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Hundreds of DLA claimants to be contacted under new DWP 'Correctness Programme' initiative

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John
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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

John
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Risk of overpayments or sudden drops in income DLA renewals

Risk of overpayments or sudden drops in income as a result of introduction of new DLA renewals policy

Advisers need to weigh up very carefully what advice to give to clients, says Citizens Advice

 

A new DLA renewals policy introduced by the DWP this month could lead to claimants being overpaid or experiencing sudden drops in income, reports Citizens Advice.

In its December 2009 'Social Policy Bulletin', Citizens Advice highlights that, at present, when a renewal form is submitted, DLA is usually upgraded from the date the form was received if the decision is in the client's favour, but that where the decision is likely to mean a reduction in benefit, the decision for the current award is not usually changed, so the reduction in benefit does not usually take place until the old award runs out.

However, under a new initiative launched as part of the DWP's DLA 'Correctness Programme', Citizens Advice reports that, from January 2010 -

'... where robust grounds to change an award are identified, we will supersede from the date the customer's needs changed, taking into account the customer's awareness of the change. This could mean that the rate of benefit may change before the end of the current award.'

Whilst Citizens Advice says that it has been given assurances that only in extreme cases will this lead to overpayments, and also that it will only be done where there is an identifiable change in circumstances not just a new decision, it warns that it does mean that clients may face sudden extreme drops in income, and that advisers therefore need to weigh up very carefully what advice to give to clients about when to return their DLA renewal forms.

 

Source: Citizens Advice Social Policy Bulletin (December 2009) & rightsnet.org.uk

 

Gina (not verified)
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New correctness programme

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.

                                               Yours Sincerly

                                                    Gina

John
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New correctness programme - Gina

Hello Gina thanks for your comment.

Please don't panic. The story concerns the DWP receiving information, typically from a member of the public, raising a question about your eligibility. Unfortunately in this world there are unscrupulous people that do make fraudulent claims and yes they do need to be caught. However some people are jealous if they feel someone is getting something they are not. Of course the second group don't have the information, nor should they, about why you may be receiving additional funds to help you because you have passed a robust medical assessment that gives you entitlement.

You mention you have a scooter and someone may be jealous of that.  

The story does say that also that they are looking at claims reported to the hotline which DIDN'T warrant a fraud investigation but they have decided to review them.

I cannot tell you how the process will go for you. The DWP do make mistakes and that may mean you need to appeal. Either way please don't worry and take it one step at a time.

I would urge you to get in touch with your local Citizens Advice Centre, as it was there report should the response to your letter be anything other than you expect.

I wish you all the best with this and am sorry to hear about what has happened.

John

sabnat (not verified)
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dla fraud

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

kevin
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Helping older people and other adults with disabilities
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carol (not verified)
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worried sick

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.

kevin
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Worried sick - response

Carol hi,

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-...<

Kevin

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sabnat (not verified)
Gina's picture
thanks

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.

Kaz (not verified)
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PDCS letter

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.

John
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Kaz PDCS letter

Thank you for posting this Kaz.

Lets take a step back however and consider the FACTS.

Yes you may well have been caught on camera, but as well as having your case reviewed with all the medical evience no doubt re-supplied. You do have an account of what happened that goes beyond the pictures that explains the whole thing including the fact you had to stop because of your pain.

Also make it very clear by way of written submission and keep it brief that if the photographs from your neighbours are provided as evidence. That as well as your explaination the neighbours actions were out of malice and not out of any reasonable attempt to correctly identify any potential fraud.

I wish you well and please, I know it is really stressful but there are two sides to the story.

Secondly, on the neighbour issues. If they submit photographic evidence than I would request this under the Data Protection Act from the DWP. In fact you can request all data the DWP hold on you.

You then need to keep a diary of the events of harrassment you suffer and CALL THE POLICE EVERY time it happens.  They will put you in touch with your neighbour hood policing team.  The photographs you can use to demonstrate the malicous nature of your neighbours. There actions may well help you make this case. 

If the abuse stems from your disability than on every occassion mention your disability and that it may well be harrassment due to this. You will know if this is the case and I am not advocating you lie. 

You don't indicate if you are HIV+ but if it is than be clear here as to the aforementioned.

You have to be a 'pain in the neck' when it comes to complaining to the local council and/or police on the broader issues. Keep notes also as part of your diary of any intervention by the police the policemans details and if they take action. Write to them to ensure an audit trail should you need it. Alas I learnt this myself and eventually good diary & record keeping led to the neighbour being evicted.

So, fight your corner with the DWP & with your neighbours.

Good luck, let us know how it progressess.

Neighbours from hell website click here.<

Trish (not verified)
Gina's picture
DLA Fraud letter

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!

John
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Trish, DLA Fraud letter....

Trish, I am sure I speak for many who sympathise with your situation.  I would like to raise some points for your consideration moving forward.

1) I find it "strange" in the context of your comment that you have recieved a letter stating "received information which casts some doubt on my continuing entitlement to DLA." yet the DWP PDCS says no information was recieved nor have your payments been stopped.

The reason for this confusion with me is that the Secretary of State DWP can review any claim for any benefit at any time.  They would merely write to you saying they are reviewing your claim. This is of course different from writing to you in the manner in which they have, one which, as you indicate causes more stress and by there own words seems to be false as no information was recieved.

Therefore, on a point of process, you may want to write a letter asking/complaining why the "fraud" process is being used for a "review". These are two distintic processes.

I understand "the correctness programme" is running but you should have been told this.

2) You can request the information held about you by the DWP. You merely ask for this information under the Data Protection Act, information is availible at the Information Commissioners Office www.ico.gov.uk< as to how you do this.

It is important when you speak to the DWP you note the time, data and WHO you spoke to.

You can find the ways to contact the DCS here<.

I have sent an email to the DWP PDCS to raise these points with a Freedom of Information Request to garner how the "Fraud" review differs/works as opposed to the "standard" reivew method and will post the information when recieved with any comments.

We have been recieving many posts on this subject. Some are malicious reports. However the only thing the DWP can do is review using the "fraud" process. This is largely due to the way the media reports on benefit claimants generally without making the distinction that some claimants have very scrutinised claims to recieve entitlement.

The ministers at the DWP can be found here<. Whomever you choose to write to I would copy in Maria Miller MP the Minister for the Disabled.

I wish you well with your application and please let us know what happens moving forward.

Trish (not verified)
Gina's picture
DLA Fraud letter.....

Thank you, John, for your reply and help. I will keep you informed.

CharlieChuck (not verified)
Gina's picture
'Correctness Programme'

Hi John,

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.

John
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CharlieChuck reply .... Correctness Programme

Thanks for this. Initially I would direct you to the services provided by The National Autisitc Society< they have a helpline 0845 070 4004 open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm (click here for contact info).< or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau< .

Please don't rely on 'hearsay'.  Call the number on the letter yourself and explain that you only recieved the letter recently. In fact I would be inclined to complain. However, if you need more time they may be able to meet this request.  They will ask you how much time extra you will need.  I know that if can be worrying when you call but the DWP can be helpful also.

Yes let you GP know what is happening and that you will require a detailed and full medical report. Tell him you want to see it before he sends anything to the DWP, you have this legal right, this isn't questioning what he has written but allows you to make sure its right and more importantly that he hasn't missed anything.

I am sorry you have had neighbour problems. I have personal experience of this also. However the DWP seem to be sending these letters out as part of a "checking process" as well as a notification or 'tip off' so its difficult to speculate  either way in any case.

Take this one step at a time. If your award changes for the worse than you can have it re-reviewed and then appeal so there would be some time to go. Though I fully accept that any appeal is very stressful.

Finally get in touch with The National Autistic Society to find out if there is any support group near you. You can engage and much or as little as you want but as you live alone you may find that having local support when you need it can be a tremendous help.

I wish you well and let us know how it goes.

kevin
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New guidance to improve health of adults with autism

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.”

http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=417137&...

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/Publicati...

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/Publicati...

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2009/15/contents?view=extent

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wms/?id=2010-12-20a.153WS.1

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Charlie Chuck (not verified)
Gina's picture
reply to John

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.

John
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reply to Charlie ...

Its positive news. The main thing I get from your comment is that you have a supportive GP and that makes a huge difference.  As for neighbour problems he is right.  You need to think more broadly here. You will need proof.  How to achieve that is to keep engaging with your housing office and/or police. Keep records, a diary is good with date and times with the incident details. if the police attend get the officers to give you there badge numbers and a crime reference number.

You may find the "neighbours from hell" website useful - http://www.nfh.org.uk/<

Dealing with problem neighbours is a large issue and as well as a forum for support it can give good advice as to how to deal with it.

anonymous (not verified)
Gina's picture
dla

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.

jane (not verified)
Gina's picture
My husband has received the

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.     

jane (not verified)
Gina's picture
dla 80

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.

   

John
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Jane, Husband & DLA....

Jane, am sorry to hear you are being reviewed but you raise some points that people really do need to be aware of, so thank you. 

Due to a change several years ago, awards "for life" were changed to "for an indefinate period". This distinguishing awards from those awarded for a fixed period of time i.e. 3 years.  Trying to get an absolute definition of "for an indefinate period" has proved extremely hard to achieve from the DWP.

That said, as you have found out, people also need to be aware that regardless of when and for how long an award of any benefit has been made, including Disability Living Allowance. The law give the Secretary of State powers to instigate a review at any time.  With any review resulting in a better or in some cases worse decision than the original. 

Where a more adverse decision is taken than of course the applicant has the right to appeal.

In your case I would write to clarify why the address & phone number details were incorrect. Were the completely different or were there just some minor mistakes? Also was your husbands quoted National Insurance number correct on the letter?. Drop me an email on this please john@tcell.org.uk

You have no choice but to fill in the form. If you refused they could make a decision to withdraw the benefit entirely.  By completing the form they will review the claim to ensure it is consistent with existing information and decision making protocols. If there has been improvement in your husbands health than this maybe reflected in any decision then made. It is worth noting that in many cases reviewed decisions merely affirm the original decision taken. Especially as most have degenerative illness.

Your comments should be taken note of especially if they are medically or caring as they relate to your husband.  The Decision Maker, did tell you the truth, in so far as any decision taken could be changed to reduce the amount of entitlement and change the period for which it is rewarded.

It has long been government policy to attempt to regularly review DLA claims through various projects. We have had two such projects in the last 4 years. The current government is continuing with this.  The current programme involves sending letters out that claim suspicion with a claim. This may not always be the case however.

Anyone who claims any benefit including DLA should prepare to be reviewed, especially as the govenrment has plans to change DLA to Personal Independence Payments and save over £1billon form the DLA bill by the end of this parliament.

Yes having an award for an indefinate period carries some evidential weight should you wish to appeal. However many interpret the "for life" now " for an idefinate period" as meaning they are 'safe' from regular reviews and that hasn't ever really been the case.

I wish you well with your claim, I am sorry if this is not, in part what you wanted to read but it is the truth as I have found it.

anonymous (not verified)
Gina's picture
Dla letter

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?

John
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DLA letter

From what I gather it is part of a review process.  Yes some people have maintained there allowance. It is easy to fear these processes but if you have had no change since your last review than you should see your award maintained. If your situation has worsened than this may increase your award, if apprioprate. You also have the appeals process.

Jane (not verified)
Gina's picture
DLA letter

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.

John
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Jane DLA

You of course make a valid point. If you were suspected of a fraud you would expect to be questioned at your local jobcentre under caution. I would make two points, again. Firstly that the Secretary of State has the powers at any time to review any claim. Secondly the DWP regularly run programmes to check on existing claims, this isn't limited to random checking which also goes on.

We know that those who have claimed Employment and Support Allowance may see a review of DLA given the results of there Work Capability Asssesment.

Janet (not verified)
Gina's picture
Hi John, my son also received

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.

John
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my son also received ...

Janet a few points here. How old is your son? as children are reviewed anyway when they reach 16 years of age.  There are many reasons why claims are reviewed. It could be "random" selection, part of a review process or that his application hasn't been reviewed for sometime.

I don't know of any 'rumour' about disabled passes informing the DLA process as a "Freedom Pass" if that is what it is, is a passported benefit. It is usually awarded by a local council on the basis of a DLA award but isn't otherwise related to the DLA award. It is separate. You can be awarded a "freedom pass" at the discretion of a local council without recieving DLA for example - though this is rare.

Yes we live in a 'database' culture and I am sure that use of a freedom pass is stored on a database.  There are protections here under the "Data Protection Act" (www.ico.gov.uk<).

If you want to put your mind at ease than you can submit a request on the data held by the DWP and the company that maintains his travel card. You can also ask who has access to this information. That should clear up matters. If his data is passed to the DWP ask the question of the travel card company directly, in writting. I for one would welcome the answer. 

However, I don't believe, on what information I have that this is nothing more than a "innocent" review of his claim.

If others reading this have concrete information on any relationship as detailed by Janet please comment or send me the information - john@tcell.org.uk< so I can make it available.

Janet (not verified)
Gina's picture
Hi John, I wanted to write

Hi John,

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.

John
John's picture
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Joined: 09/03/2008
Janet - Thanks it made my day!

Thank you for taking the time to share your good news. I am really pleased for you all and it has made my day.

If I make one observation it is that whereas you seem to think it took along time, I know of worse as the DWP is very busy these days.  Note you can call the Decision Maker who's details are on the letters sent to check progress of any review.

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