court where the accused either failed to find a WRO or did not put much effort into finding one. All had legal representation via legal aid with two of them having barristers that could not attend court so ended up with an 'unknown' representative.
    All pleaded guilty on the advice of their barrister and all three received suspended prison terms as well as an order to repay what the DWP had calculated.
    Whether the convictions as well as the mitigation could have been handled better I have no idea, but following the hearing one of the cases ended up at a Tribunal where the overpayment was deemed not collectible due to health issues. This decision did not affect the order that was made by the Court. The original overpayment still stood to be paid into court.
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