Hundreds of DLA claimants to be contacted under new 'Correctness Programme' initiative
Enquiry forms to be issued where DWP receives information that casts doubt on eligibility, reports Citizens Advice
Enquiry forms are being issued to hundreds of DLA claimants where information received through its fraud hotline, despite not being strong enough for a fraud investigation, casts doubt on their eligibility, reports Citizens Advice.
In its December 2009 'Social Policy Bulletin', Citizens Advice highlights that when the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS) receives information on its fraud hotline it is scored according to the strength of evidence given and, in the past, if it was strong enough for a fraud investigation it was passed on and weaker evidence was ignored.
However, under a new initiative launched as part of the DWP's DLA 'Correctness Programme', Citizens Advice highlights that a trial commenced in December 2009 that will look at 400 cases referred from the hotline where evidence is not enough for a fraud investigation -
'... the client will be sent a letter stating that PDCS have received information casting doubt on their eligibility for the benefit and asking them to complete the enclosed DLA enquiry form and return it within two weeks. The letter will tell the client to contact PDCS if it cannot be returned within two weeks.
If the DLA enquiry form is not returned, a further letter will be issued to the client, stating they have two weeks to return their enquiry form, or their benefit will be suspended. On suspension the client is then issued with another letter, explaining they have four weeks to send their enquiry form in or this will result in their benefit being terminated.'
NB - Citizens Advice advises however that that no-one receiving DLA under the special rules will be included in the initiative.
Source: Citizens Advice Social Policy Bulletin (December 2009).
Source - rightsnet.org.uk
Hi John, i have just read your thread about the letter being sent out to DLA claiments,saying they have recently recieved imformationn casting doubt on whether you are still eligible to get DLA..I am a disabled 50yr old Lady and i recieved one of these letters on the 8/7/2010,to be honest it has really worried me i don't know why the DWP doubt my claim,my circumstances haven't changed and my medical condition hasn't altered either,the only thing that has changed is i now use a mobilty scooter to enable me to get out and about.I filled the inquirey form in and sent it straight back ,but i am now really frightened they are going to stop my DLA.What would make the DWP question me,i have being recieving DLA since about 2001 and haven't had any problems,can you give me any advive please.
Gina the fact you now have a mobility scooter is what they are contesting I should think. I have been working hard trying to improve my legs by using a walker and have been pulled up also
I have had dla for 10 years being renewed every 3. I was taken seriously ill 5 years ago with a perforated bowel , the following year I had major surgery and then 2 different further ops over the next two years. I have just received a suspected fraudulent claim letter and I have not been able to get through to the number given , I did manage to get through to the department and was informed I would be contacted later that day I am still waiting for the person to call. The letter said I have to attend an interview this week. I have used my wheelchair and walker for years and am in the dark and worried sick.
One of the commets posted on TCell is http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/what-can-i-do-about-my-dla-worries-e...< this gives the option to get in touch with your MP and to ask them to sign an Early Day Motion. Others suggestions is to see if your MP has a surgergy that you could attend to raise this matter with them or alternativalty contact a support worker, your local social services or the Citizerns Advice Bureau on Monday for support and assistance.
Other comments posted under this heading might also give you information on what others are doing and might help re-assure you over the weekend till you are able to contact someone next week in person. http://benefits.tcell.org.uk/forums/hundreds-dla-claimants-be-contacted-...<
It was a nightmare. There was evidence and it was horrendous to see. I have been improving mt strength in my legs but hadnt notified them that I use a walker.
I also have recieved one of these letters, but we are at war with our neighbours and i did something totally stupid the other day, we are having the front of our house painted and there is scaffolding up on both layers, the painter who was doing the house, broke his arm, and we are at a time limit on the scaffolding, I feel useless every single day, and hopeless as well, but 2 weeks ago i lost my temper with myself, crawled up the stairs and got through my daughters window, and tried painting a small part of the wall but the pain was so terrible i could not do it, So so stupid of me, as i was moving to the window there was a noise so i turned towards my neighbours house and there was thier daughter with a camera, she shouted smile, i just carried on trying to get throught the window, when my husband came home and helped me through and down the stairs, needless to say i have caused more damage to myself doing this and also more than likely have lost my right to continue recieveing benefits. my fault totally oh and to add to that our lovely neighbour has turned the water of to us as well.
On 14 Oct 2010, I also received a letter from PDCS saying they had "received information which casts some doubt on my continuing entitlement to DLA."
My health has got worse, not better, since I last filled in a DLA form so I couldn't understand what was going on. I was worried sick and was wondering night and day who had maliciously "grassed me up". I already have a mnetal health disorder which makes me suspicious and mistrustful of people, but this sent me spiralling into deep depression and my disorder became critical. I haven't slept properly for weeks.
I filled in the new form, sent it back and today I phoned to see what their decision was, ready to make an immediate appeal.
The woman on the phone said there was NOTHING on the system about any allegation of fraud whatsoever. She said that sometimes the PDCS randomly send out forms just to check on people's eligibility, and that's what they must have done with me. She said if there was any allegation of fraud, DLA payments are suspended immediately while an investigation is carried out. Mine haven't been.
I am absolutely fuming! To send me a letter implying that I had been maliciously grassed up, leading me to suspect everyone: friends, family, neighbours etc is a total disgrace. It has made my mental illness far worse. As a result of this I have suffered, so has my daughter and everyone around me. I'm going to write to the Minister about this, I want someone's head!
Thank you, John, for your reply and help. I will keep you informed.
I received one of these letters dated 2 months ago just yesterday and it has to be returned to Blackpool by next week. I hear that the phone number you have to call in Blackpool is often never answered so I will probably have to return the form a.s.a.p.
I will have to contact my GP as I am quite alone and have Asperger's as well as a physical disability so they are the only other person who can help me with day to day problems I have.
I have had a lot of trouble over the years with a bipolar neighbour who harrasses me when he is manic, this summer he would play really loud music with doors and windows open for 8 hours non-stop and I could not take it so I reported him to our housing co-operative who seem to think he is the model tenant unfortunately. He verbally and physically attacked me as I came home in my car one night [police attended] then a few days later he shouted across to me that he had reported me for 'something' and I would find out soon enough. Hence, I feel he is the one who has contacted the DLA people maliciously for spite unfortunately.
I am desperate with worry.......I have 1 year HRM MRC award remaining and only last week took delivery of a car on a 3 year contract hire which I paid £1999 towards as I live in a remote area of Scotland and needed a reliable winter vehicle. If things go wrong I cannot bear thinking how I can cope.
I live alone.
For the first time, adults with autism in England will have health services that are more focussed to their individual needs, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow will announce later today.<
Speaking at the National Autistic Society Conference, Mr Burstow will outline the publication of statutory guidance which sets a clear direction for how health and social care services should implement the autism strategy: ‘Fulfilling and rewarding lives’ and make improvements across areas such as:
- diagnosis of autism
- assessing the needs of adults with autism
- building awareness and understanding of autism amongst frontline staff
- training for frontline staff
- information for adults with autism,
- personalised services based on local needs
- transition support for young people with autism
The statutory guidance follows an extensive consultation process around the autism strategy last year. Adults with autism, their families, carers and representative organisations identified gaps that exist across health services and put forward suggestions of key ways to address these.
Their views were built on from a further consultation on the draft statutory guidance recently – resulting in many people across the country having an opportunity to shape the future of care for adults with autism.
Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said:
“It is unacceptable that adults with autism have not been getting the full and appropriate care and support that they need from health and social care services. Today is a vital step forward in changing that picture.
“Adults with autism, their families, carers and representative groups all come together to feed into this statutory guidance. Their priority for progression was clear.
“This government has set the direction of travel and it is now important that local commissioners and providers recognise this and identify where improvements need to be made.
“We will continue to review progress made and will also look to publish key quality outcomes to drive improvements across the public sector shortly. This will build on today’s statutory guidance for health and social care services and will address employment, housing and other public service issues for adults with autism.”
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:
“The publication of the statutory guidance is a landmark victory and marks the culmination of three years of campaigning by the NAS and our supporters. However, this is only the beginning, as local authorities and local NHS Trusts must now ensure that changes happen locally.
“As councils set their budgets, they need to take account of the new legal duties coming into force under the Autism Act, and not allow people with autism to continue to fall between the gaps in services. Now more than ever, they and their families need support.
“One third of adults with autism have developed a serious mental health problem as a result of a lack of support, and families tell us that they are often left struggling to cope. We are at a pivotal point and must push to see this strategy turned into action.”
Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of Autism Research at Cambridge University said:
“Finally, after five decades of parents battling to get the government to wake up to the needs of children and adults with autism, the UK Government is listening to parents and to those adults who can speak up for themselves. Their voices can be heard in the new Statutory Guidance for Health and Social Care published by the Department of Health.
“This journey has been a long one. From the days of knocking on closed doors, it has led to the Autism Act passed by Parliament in 2009, and the Autism Strategy published by the Department of Health in 2010.
“The launch of the Statutory Guidance is one more very important milestone along the journey, designed to ensure that words are implemented into action at a local level. I eagerly await this implementation, and am confident that having found their voice, adults with autism and their carers will let us know when and where the gaps in provision lie."
Declan Murphy, Professor of Psychiatry and Brain Maturation at the Institute of Psychiatry, said:
“This new work arising from the Autism Act includes the input from a wide variety of stakeholders and, for the first time, gives comprehensive guidance as to how a wide range of services should meet the needs of people with autism.
“The guidance will help communities better determine the local needs of people with autism, if they are meeting those needs (or not), more effectively allocate local resources, measure the impact of what they have achieved, and so help people with Autism fulfil their potential.”
Thank you John for your kind reply.
I have completed the form and saw my GP telling him the story as well as getting his section filled in. He knows very well who is harassing me and has taken the unusual position of advising me to seek legal advice concerning my neighbour as that will be the only way for him to be dealt with. He told me not to be concerned about the DLA side of things as I have no reason to worry about it. I just hope that is the case but I will keep you informed about any developments.
Thanks again a little less pressure has been lifted.
I have the very same letter, my allowance isd not suspended and i dont why it is happening. i can not suspect anyone, recently a neighbour was abusive and i had to call the police but how would she know that i was on dla since it is a letter from dla. my doctors are supprotive but i am worried.
My husband has received the same letter his DLA has not stopped, they have sent a DLA 80 form that I am loathe to fill, due to my husband being awarded DLA for Life, when I phoned the DLA I was told that the letter I had received sounded suspicious as the phone number on it and address were incorrect, I was told that by filling in the form I am letting them review his claim and they could do whatever they want including taking the for life award off. I have written to them today and can only hope that they take notice of my comments, If Not where do I stand my husband is genuinly disabled why should the DLA decision maker be allowed to alter his award for no reason other than a vindictive phone call. Can anyone help, we are worried sick my husbands claim is going to change.
Same happened to my husband, he received the DLA80 form even though he was awarded for life, I wrote to them and hey presto I was told that I had to fill in the form and send it back or they would stop his DLA, I have now had a letter back from them informing me they are sending out a medical person on Sunday!! Seems to me they can and are doing what they want being awarded for LIFE means nothing! Anyone else had the same happen to them? Will let you know what happens next, I expect they are going to try and change husbands award, I will challenge them as he is genuinly ill.
I have just received one of these awful letters too, they are quite upsetting. Is it just routine review or are you being suspected for fraud. I am genuinely disabled and you are made to feel like you can trust no-one. I have rang the dla and imagine the guy on the end of the phone is told to say the same thing to everyone that calls who have had this letter. Has anyone come out of this and still got their allowance or is it a way of them taking what us disabled people rely on?
On the letter that arrived, casting doubt on claims. Is it way of seeing how many get that scared and dont return them, and then they have gained cos thats a few more down. And it wont cost more to get the money back through the courts. Or do they really have info which could lead to innocent people losing their dla monies. And are they getting people to fill in the forms to make them go through more hell. Surely if they had evidence that you were not entitled to the money they would call you in and question you???? Why are they frightenning the life out of people. Its totally out of order.
Hi John, my son also received one of those "we received information that casts doubt on your entitlement" letters yesterday and there's something I’m very curious about. Andrew's disabilities are relating to mental health problems, not physical ones. We live in a remote area and it’s only immediate family who even know Andrew gets DLA. So I can’t see him being reported by some malicious person just out to cause trouble. He can go around the local area, but needs a carer if he goes for the day into the city.
This is what I’m curious about. One of my friends told me she'd heard a rumour that the DLA were working with the company who supply those disability travel cards. Andrew did get a disabled bus pass a few months back and he’s been using that on the bus. This DLA letter stated that their information might come from “internal data matching” and I wondered if you thought it was possible that they've been keeping an eye on all his journeys? The card has to be placed on a machine on the bus and the number of his card is printed on the bus ticket. So this would suggest that a log of each journey relating to that particular card is stored on some database. Do you really think it’s possible that they’re checking this bus pass journey log for DLA compatibility purposes or do you think the letter is more likely to be an innocent review of his claim? Thanks for any thoughts you have on the matter.
I wanted to write and thank you for all your support. I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, I’ve been waiting until I got more information so that I could give you a full update.
In answer to your questions. My son is in his early 40’s, suffers from learning difficulties and various problems relating to dealing with everyday situations. I made some more enquiries about the travel card rumour and apparently there’s a little bit of truth in what I heard, but not relating to sickness benefits. It appears there was a news story awhile back regarding travel cards in London. In the story the travel card company stated that they were going to keep a record of each journey you made, but they also stated that this information would only be used for internal improvements to their various bus routes. So it would appear that this information does sometimes get stored, but there was no suggestion that it was used by Benefit Agencies.
To be honest John, I still don’t have a clue why my son was sent one of those letters. Here is exactly what happened. In the middle of January Andrew got that letter and forms to fill in. I did call them, but because of data protection they couldn’t give me any more information. The forms were completed with a covering letter and returned the last week in January.
We have all been worried sick about this and Andrew has been up every morning waiting on the post. There have been no phone calls or letters from them until this morning. At the top of the letter it says “Disability and Carers Service”. The letter goes on to say “About Disability Allowance. Thank you for filling in the enquiry form. We have looked at the information you gave us and decided that the Disability Living Allowance benefit payment being paid is the correct rate. There will be no change in the amount of money you get from us”. The rest of the letter is just a standard thing talking about changes you must tell them about; if you go into hospital or if your circumstances change in any other way.
They would have got the returned forms in last week of January and there was absolutely no contact from them until this morning, 16thMarch. I think you were right and it probably was nothing more than an innocent review. It was just the wording of the letter that caused a great deal of distress and then to be left waiting like that for a couple of months. Anyway, thanks again John for all your help and support, it meant a great deal.