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DWP Home Visits

August 18, 2014

Following on from this post from yesterday, reader Neil Vaughn sent me this information about DWP home visits, which he has allowed me to share with you all.

An unexpected knock at the door. Someone standing there with an ID card claiming they have come to check if you are getting the correct benefits and could they please come in?

What do you do?

You don’t have to be guilty of anything to find the possibility of such a visit very alarming – especially if you have a mental health condition made worse by stress and anxiety.

Earlier this year there was a lot of concern about just such visits, prompted by a change to a page on the DWP website which stated:

You may get a visit from a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officer to check that your benefits payments are correct.
A Performance Measurement review officer may visit you if you’re claiming:
Employment and Support Allowance
Housing Benefit
Income Support
Jobseeker’s Allowance
Pension Credit
Your name is selected at random to be checked. You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.

The concern was the addition of the sentence:

You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.

Worries about how to deal with such a visit were posted on various blogs and forums and we received numerous requests from members for guidance on how to deal with these visits.

A Freedom of Information request was made.

As a result of that request it can now be revealed that, in reality, the vast majority of people who get a visit do not get a letter in advance – surprise visits are the rule, not the exception. There’s more on this below.

However,
you don’t have to let them in; and
• you can insist on being given proper notice;
• you can insist on having the interview at a DWP office instead of in your home.

And doing so won’t affect your benefits, though refusing to take part in an interview at all may leave you open to a fraud investigation.
Only a tiny percentage of claimants receive one of these visits. But the majority who do get one are not given any warning.

In fact, far from ‘You won’t always get a letter,’ DWP staff are actually told:
‘You must make an un-notified visit to each customer, apart from the exceptions detailed in the subsequent paragraphs. If this is ineffective a second un-notified visit must be made.’

If two un-notified visits are made on the same day then another un-notified visit must be made on another day.
After that a letter has to be sent giving you at least 48 hours’ notice of a visit or 24 hours where the letter is hand delivered.

There are also certain classes of claimant who should never receive an unannounced visit, including:

“customers suffering from depression or a medically defined mental illness
customers with an alcohol or drug-related dependency
disabled customers where there is evidence from the preview information that they may be distressed if an MRO calls unannounced. “

However, where the visiting officer suspects, on the basis of your files, that you may be committing fraud they can still carry out an un-notified visit even if you are in one of the categories above.

And it’s important to be aware that one of the things visiting officers will do is look out for any difference between the details given in your work capability assessment medical report and your behaviour at home. The rather bizarre example given is that of a claimant who is up a ladder washing windows when visited, but their incapacity is listed as vertigo.

So, if your condition is a variable one and you’re having a better day, make that very clear – even if you aren’t asked.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2014 12:20 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. Terence Saunders permalink
    August 18, 2014 7:14 pm

    http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Vertigo/Pages/Introduction.aspx

    Vertigo is not fear of height! Read NHS page above!

    • August 18, 2014 7:22 pm

      Vertigo is not fear of height. However it is not the safest idea in the world to be up a ladder if there is any chance you may start feeling dizzy.

  3. celia56 permalink
    August 18, 2014 8:21 pm

    Benign Paroxismal Positional Vertigo is a condition of the middle ear that can come on suddenly at any time. It occurs when the otoconia which should be in the vestibule of the semi-circular canals of the inner ear migrate into the canals causing disorientation and dizziness. At it’s most severe, which I have experienced, you can end up throwing up your breakfast, lunch and dinner and unable to get to the phone 6 feet away to call for help with the world spinning around you… I did eventually get to the bathroom by closing my eyes and crawling there as I could stand up without falling over and certainly could drive to work. It isn’t caused by climbing up a ladder! Attacks can be shortened by performing the Eppley Manoeuvre. My longest attack lasted about 2 weeks before it slowly dissipated. It is not a pleasant condition to suffer from!

    • August 19, 2014 1:16 am

      All I can say is, if you get a visit, make sure you aim that spew well! lol Thank you for your explanation of your condition. Very interesting

      • March 12, 2016 9:55 pm

        I have Crohn’s disease & I’ll be sure to take aim but it won’t be spew I can assure you Roberta Lol 😀

  4. August 18, 2014 9:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  5. Daniela Chave permalink
    August 20, 2014 12:21 pm

    I am sure vertigo was meant to be a example, not a question of symptoms

  6. Ala permalink
    July 7, 2017 4:31 pm

    PLEASE BE WARNED!
    6 months after successful PIP Tribunal, I had this visit.
    In front of the assessor suffered SVT – tachycardia attack, after which the assessor told me “there would be no change”. Then I was asked to sign few pages.

    Few months later I was called for Athos PIP appointment. The DWP insisted I have reported change. My PIP was stopped. Only year later, while going through the paperwork for the second Tribunal I discovered a form – which was signed by me on the last page – THE ONLY PAGE I HAVE EVER SEEN. The form stated I declare CHANGE and improvement too my health!!

    Please, do NOT TRUST any DWP worker!!!!
    They will gladly put you through hell!!

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