Holding the DWP to account and how to complain when your benefits go wrong

PIP and ESA Assessments inquiry deadline Friday 10th November 2017. If you have had an assessment, or are waiting for an assessment, for PIP or ESA, submit your experience here

Nick at The Complaining Cow

Nick  Dilworth writes a guest post on the state of the benefits system and what to do if you have problems with benefits.

 

 

Holding the state to account
Having helped many hundreds of people battle with the Secretary of State over benefit decisions which are often full of flaws, badly reasoned and which are all too often overturned by independent Tribunals allowing appeals in favour of the claimant, I am increasingly concerned about the gross erosion of access to justice following cut backs in legal aid and cuts backs in the advice sector.  As a front line benefit specialist we are fully stretched in trying to help more people than our limited resources can adequately properly provide for.

I’m seeing large numbers of people turn to social media in an effort to find online solutions, its soul destroying to see so many people out on a limb and alarming that much of the advice available simply isn’t right.

So here’s a few handy hints.

What should you do if you find your benefits stopped, reduced or subject to sanction?

  • In all cases you should try and get help from a reputable advice agency such as the CAB or a recognised law centre. Despite savage cut backs the advice sector is still there to help you and even if they can’t offer you one to one help you can access updated advice resources which enable some people to resolve their problems by empowering them to follow the correct procedure.  Agencies have proper indemnity insurance if anything goes wrong and rigid training is in place for staff who provide advice, so speak to someone in the know.
  • Make sure you know which process to follow. If your benefits have stopped or been reduced or you are subject to a sanction, you will generally have a statutory right of appeal and a right to request written reasons as to how the decision was arrived at.  Most statutory authorities use fairly standard stock phrased letters, sometimes it pays to ask for more detailed information so you can be sure of exactly what it is that you disagree with.  Many disputes have to be resolved by initially requesting a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.  After this you should be sent a ‘mandatory reconsideration notice’; if you still disagree with the decision you can request a formal appeal to an independent tribunal arranged by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS); you’ll need to send a copy of the mandatory reconsideration notice with form SSCS1 to the HMCTS Appeals Centre to the address given on the form.  These types of disputes are known as formal reconsideration requests, revisions/supersessions and lodging formal appeal.
  • Always put your reconsideration request, request for reasons or formal appeal in writing, keep a copy and send it by some form of recorded mail so you have proof of postage and receipt. Authorities try and resolve disputes of this nature by telephone, by all means use it to speed things up but always back everything up in writing and make sure you keep a record of when the call was made, what was said and who you spoke to. Why you should write not phone. If you have been given a valid email then use it as it enables you to show evidence of communication. Do everything in the time limits, if this isn’t possible then provide some reasons for lateness.
  • Top 20 Tips for complaning gives more advice on how to write a complaint

Complaining

  • If you are unhappy over treatment you have received from a statutory agency you can complain. This may be appropriate in cases of delay, where standards expected fall below what they should be or where you believe you have been mistreated or treated unfairly.   Write to the Customer Complaints Manager of the department concerned and set out your complaint to provide a brief history followed by specific grounds under different headings followed by a summary and an idea of what you consider to be a suitable remedy.  Remember to be clear between the process of disputing/appealing and complaining otherwise your appeal may get lost in the wording of a complaint.  Break your letter down in to concise sections setting out the complaint in such a way that it is relevant, easy to follow and likely to draw attention to what’s gone wrong and who you consider to be at fault.  Set a timescale in which you should expect a reply.  Refer to any guidance of the department as to their complaints procedure.  You can always complain to MPs and other statutory bodies if you remain dissatisfied with trying to sort things out with the agency involved.
  • Contact details for key personnel responsible and for the DWP can be found here.

 

Discretionary

  • Some agencies and disputes, often concerning tax credits for instance, may be subject to a discretionary code where you don’t have a formal right of appeal. This doesn’t apply in all tax credit cases but for the majority you will need to follow the HMRC Code of Practice (COP 26) and set out your dispute in writing, you should argue your dispute and seek to persuade the agency on using their discretion to resolve it in your favour, it’s always good to cite the code and illustrate how it applies.

Caution when complaining Caution!

In cases involving a large loss of money, where the impact on you is serious, when being investigated or where issues of law arise you should always seek proper professional help.

Just a note from the site editor – heck of a lot of comments on here asking for help without a “please” or “thank you”. These words will get you a long way when a) asking for help and b) trying to get your complaint heard. People are less likely to want to help you if you don’t have any manners when speaking to them.

About the author
Nick Dilworth is a welfare benefit specialist of over 20 years full time experience, alongside his day job in the advice sector he writes for the popular online website ilegal.org.uk where’s he’s received over 2 million views for his many articles tracking the chaotic reforms of the DWP and taken apart many government statistics to enable people to get a better concept of what’s really going on in the world of welfare.

Iain Duncan Smith
Helen Dewdney who runs this blog went to a couple of surgeries with IDS when he was in charge of the fiasco known as the DWP to challenge him and recorded the meetings. You can see:

The Complaining Cow Meets Iain Duncan Smith #IDSfail and

Round 2 The Complaining Cow Meets IDS

 

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94 Responses to Holding the DWP to account and how to complain when your benefits go wrong

  1. Frank Zola says:

    Don’t forget ‘Compensation for poor service: DWP staff guide’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compensation-for-poor-service-a-guide-for-dwp-staff

    Financial redress for maladministration: staff guide
    Ref: ISBN 978-1-84947-532-7 PDF, 99.2KB, 17 pages
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/422425/financial-redress-maladministration-apr-15.pdf

  2. Sean Madden says:

    I am sure they are trying to kill me. 😘

    • Craig says:

      Me too haven’t received anything since Feb 15th despite having wrote and putting in numerous complaints appealing decision,calls and re applying still waiting for a response they don’t seem to care even though I’m starving this is getting beyond a joke now I’m NOT HAPPY DWP,DOING WRONG BY PEOPLE

    • Tom Blake says:

      I feel the same Sean. We are all being taken for a ride! Simply, it is the rich CONTROLLING the poor…But, let me just add, because people are financially limited does not mean they are subhuman. Sean, do not let the system/ society OR anyone for that matter demean you! Believe in yourself AND your own instincts. You are more precious than you will ever know!

    • DAVIDOWENS says:

      HI THEIR MY NAME IS DAVID OWENS THEY ARE ALPOAD OF RUBBISH THEY HAVE MESSTED ME AROUND WITH MYMONEY AS WELL MY PIP ALL WANCES AS WELL AS I WAS GETTING ABOUT 307 POUNDS AS WELL NOW SINCE IT HAD GONE OVER TO PIP AS WELL ITS TOO AND ITS NOT VERY GOOD AT ALL AND ITS BIG DROP IN MYMONEY AS WELL NOW TOO AND ITS HORRIBLE NOW TOO WITH NO AND NO MONEY AT ALL AND TOO ITS WRONG ANY ONE PTO AND MESSIN G AROUND AND ITS NOT TOO ITS NOT VERY FAIR AT ALL UNDER THE SOCIAL SERVCES ACT 1992

      • DAVIDOWENS says:

        HI THEIR MY NAME IS DONNA CROSS AND IAM FED UP WITHE WAY THAT PIP ARE MESSING ME AROUND ONE3 WITH BENEFITS NOW TOO AS WELL AND I WENTO THE AN FIELD BUSINESS CENTRE AND DID NOT GET PASTED AT ALL TOO AND ITS WRONG FOR ASTART NOW TOO AS WELL

      • The Complaining Cow says:

        Please see post above and I hope you are able to get someone to help you through the process of challenging the DWP.

        • gregory king says:

          Hi my names Greg here’s a good one for everyone shattered my heel 10 days ago got out of hospital on Thursday phoned jobcentre on Monday as I can’t walk told they will send me a form and I can send it back how when I can’t walk bemuses me or I can go in and sign it there ? So having to get a cab to sign on tomorrow. Carried by the cab driver who thought we had human rights

    • Gaynor Keenan says:

      Yeah they lie made own way really I got taxi there back not send review in case lie.i don’t go dieten I do 7 stone 5.5 but wieght fine not according to other doctors.800pnd drop in cash she lied blood transfusion I AVE fits but I’m not in group wow lier 0 on all think I being on methodme wow why

  3. Fiona McCormick says:

    I went to Tribunal and won. No matter how much they threaten me., I would not hesitate to go to Tribunal again.?

  4. Jon Raab says:

    What can you do when there has been such bad maladministration that the the DWP refuses to acknowledge or reply to complaints.? After 3 years of gross abuse while I had diminished responsibility from dementia it turned out the diagnosis was incorrect and I recovered. The way I was treated while easily manipulated was disgusting, I was put to forced labour. Tribunal judges ruling was ignored, my pension was stolen from me . My benefit payments were stopped without any reasons. I was left to starve, I was forced to abandon medication and encouraged to become an injecting drug user. All to entertain certain individuals. As I recovered and it was realised that I would be complaining a war of paperwork began designed to prevent me from escalating my complaints. Then professional advocates begun to write in on my behalf demanding explanations for the way my claim was handled or why no assistance was Offerred or why I was not identified as being vulnerable and doctors letters ignored. These are simply ignored and usually followed by another bunch of fires being being lit beneath me tomeithervpunish me or to give me yet another complaints process to deal with. The latest Is that I am to be prosecuted for fraud for failing to notify the DWP of a change of circumstances brought on by a decision made by the DWP. They have also ignored a tribunal judges request to provide paperwork he needs for my PIP case when the assessor lied on every question including the reason I was making the claim. My case has been adjourned 3 times now and I have been housebound for over a year since my DLA was transferred to PIP , the disability component of ESA has been cancelled because it was an interim payment while awaiting my tribunal and they have decided not to wait any longer but have still not responded to the tribunal requests for documents.
    They have contradicted themselves on several comments and made illegal decisions but will not reply to letters asking which one is correct or why decisions were made with no intention of notifying me or with no options for appeal or they inform me that complaints have been escalated when they have not in the hope I will forget. I have had 4 consolatary payments for maladministration and harassment but my treatment gets worse and they refuse to consider reparation for actual loss as a result of their abuse of position. They even mocked the CAB who said They had placed me between a rock and a hard place. They replied “yes that is correct, we have”

    • Melz says:

      So sorry you had such a bad time, I can confirm that claimants are ignored and frequently misled. As well as ‘losing’ vital documents…and claiming to find them again after I demanded speaking to a manager. This was the 3rd ‘missing’ GP sick certificate and left me penniless for 3 months. Without proof, I strongly suspect these are deliberate acts.

    • Jim Brown says:

      This is a shocking story. To take advantage of you when to were in mental distress is unforgivable. I hope you can sue them for as much as you can get. We are currently in a fight over Pension Credit and we are just beginning to realise the depth of maladminstration and downright bullying that is happening.

  5. Bill Hasan says:

    It’s been nearly a year since my Income Support was stopped FOR NO REASON. All their own fault. I wrote the Job Centre a letter, no reply received. I am only receiving my disability benefit. I phoned them on 26th August 2016 and was told by them that i had to make a fresh claim which was filled out by them over the phone and took about 1 hour. I was told they could only back date my benefit to about 4 months after being without my benefit for nearly a year and having to borrow money to live on . WHAT A BIG RIP OFF BY OUR THIEVING GOVERNMENT. Just imagine how much money they are saving by doing this to people. This is all because of the sick government we have running our country.

  6. Joanna Burkitt says:

    I had my SDA stopped as they did away with the benefit. I had a wca assessment & was awarded no points. I took it to the tribunal & was put in the WRAG group ESA for just a year. That is up & I am waiting for another ESA assement. I had a pip assessment which has turned down I again got no points despite needing help in a lot of care. I don’t even get mobility even though I cannot get out of the house unless mum drives me there as the bus is innaccessible to me. I got the Cab to help & they think I should have 24 points but knew the DWP wouldn’t give me that. But I got nothing.
    I will probably not qualify for my blue disability badge now either.

  7. david clark says:

    cows with guns would do a better job at running the dwp,it was bad enough when ian duncan smith was running it but since he resigned its got ten times worse,they just dont have a clue and dont care about any one apart from themselves,as long as they get paid at the end of the day,disgusting the way they treet people,i tried phoning them today and was on hold for over an hour then they just hung up the phone on me which really pissed me off big time,rediculous behaviour from clowns running the country.

  8. Roger Smith says:

    I was working for 29 years and have received a four month sanction as a thank you . The English working public are being lied to, they don’t mind taking our money and dishing it out to people who have never paid anything in their life. The government and rich have been mocking the working class for years its about time they had a real wake up call, they will one day maybe in my lifetime. I have served my country and been a taxpayer all my life and I’m about to lose my house, everything I said has fallen on deaf ears they even laughed and asked if I was homeless yet! I think everyone should get their tax and national insurance back and lets go private pension and private insurance and see how they like that. Would suit me fine I have paid about half a million in tax I could retire with that, instead I will turning to crime and living on the street at my age, something that I know nothing about. Thank you, I hope you get what you deserve you filthy scum.

    • Rosie says:

      Omw reading your comment has also made me feel cross again with dwp as I feel so sorry for you and the rest of the folks out there I know how you all feel as I’m suffering same thing. How dare they say are you homeless yet! I just hope it happens to them nasty rats.

      • tracy says:

        My husband and I got two daughters who were. Abuse by their half brother when my husband would go to work he would do this to them so my husband blame himself and had a nervous break down he struggles with depression and anxiety panic attackes he try overdose three times self harming is normal to him now he cuts his face arms and crying out for help I care for his needs although I should because I am is wife the dwp stopped his class and my ca and refuse pip because he showed them a book and he new his full name and because he could look at them so they awarded no points because of good eye contact and understanding or I forgot to tell you he got liver decease golestone

  9. Theda Bara says:

    Is there an email address or an online form where I can make a complaint against the DWP, please? I am writing on behalf of someone who is entitled to Pension (guaranteed) Credit, and who is being denied a decision. They first applied at the beginning of the year, and despite phoning on a weekly basis are still no nearer to a decision. They are having to survive by living with relatives.

  10. Tony says:

    When I made my claim online I did not get the call ball to set it up correctly, waiting weeks for it to be resolved, then when I attended the JCP for the initial appointment the advisor set it all up wrong so the payments could not be processed. In this time I could not apply for the21 day advance due to all the fumbling about. The JCP had me ringing the contact centre, the contact centre had me going up the JCP blaming each other. Then after that It took almost 6 weeks after my Child Benefit was allowed for the JCP/Contact centre to set the claim up again correctly and for me to get a payment issued for my children. In the midst of all this I was ringing up daily, cost me a fortune in calls. The contact centre kept saying they would ring me back but were unable as they had/have the wrong contact number on there computers and none of the staff I have spoken to know how to change it on your systems….. And now, only last week, I get a letter saying I have had a payment of £93.40 paid in to my account. I have not received it. After 4 days of ringing the contact centre, then them telling me to ring Debt Management & 3rd Party deductions amongst many of there solutions with noone really having a clue who sent me the money or from where, it turned out they paid it in to my ex-partners bank account who is not even on my claim, so no idea why they have done this. So I had to track her down to get it. The service Ive had in the last few months is nothing short of a bloody joke.

    This is the complaint ive just sent to the DWP about my last few months of treatment. Its got to the point im not sleeping through the night now as i am always feeling stressed and it sdonly been this way since this claim has had me up the wall.

  11. ricky stokes says:

    I got sanctioned for arguing woth a woman about some warning but she didnt sign me. I had to rebook appointment were I was sanctioned for not having my jobsearch “I had it on my appointed day when argued with woman but not on my rebooked day.”
    Advisor told me Im being sanctined for today and not the argument with the woman but my sanction start date is 1 week before I argued with woman up untill this day with advisor? bare in mind both them times I had my jobsearch and logged into universa jobmatch and monster.
    I told my advisor I want revision or appeal. Not had 1 letter from these guys.
    I complained to MP the day f the argument as I seen this coming as they have attempted this kind of provoking before so I made dwp complaint and complaint to MP.

    Dwp has not replied and been over a week. Ive not had a call which they say will be with in 2 days. Ive had no reply from MP and have made a 2nd complaint to dwp.

    I have to sign tomorow after a month of no money at all nothing! if I had a home I wouldve been sitting in dark for 4weeks! byt of course they already took my home 6years ago over BS and till this day im paying back for that flat when I claimed my housing benefit they say they dont get it.
    Done several housing benefits with citizens advice eventually started getting the rent arrears down and they took my home as abandoned and threw everything I owned away.

    Im looking to smash my adviser head in tomorrow. If be better off in jail atleast id be warm and have meals.

    Oh I had to claim hardship and tomorow I sign for that still had not 1 letter from jobcentre or dwp in regards to revision or appeal.

    This is HULL jobcentre im talking about.
    Im ask my adviser why he lied and sanction from 27 october and not 17 november. I believe that he deliberatley made me go with out money and has deliberatley made sure I can not revision or appeal. damn I didnt even get any paper saying what ive even been sanctioned for !!!

    Told mrs last time I should of took a camera but I read people get perma banned for that and this jobcentre already far enough as it is.

    I have no doubt I will win my appeal as adviser said il lose my revisions with out a doubt “see how he so sure,” he said theys call over next day for revision and to sort appeal, been a week now.

    My only option is smash his head or wait outside jobcentre as im getting mowere with complaints or even getting any kind of paper work. Almost like this is something they know they can do and know there nothing you can do.

    Im try stay cool and ask for different adviser ut already I notice when I attend jobcentre extra security follow me up and have some bs to say to me. last 2 times I practicly been escorted in and out.

    I dont want to go no more. anxiety is unreal but I got no other way. Im basicly getting sanction for jot having jobsearch on days I did have my jobsearch.

    Ive savedmy sent emails. sent 2nd complaint to dwp yesterday. Got a feeling this going to be like my house and council situation were im end u0 going ombudsman and they going to do nothing too so Im thinking I got no choice but to hurt this guy. his took food from my mouth, if i had a home, wouldve left me with no electric, gas or anything for nearly a month and im suppose to sit there and be friends with him tomorow?
    no fkn way. he lucky last time very fkn lucky because i didt have my search form on that day but now ive seen he doing me for times were I did have my search and this day I didnt have my search was not my signing normal adviser day.

    I cant have this. I cant be treated like this not when im good person. I cant look at his smug face knowing what his done and if he answers my question wrong im looking to take him out on the spot or wait for home time because this aint a joke.

    Life is hard enough on jsa never mind this BS!! my emails in the bottom feel free to message any suggestions but im pretty sure theres sweet fk all I can do as they all cover each others back. Its like a mafia has took over government.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Please see the post above for how to complain

      • Pat clarke says:

        No sorry nothing good to say ,but blame the government DWP just morons that are employed to to do the governments dirty work.
        They do not have a clue what they’re talking about pass the buck to a different apartment . Your claim if you have to go to a mandatory is not even really looked at just refused so you have to wait months to go to a tribunial ,just a heap of crap.
        We were even sent a tribunial email before the mandatory had taken place ha think that says it all.
        I work full time and am punished for that my husband who has worked all his life ,the got ill with emphasimia.has had his claim stopped fit for work .
        What a joke he couldn’t even walk to the bottom of the road .
        But I work so no other claim can be made .
        I don’t earn enough to pay mortgage and living expenses ,but hey ho do the government give a shit .No they don’t utter bastardsp

  12. Tony says:

    8 days on and still no reply from my complaint even though it stats they will phone me within 2 working days. fucking jokes they are.

  13. Tracy McMillan says:

    I feel very down hearted reading all these experiences and less than hopeful to get a reply. Is there anyone out there with a ‘happy ending’ or any tips for getting acknowledged in a reasonable time (currently been waiting 6 months to transfer from DLA to PIP for my disabled son ………….

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Follow advice in post above for complaining

      • Pat clarke says:

        Go to your mp bombard DWP pips etc with complaints ,just keep fighting .
        They are appalling Go direct to the House of Commons we need to stand together Tell them your story keep complaining don’t give up that’s want they want you to do.
        Good luck I wish you the best
        Pat

        • Will says:

          I Agree Forced to Comply I went to MP useless part of establishment , Local paper best , they do not like bad press solved with in 24 hours after 48 weeks of abuse threats bulling red flagged my phone number . I Would Rather Die on my Feet Than Live on my Knees

    • Will says:

      Cheer up love , we will stand & fight together ALL 4 ONE AND ONE 4 ALL . The power of the people is stronger than the people in power , Humanity is not a word D.W.P. Understands . THE POWER OF LOVE OVER COMES THE LOVE OF POWER THE WORLD SHALL KNOW PEACE . P.S – A Happy Ending Would Cheer Me Up Too ………….LOL

  14. Bill Hood says:

    I had to have an operation so I told job centre they made me sign off and claim ESA. I did this and was then told I could not get ESA has I was assessed fit for work a year before. I appealed on the grounds that I was recovering from an operation and they had a sick note as well. They told me they me they would let me know within a month but after two months I still hadn’t contacted me. Igor in touch with my MP and he spoke to them and the next day they said I would now be getting ESA. I lost 3 weeks payments and housing benefits thanks to them and even had to go to a food bank. They have sent me another health assessment questionnaire so I am expecting to go to another meeting and be told that i am fit for work. The last time I went through their assessment I asked them who would employ a man of 62 years of age who cannot stand for longer than 10 minutes, do any lifting or bending and had to use a toilet frequently. To which they said I’m sure there’s a job out there for you. It seems to me that they want to stop everyone claiming ESA and they would prefer you to die instead.

  15. P .I says:

    It’s the same time and time again what’s happening ,if your sick and need help your made to feel its your fault from getting a sick ,note having previous heart attack and on lots of tablets yes have worked after one ,but now off with depression spondellosus,uncontrolled pains in legs ,and restless legs pain all night not controlled which doctor says not a illness only people who suffer with it will know how painful, so end of day its can’t see your pain so your fit so fit for work so
    every day its what letter will arrive today to stress you out basic sick money stopped so going to tribunal then they send letter to doctor give no more sick notes so means after working 42 years so where’s the help ,so a life mean nothing to these people that’s making these rules told by accessment heart problem not life threatening I am thankful I am still here ,but all this stress how much can one take just had to tell what I’ve been through and know theirs people going through the same .

  16. Alan says:

    Totally agree with comments,I have brain damage which has left me with Ataxia,and memory loss,I have had brain scans which show damage.All information given to joke shop Atos plus many more side effects all to no avail,I cannot walk more than a few yards,loss of balance yet Atos said I can,the assessor never saw me do that I simply can’t the list goes on,they go against top neurologist and scan?i got welfare rights and MP involved so fingers crossed,I 60 worked all my life never claimed a penny paid hundreds thousand tax thought I paid nat.ins as safety net what a joke!oh and most assessors nurses,not qualified doctors pee pot emptier and bed makers! Pathetic

  17. debbie Twine says:

    worked all my life, took voluntary redundancy three years ago to have a spinal fusion back operation and thought give it time to heal – was put on the esa support group (had to complain about DWP due to them stating they would put me on a course two weeks after my operation – complete with aluminium rod and screws), they even telephoned my Mother during my operation). Sent an ESA50 form last June 2016, finally had a medical assessment Late November 2016 – sent letter 21/12/16 to say I had scored nought points – ruined my Christmas. Had to rush to send a Mandatory reconsideration due to Christmas and New Year, in-between having to sign on for JSA and look for work I can’t do. I cannot walk much, cannot sit or stand for no longer than 10 minutes, cannot bend – so what job can I do? I am a clerical worker and injured my back at work 11 years ago working for the NHS, couldn’t make a claim and have been in pain and am now worse since failed operation. Have had injections to spine, numerous Physiotherapy and it has all failed. I have been severely depressed due to my agonising back pain and sciatica and abdominal pain, trying to contact ESA and JSA by telephone is a nightmare – telephoning constantly every other day and each time getting someone saying they will pass the notes on, no one contacts me.
    In between claiming JSA and having to go to the Job Centre every week I have had to Appeal to the Tribunal – was sent paperwork and all my medical evidence that I have sent to ESA over the three years was not included (convienently) and I have had to resend all of this to Tribunal – each time by registered post to ensure it is signed for as proof. I contacted JSA last week and was informed that despite looking for work every day and logging it my claim has been closed and they couldn’t tell me why. I contacted JSA New claims and made a rapid-reclaim from the date they ended it – then finally spoke to someone at the Job Centre who informed me that I had been put onto ESA assessment rate awaiting Appeal. (which is less money, but at least I do not have to go to the Job Centre every week!) I have sent a written complaint to DWP and ESA about my missing medical evidence – they were supposed to have telephoned me today at 4pm, as usual no reply!!! I recently asked my GP for a Medical report and was informed that they were sent a letter from DWP to tell them to refuse to write a report, so I am having to go by my medical letters. I do not agree that GP’s should be allowed to do this – I have requested a second opinion for my failed back surgery and am awaiting a CT scan to see if I need a further operation to remove the hardware as it could be this causing the problem – I suppose if I had to undergo a second operation, DWP would still award me nought points. Anyone reading this please note 1) GP’s will refuse a Medical Report, so request a copy of your prescriptions for the past year and allergies, especially if the medical report left this off (GP’s will do this). This also states the last time you were seen by the GP and the reason.
    2) send a letter of complaint to either benefit and a letter on to DWP, P.O Box 50101, London (look on line) – send it by Recorded Delivery, £1.74 – so logged and received as proof as DWP lose or destroy letters.
    3) Keep and ask for all copies of Medical letters as DWP will lose these – checked all papers DWP send to Tribunal, you will find they have not sent any of your medical paperwork you’ve sent them. Even the Medical advisor said yes I have these on the system, yet DWP did not send these to the Tribunal.
    I have tried CAB – no help whatsoever – MP’s, no answer (probably told by Government not to either read or reply). So best to write letter of complaint as above yourself asap – I agree it is just like beating your head against a brick wall, but at the end of the day they have policies and procedures that they are supposed to follow – keep harassing them with complaint letters and each time go further up the ladder in your Complaint.

  18. david waugh says:

    I got a letter today that was worded as being threatening , the letter dated 9th of March and received it on the 6th March , I have been informed by my Lawyer and my local M.P. for my area , the last time I got a payment was the 9th March and before that it was the 21st of Feb , now I know I should have remembered the guys name that I spoke to on the 8th March which was a 24 minute call he said he would call me back which he did in 3 hours as he said , but he had to get my payment sanctioned by a higher authority . I called back on the 9th March at8.11am and he assured me I would be getting a payment , which I got . The strange thing was that he said I would be getting an enhanced payment , so I do not know if he was pulling my leg ? or what ever.Any way I hope there will be no mix up on the 21st March who I was on the phone today at 17.45 , but I can assure you I do not have savings of £16,000 of savings and I have been told you can monitor bank accounts and you will see what I live on .It has been a very stressed out couple of months , I am trying to get back to work through a government scheme called Training Trust Fund who are paying for my courses , one that I have already sat is my COMPEX at Forth Valley College , but I do not get the expenses and it was a 5 day course and the train fare was £12.50 a day .So I hope I am not financially punished any more and that you understand . My lawyer says I should pay for the transcripts of the guys dialogue but I would like to pass these exams with as less stress as possible.

    Kind Regards
    David Waugh

  19. Alan says:

    Hi,still not heard from appeal after 6 months!DWP told me yet another assessment with piss pot emptier at atos so I refused and they stopped my benefits,I will live off my limited savings as long as possible,today seeing my local MP,on Monday see Welfare rights,am fighting all the way,oh and DWP what a joke shop! Mr Mustafa,Mr bloody Jumgombo etc sat on fat arses counting up to 20! I advise everyone see MP and Wefare rights,record all conversations,recorded delivery all letters,many times with me they simply say not received.Keep fighting the morons playing with people’s lives!

  20. Carl from Wirral says:

    Ever since I started sending DWP sick notes in 2015 they have sanctioned me 75% of that time, I have no idea who to turn to for help I have been to CAB a few times and they won’t help me besides giving me food bank slips. I suffer from anxiety where I cannot speak to people it affects me on a daily basis, it is that bad I can barely speak to members of my family. I have no idea what to do or where to go, there are people in my area who have failed PIP assessments and not handed any sick notes in or attended the job centre at all in the past 5 years and they get their house paid for and their benefits fortnightly. I get the feeling/impression that the DWP and Job Centre staff at Bromborough can sense how vulnerable I am and take advantage of my inability to fight them and their Draconian sanctions, I am tired of being sanctioned and it has made me a depressed individual in the process any tips or any advice would be helpful. I have had to apply for jobs and end up having panic attacks whenever I am at an interview where I would also lend money for a Taxi as I don’t like using public transport.

  21. Jane says:

    Ive had a nightmare of a day with DWP. Asked me to go medical assessment last month which I attended, didn’t even receive the decision letter and have been asked to go for a job focused interview on Thursday. Phoned them and was basically told no choice but to attend. Due to the severity of my mental illness, it triggered anxiety, so had to call GP, who advised me to ring and ask for a mandatory reconsideration while she does a supporting report. Came across this forum and have decided to email “Mr Rhodes” . This is what I wrote, would like feedback on what you think. am writing to you at 10.22 p.m. Due to the Stress the DWP have put me under regarding benefits, It’s either this or contemplating suicide at this hour.

    Basically, I have a history of mental health illness. I will start by giving you some details of my life. I am 54 year old female, with a history of being a victim of child abuse which have lead to my mental health issues. In 2000 my marriage broke down and mental health became severe to the point where between the years 2000 and 2003, I had 3 attempts at suicide. The last attempt has left me a nice tracheotomy scar on my neck as a permanent reminder. I was on life support and my family informed I wouldn’t make it. Luckily for me and my children who were only 4 and 6 at the time I survived.

    Due to financial hardship, I had to claim benefits, which wasn’t easy for me as I had a good work ethic. I was sent for the mandatory health assessments and deemed unfit for work and put in the support group. Every year I would fill in the requested forms and provide the information. In March of this I received a letter from the Health Assessment Centre to attend an appoint on the 13th of April. I made arrangements for my son, who is currently at University to accompany me to said appointment. We arrived early as requested and were told the interviews were running late, which was fine, until I had to sit in a waiting room in excruciating pain due to the symptoms I suffer with fibromyalgia because the appointment was nearly an hour and a half late. I was finally seen and gave an honest account of my day to day health care and needs.

    This morning, when I returned from walking my dog, I received a letter from Job Centre asking me to attend a job focus interview. Can you imagine the shock of this letter, when I hadn’t even got the response from the medical assessment as to why I had been taken out of the support group and put into work related group. Of course I called for an explanation and was treated like an imbecile and was told I had no choice but to attend. At which point the anxiety was triggered and I became very angry and agitated. I called my GP surgery due to the panic attacks and was told the the mental health crisis team and GP would be in touch asap. My GP was not available and another GP Dr Beasley called and calmed me down and advised me to call the Department of Work and Pensions and inform them of my decision to appeal. It took me 3 and 1/2 hours to get through, I can provide evidence of this as the calls are logged on my phone. The response at the other end, again, was met by “your on benefits” so shut up and put up.

    My point in writing to you is about. Is this what it has come to the the DWP can basically treat you like shit and it’s acceptable. I may have mental health issues but I’m still a human being that deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I didn’t choose to be ill at the end of the day and as much as I hate it, due to financial hardships, had to claim benefits.

    As for the assessment, what potential employer is going to employ a 54 year old with with severe mental illness and fibromyalgia, for which I am on antidepressants and pain relief, which most days leaves me absolutely exhausted, fatigued and sedated. These appointed health official, do they even have a clue as to what it is like? I would love for you or one of these officials to spend a day in my shoes and see how they cope.

    So please, do tell me, is this how the DWP are conducting business. The ” ah you’re just a statistic, we don’t care, get you working and to hell with the fact you are on the verge of committing suicide again” due to our incompetence of course.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Please see the post above for advice and useful links for taking further

      • Ian Humphreys says:

        This is exactly what has happened to me. I had my health assessment on the 2nd of march. heard nothing until this Friday 19th May. Asking me to attend a meeting with a work coach this coming Wednesday 24th May. So reading between the lines, they have taken me of support group and put me in work related activity group. The unbelievable thing is, just like the lady above. I have received no decision letter informing that they were taking me off support and putting me on work related activity group. So I have written to them today Sunday 21st asking that I would like a mandatory reconsideration and that I will not be attending their meeting on Wednesday as I have had no rights of appeal and by attending I would be agreeing to their decision of which I am not! I am posting this by recorded delivery. As proof of send. As a lot of people on here say the DWP never receive their letters. I think this is the thing to do. Do you agree.
        Looking forward to your reply
        Kind regards
        Ian

    • Paul Stevenson says:

      The same happened to me i was made to sit in the waiting room for almost an hour looking down at a filthy carpet, becoming more anxious by the minute, I’d had a fall that morning on the day of my assessment, so with the pain from that and the severe pain in my joints the waiting was horrendous. When my name was finally called i got no apology, just a pathetic excuse about the HCP being unable to log in to the system. I’m convinced it’s all part of the assessment making us wait for long periods of time, then they’ll use it against us by stating that we can sit for long periods of time. I have made a formal complaint via email to Maximus and the DWP and will be filing a complaint to my MP after the General Election. The nurse who assessed me was quite abrupt throughout, i mentioned to her about the fall I’d had that morning and it as touch and go if I’d be able to make my WCA, this was met with minimal response, it wasn’t something she felt she had to write down. She was more interested how i arrived at the medical examination centre and how long it took me. I have noticed that if you say something that is likely to support your claim its likely to get ignored. I’ve since had the Medical Report through the post and there appears to be many discrepancies, for example I was asked if I could use my stairs to which i replied that i struggle with my stairs at home and on my bad days I’m unable to use them at all. The HCP wrote that I’m able to go up and down stairs. The question was raised about washing my hair, i replied i am unable to wash my hair that is why I’m wearing a hat has Ive not been able to wash my hair for a long time. She hadn’t wrote this down in her report, yet she had wrote that i am able to brush my hair, astonishingly i was never asked about brushing my hair so where the hell did nurse rachet get that answer from. Needless to say following a mandatory reconsideration i was put in the support group, the decision maker wanted to put me in the wrag originally, but after waiting an agonising 90 mins for a call back following my appeal the first decision was overturned. I feel as though this is psychological warfare we’re all being put through by the D and these private companies who are paid enormous sums of taxpayers money to decide our fate. We must keep fighting them, if we give up we will just be another statistic amongst all those poor souls who have tragically died through sheer incompetence and negligence by the DWP, Atos, Maximus, Capita. My message is to keep fighting them, never give up folks.

    • Paul Stevenson says:

      I’m so sorry you have been put through this Jane, my situation is similar to yours, when you have your own health issues battling with mental illness the last thing you need is to be confronted by the DWP or JCP. Having recently had to go through a WCA, which was horrendous and has severely impacted on my mental health, following an appeal i managed to get the fist decision of being put in the WRAG overturned and I’ve been put back in the Support Group. Although I’m pleased with the outcome i fear that it’s only a matter of time before I’ll have to go through this horrid process yet again. I hope you had a positive outcome in the end has i noticed your post was 3rd May

  22. Debbie says:

    My dads estate went to probate, and yes dwp now claiming he received benefits he may not have been entitled to, well two years on they are still dragging there heels and see no closer to receiving inheritance , they are taking the piss now surely it doesn’t take two years to work it out

  23. Deanne Mcathy says:

    After a fifteen year battle my Sister has had with the DWP, there is something I think everyone, who is going before a tribunal should known. And it’s this- there is a Considerable chance that, eather the tribunal chairman, or judge has been appointed by this government who comes from a pool of barristers that does prosecution work for the DWP,it came to my attention when I googled one of the tribunal judge, this person is not only still prosecuting For the DWP, but had been appointed as a Circuit judge, as well as having been appointed both a tribunal judge and a charman. How on earth can this Be right, it has to be a conflict of interest’s. I known a number of people who have found them-selfs in front of one of theses people,and a fair hearing/ Trile , is what they don’t get!!!something needs to be done about this, there is enough bigotry discrimination and prejudice shown towards, not only the disabled, but anyone, who claimes anything- and I wonder why! Lol now we known, they can’t abolish the appeal System , so let’s make sure as few as possible stand no chance of winning.

    • Will says:

      I had the same with Judge who told me he was Fair & Impartial , but when asked who was paying for his time & expenses he refused to answer , I would not except his Authority as a Judge as he was in DISHONOR , he told me D.W.P. was footing the bill , I asked him how this was fair & impartial , he ruled in D.W.P. favour , what a surprise . THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS RIGGED AGAINS YOU ETHINC CLEANSING OF UNEMPLOYED & DISABLED JUST LIKE 1937 TO 1945 FORCED LABOUR OR DOCTOR MENGLE ?

    • Terminator says:

      Ask the judge, a solicitor in all other terms, if he is part time or full time tribunal judge? Full time judges do nothing but hear appeals a part time one may work for the DWP prosecuting cases for them and hope to be appointed to a full time position later on.

  24. Stephanie says:

    I think it’s disgusting and a very long draining process , ppl who have progressive none curable diseases besides mental health lime myself are suffering I am mentally drained besides questioning why when medical evidence and a day to day pain diary and money on providing all medical history do ppl like me get refused mobility it’s not my fault I can’t breath properly and I’m in agony permininantly and on and of different meds it’s not the medications fault it’s my diseases and mental health taking over my anxiety and the lack of self esteem , but I’m a mother a housekeeper and not getting what I should there’s ppl having a ball out there I struggled all threw my assessment and have a witness and once there decision is made the letter trys to say ur a liar , l loved my life I worked and thrived off grafting I’m nos 41 and being told what to do by my own body it’s not fair it’s the reason I can’t cope not bein poorly but being called a liar of someone I sat less than an hour with in a room in Bolton with my best friend who came from Leeds to milnrow to bolton and back because I was in too much pain and inflammation with lung disease to go myself and drive , I want only what I am due not what I haven’t earned it’s not fair

  25. Dave Arkwell says:

    Hi there,
    My wife recently obtained a part time job working for fourteen hours a week I have received two letters from the DWP one stating that my wife is working sixteen hours and another stating twenty fours a week when she is only working fourteen hours since starting this job I have been told that it was myself that had found employment and all my benefits have been stopped although we were told that we would be better off I do not know what way to turn at the moment I am worried that we may loose our home as the housing benefit and council tax benefit we would normally receive has been stopped

  26. Drew says:

    I am thinking about battering a DWP employee in order to get a roof over my head and three decent meals a day until I die.

  27. SUlamaye says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if anyone knows the answer to this please: have just been reviewed a year before my 3 year PIP as awarded by a tribunal. Despite no change and go letter confirming no change am being hauled in for another so called HP assessor to make up the answers as they go along. Is there a way of accessing my file under the dat protection act to see what reasons, if any, have been given for why I am being sent for HP assessment, is it just automatic? If I could gain access to this Info I could get my MP to raise questions about it with Secretary of State, and the committee that is reconvening, but ultimately I think it would be very interesting to see if they have to record any reason on your file? Any ideas on the law on this one would be gratefully received? Thanks

  28. Will says:

    D.W.P. Has stopped my E.S.A. for videoing at Maximus 2 weeks after appeal ruled in my favour & over turned their fraudulent act . lies , collusion , submitting false statements said I did not attend W.C.A when D.W.P. cancelled it the day before , I sent cancellation letter to D.M but she could not uphold my complaint . They have now overturned a Judges Ruling with no Authority or Jurisdiction to force me into a contract against my will & under duress ( SLAVERY CONTRACT ) with Maximus who are doing Physical & Mental Assessments with no Certificates . Qualifications , B.M.A registered & no Medical Equipment not even a thermometer . I have been told by D.W.P. to prove I am suicidal by killing my self & then I can claim E.S..A.

  29. Michael says:

    Good afternoon ladies and gents.

    This is a post about what has happened to me and also to hopefully gain some input from others if possible. Thanks in advance to anyone.

    Anyway, back in 2015 I applied for and was granted ESA on the assessment rate of course. It is now over 2 years and I have had appointments for a WCA assessment made and cancelled due to my file not being received. I then for a period of over 9 months, do not hear a thing and then a letter for another appointment which was cancelled. Among others.

    I finally get an appointment for a WCA, but refused to go after they ignored a letter regarding a home visit from an actual medical professional stating that I cannot travel to the assessment center for my mental health problems. I also state, that a recorded interview was not addressed and today I receive an email from the disgusting CHDA, stating that I did not request a recorded interview. Well I have a stack of phone calls and emails etc requesting such.

    I have caught them out a number of times, which I am adding to my case against them in court. A private prosecution.

    I believe that a home visit was refused because a) I stated that I will also be recording them. It may be against their policy, but it’s not law. b) they realize that the timescale between application and assessment is huge and that they have already decided to unlawfully find me fit for work before I’ve even had a “not fit for purpose” assessment.

    This whole affair has caused me a lot of worry and distress (among other things) and as such, I am having them charged for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm Contrary to Sec 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, among other criminal and civil actions I will be bringing against them.

    I have a further diagnosis of PTSD among others that I have and this had worsened them.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I mean 2 years until an assessment is ridiculous.

    Thanks again to anyone who responds.

    Kind Regards.

  30. Michael says:

    P.S Does anyone else think that the DWP will flag certain numbers and refuse to answer them? Since last week, I haven’t been able to get through at all.

  31. Mike says:

    I have had problems with People Plus getting my benefit sanctioned. The latest one was for being 6 mins late for an appointment.

    The DWP tell me they do not deal with People Plus complaints and you must go through their own complaints procedure. The problem is People Plus ignore complaints. In the last 6 months I have made 5 formal written complaints and all of them have been ignored. Without a response to your complaint you cannot go to the Independent Case Examiner – which is I believe why they do it.
    So if you want to complain you must contact People Plus managers directly and make sure they know you will not be fobbed off.
    Complaints are supposed to be handled by the Liverpool office and here are some useful contact details I have used:
    • Write to: Unit 9 Waterside Court, St Helens, Merseyside, WA9 1UA Remembering to get a proof of postage receipt.
    • Phone generic Freephone number: 08006816628 and log your complaint.
    • Ring the Business Support Manager Kirsty Andersons mobile 07792059955.
    • Email the Business support Manager Kirsty Anderson Kirsty.anderson@peopleplus.co.uk
    • Phone the Freephone number and ask to speak to the Office Manager Christopher Williams

  32. Ali S. Barre says:

    Date: 31/07/2017

    Re: I did not eat from seven months (02/07/2017 to 31/07/2017) and I’m sleeping
    dark for every night and I’m full of debts. this is disgraceful and I’m falling from
    grace.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I contacted several months from DWP ESA department for several months each time, I contact to them they told to me “do not contact for us we will contact to you, later on”, where I send to them each time a valid Medical Sick-Note from my GP and I am not fit to work. I was the founder and the Director of Somali Cosmopolitan Community Ltd. I was the trainer of sports (soccer) for the young people and community advisor, communicator and interpreter/translator. I speak six languages and I am a post-graduate level for Strategic Management/Leadership.

    Severe Injuries:
    I have got severe injuries from left side skull fracture/left leg fracture, displaced right rib, sever lower back pain with sciatica and I’m on medication. since this long term benefit deprivation, I became destitute and for the long hours of hungary which caused to Stomach Constipation and Hemorrhoids (Piles) which is continuously devastated my healthy concerns as well or besides my former injuries. Thus, situation even I am feeling it destroying my mental health and low moral where I am filling a lot of debts that I can not pay at the moment people (lenders) asking to me and as well as I was expecting to repay after when I get on my benefit. But, the DWP most often they say to me they accept my claim but they do not pay a single payment since from the above mentioned date. Thus, I am falling from grace from stagnant situation from DWP ESA Dept and lenders as well as unacceptable starving destitute manners that the DWP ESA deptement caused to me.

    As I several times contacted DWP which they are falling their promise. I understand that they are using special Codes for certain individual customers like me and other people that I was interpreting to them. But DWP does not want to tell anyone what are these codes. I explained the DWP officer called Mr Arthur everyone in this country (UK) has a right for freedom of information according to the freedom information Parliament Act 2000. He hesitated and then he told to me he will pass this information to the right department and everything will be done properly. nothing has done yet so far.

    I am requesting the honourable or anyone who can take steps/ measures from this enigmatic situations, which I am afraid to loose my life, if it is continuous like this.

    I am looking forward to here from you in the near future,

    Kind regards,

    A. S. Barre

    This is my song:

    HM is right, I know I know
    My government is right

    I know I know it is the right time
    To say I’m falling from grace

    ESA deprived my rights
    I am dishonoured destitute
    I am falling from grace

    I was once in the sky
    I was once high in the sun
    I was once the right high officer
    But now I’m falling from grace

    ESA kept to me lots of debts
    Keeping me on and on debts
    But the lenders have no acceptance
    Above all lenders ask me to repay to them
    But I’m destitute I can’t pay
    I am the keeper of empty patience
    I am falling from the grace

    But ESA promise not holding pride
    How much pain I’m feeling
    My pain is increasing
    from physical to mental
    ESA drives me mental ill health

    ESA only wants me to be hungry
    ESA only want to me to be destitute
    ESA only want to me to catch a disease
    ESA only want to me to hold
    ESA only satisfy to make me die

    Without your help
    I don’t know what!!!!!
    Do I have right to be alive
    Help me then before it’s too late
    I’m falling from grace or die!!!!

  33. David Edwards says:

    Can you help me about pension credit problem.This has been withheld for four months inspire of repeated requests to re instate.

  34. sandi louise barton says:

    Am on dla low for dislecetare for the last txo year ave bin getten 55pcm when i shold be 87pcm am on dla infentlexm plz am find it hard to do bouv

  35. Hi out there. Is anyone able to tell me exactly how long I have to wait for a decision on my daughters benefits, once in the hands of DWP Decision makers. Im being told its unlimited waiting time??She has lost all of her PIP and is now on ESA. Her award apparently may get backdated, as Maximus have recommended she joins a support group and doesn’t need a face to face interview. When I spoke to ESA I was informed” Decision makers can overturn this recomendation” I have complained so much without any response, I want to take action but don’t know where to go with this?? Can anyone help with advice please?Oh and my daughter who is suffers Autism. ADHD. Total deafness in one ear.Tumour in her right eye. Anxiety. She has tried to get work, but even if she gets a job she struggles with informtion overload and eventually gets sacked for her outbursts.
    Thanks in advance.

  36. Jay says:

    Hey all , had an ESA ASSESMENT in London , got 3/60 vision , was in the support group for years , could not see the assessors face on the day, he said i had good eye contact , i was wearing dark sunglasses as got photophobia too , guess what ? zero points , he lied through his teeth , going through hell now , complaining to Maximus and NMC and Mandatory recon from these utter scumbags !!!!

    • Terminator says:

      Tell the DWP and assessment company you want the decision maker(s) and HP to attend the tribunal to answer questions on the report and other things as well. They won’t turn up. Use the Bond Solon rule about FACT and Opinion.

    • i had assessment with ATOS on May 2013 and was awarded esa support group. I was reassessed on December 2016 and had another face to face assessment this time with Maximus and after this assessment with Maxinus I scored 0 points even though I suffer from 2 chronic diseases that were worsening. While i was awaiting for a Tribunal date after a mandatory reconsideration , I done a complaint to Maximus at the second stage of my complaint they sent me a letter of apology and admitted there assessment lacked detail in many aeras and had omissions. They gave me an apology along with a 200.pound consolatory payment. I still had to go to Tribunal last month where i scored 24 points and was put back in support group. The DWP were aware that my assessment was lacking detail and had omissions and that I had received an apology, yet they would not change there decision before the Tribunal hearing

  37. Terminator says:

    I have a method that that I would use if they stopped my benefits and they are;
    1/ If they claim to have sent you a letter in the post is to ask for a copy of said letter, proof of postage and proof of receipt. If they cannot provide all three then you should win.

    2/ They claim to have handed you a letter at a previous signing on appointment to attend on a date, again ask for a copy of said letter, but this time you require video or photo evidence of you been handed the open letter. You will have to give a description of yourself and the clothes you were wearing on the day, I always wore the same colours and type of clothing, it made it easier to say what I wore on the day. As they are the ones claiming non attendance it is up to the DWP/JCP to get the photo or video as that is a major pary of their evidence without it you should win

    3/ You haven’t applied for enough jobs, this should be simply asking them to supply a list of all jobs that were available for a person with your qualifications between your your signing on dates, be it a fortnight or a month, they might try the over £600 or 3.5 working days BS but all you are asking for is proof that they would present a court of law without proof they would be laughed out of court.

    The one thing the DWP don’t like is been threatened with court when you have a solid case, and I will stand in any court and testify to that.

    • AJ says:

      I have a 19 week delay to my Universal Credit application. And after the first payment they made a sudden deduction of £660. It’s been a constant pain in the a**. Could I put together a case and file a complaint – demand compensation?

  38. Pam Thompson says:

    A salutary tale of ‘Guilty until proven innocent”.
    I am knackered. I have a dodgy pair of lungs which don’t work properly, I have a twisted spine, which doesn’t help the dodgy lungs. I am in constant pain from arthritis and much more. If I was a horse, I’d have been shot.
    I’ve been on DLA for decades and ESA since it came into being. I am unable to work. I was having a small bit of the mortgage interest paid (not all, I covered the rest myself) I had an interest only mortgage, to be paid up next month. Now, I have a modest little hovel, but it’s *my* hovel and I want to stay until I die. So I investigate a lifetime mortgage. Silly me.
    I figured that if I could get the interest free mortgage paid off, it’s save the DWP money as they wouldn’t have to pay any of the interest. Then, if there was a bit left, I could go mad and have central heating and an actual hot water system installed and, oh my goodness, the sheer luxury of an actual kitchen with a sink and a tap out of which came actual water. Oh the giddy idea of being able to wash up in a kitchen sink instead of squatting on the bathroom floor doing the dishes in the shower cubicle.
    Yes, yes, I know, I’m just plain decadent.
    Then there were the repairs. Thanks to Tory cuts, there are no repair grants to be had so I figured getting the gutters fixes so that the rain didn’t run down the walls, making the inside walls damp and growing black mould, would be a good idea.
    So this is what I did. I got my tiny (£21,000) paid off and they figured my hovel was now worth £100,000 so they would let me have an extra £9000. Plumber came and installed central heating (should help me not get pneumonia every winter or need the police to break in and cart me to hospital again), gutters replaced after chopping out the rotten facias and replacing them, then a secondhand fridge, secondhand freezer, secondhand kitchen units, some paint and lino enough for the whole house. Splinters in feet isn’t nice, plus the dust getting trapped between bare floorboards was killing my lungs. And hey presto, I’m back to being broke. Only I’m worse than being broke because my money has been stopped. They wrote to me complaining that my old mortgage company was refusing to accept the bit of interest they paid. I wrote back and explained that I now have a lifetime mortgage and don’t need to pay anything back. The interest is accrued and gets paid back when I die and the place is sold. I figured that they’d be happy at saving money. I gave them the facts and figures, told them that with a hovel only being worth £100,000 and these companies don’t like to lend more than 30% of the value, I hadn’t got anything left after getting the repairs done. Yet, despite being on ESA support, and it being illegal to sanction me, they have one so.
    They stopped my benefit . The letter states that they stopped it because of changes to the amount of money I get. Yet nothing has changed. So I have to attend a meeting and take all my bank statements to show that I really am not a millionaire and don’t have tens of thousands stashed away, and until I’ve been to the meeting, as far as DWP is concerned, I am a liar and a thief and a con woman who is claiming money to which she isn’t entitled.
    So what am I supposed to do? I am unable to work, yet they have sanctioned me illegally meaning I have no money, so unless I find work, I will starve and be in debt, but I cannot work, so I need the ESA, which they have stopped, so I need to have some money coming in , but unless I work, I won’t have money coming in, but I cannot work…………………………see how crazy it is?
    I am caught in a strange world where nothing makes any sense. Things that should be are not. I’m legally not allowed to be sanctioned, but they have sanctioned me.
    Being autistic doesn’t help because things are black and white for me. If I’m nt allowed to be sanctioned because I am too sick to work, and the very people who *decided* that people on the ESA support group shouldn’t be sanctioned, have sanctioned me, means that I am getting agitated and about to go into total meltdown out of frustration, and at which point, I get asked to leave because “you are becoming aggressive”.
    Frankly I feel like I’ve taken drugs and gone into a psychedelic place where right is wrong, and wrong is right.
    I honestly believe that the government actually *wants* people like me to kill ourselves. Fair enough. I’m not afraid of death. 2 previous suicide attempts showed me that there’s nothing at all to fear. I want to get off this crazy magic roundabout where I can be punished without knowing what I’ve done wrong, and where people can tells me I’m doing something wrong even though I’m not and when I can be accused of being a criminal with no evidence or anything to suggest I have done anything wrong.
    The world has gone mad and I am being punished for being sane.

  39. Darren says:

    In the summer of 2006 the DWP began court proceedings against me for overpayment of just under £3,000. I complained that I should have had a tribunal hearing. This was arranged one week before the court hearing. The only evidence was the paperwork for the court hearing and a copy of a will that rather proved I had made the mistake of putting a relatives money in my bank account.
    The DWP never sent me the outcome of the tribunal (stopping me from appealing).
    The DWP lost in court in the October 2009. The immediately began proceedings again but for £6000 and promptly lost in April 2010 in court. I can prove that the DWP did not pay me the amounts they allege, even before I prove the mistake of the relative’s money. I had even told the DWP this on a formal form of theirs and had began the process of correcting the title of the savings account.
    I have tried to get ICE to review the case and they did not, ignoring evidence. I asked the Ombudsman to review the case, they said I had other means.
    I now have DWP debt management telling me I need to contact Jobcentreplus in Londonderry. I have Jobcentreplus telling me I need to contact DWP debt management. I wrote asking for a mandatory revision (words used by CAB) etc.
    My crime was to care for my doubly incontinent paraplegic father.
    It is over eight years now. My solicitor back in the day said pay it anyway (bit hard since the money was spent converting property for disabled dad) and knew full well that the DWP were asking for money back that had not even paid in the first place.

  40. Terminator says:

    If anyone knows that they are in the right a NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PROSECUTE normally does the trick.
    I first used it back in 2007 when they said they were paying me CA (carers allowance) only they were not, but they were deducting the money from my benefits as if they were.
    I had paid them over £300 that they claimed was an overpayment because they claimed I was being paid CA when I questioned it. Every time they have backed down, mainly because I know I am correct, they were paying money into the ex wifes account, not mine, and she had got the DWP to have all things relating to me sent to her, that’s why it took months to get benefits after we split.

    I always check information to see if I am entitled to the money before I start and once I do I quickly escalate it to the NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PROSECUTE stage, normally in a month to 6 weeks.
    I always use email as my chosen method of contact and if they say contact this or that phone number complain because if you escalate it to a prosecution a presedent has been set by one person being awarded compensation for not been allowed to contact by email.

  41. james tugwell says:

    hi im on high rate pip and have a motabiliy car have been on sick for 20 years now im in pain all day long and fined life a real struggle was recently sent to a esa asesment got 0 points from what thay say i dont even think it was me thay saw that day now been tould i need to go on jsa i feel like my world has just turned on its head as i no there is no way i could hold down a job let alone being 49 and on the sick for 20 years dont no what to do can u please help me thanks james

  42. Dee says:

    Reading so many posts, at least I now don’t feel alone. I’ve been 100%victimised! This is perfectly clear and in black and white for ANYONE to see. My last payment was made on the 16th of February, 2017. After finally being given somewhat sound advice, I was told to apply for a loan by way of an advance until my benefits were finally resolved. Within the space of 2 hours I received a call stating I was going to be paid back pay! This doesn’t interest me at all! I’ve literally SOLD ALL OF MY BELONGINGS that I’ve accumulated over the years now 45! The back pay they’ve still scammed me by thousands. Please someone just help me put the DWP TO SHAME. I have FACTS and not fiction, I have it in WRITING the actual PROOFS and evidence TO BACK UP my claims against these Bxxxards. I’m NOT going to let them get away with it!, is there anyone here that HAS THE KNOWLEDGE how to do it leaving NO ROOM. for error!
    Please please someone be my guide and enjoy the fame from their shame! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH for this one!

  43. John Cotton says:

    Hi Nick

    I am an Universal Credit claimant and I have made a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman regarding my job centre’s policy to ignore a claimant’s doctor certificate and sanction the claimant if they do not work search and attend appointments. Ombudsman ref: C2025038.

    As I have received no reply to my complaint I made a Freedom of Information Request to see all communication regarding C2025038. My request has been denial because it the information is confidential.

    Thanks to your web site I am now applying to the HMCTS for a ruling to allow me access to the information.

    Regards
    John C

  44. Michelle ONeill says:

    Hi, I was claiming ESA as I suffer from arthritis and am in constant pain, only to be informed after the DWP sent me for a work capability assessment, that I was “fit for work.” It has gone down the road of the mandatory reconsideration, which was returned with the original decision unchanged. I had my appeal heard on the 28th June 2017. I won my appeal by 21 points. Which is not just a scrape through, as you only require 15 to win an appeal. I was given the decision in writing on the day, and a few days later received a letter from the DWP stating that my ESA would not be reinstated, as the DWP were asking the judge for the reasons the decision was made in my favour. I have since been sent a copy of the reasons, which have also been sent by the clerk at the tribunals service to the DWP. I am currently claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and I have to attend work related interviews, and show an online record of the jobs I have been applying for. It is now 4 months since I won my appeal, and the DWP have had no further correspondence with me regarding this matter. I am currently waiting on a phone call from the DWP, which should have come this morning as they did not phone yesterday. This entire process has caused me nothing but stress and anxiety. I had my local MP write to them on my behalf, and they even disregarded his letter. The way the ill and disabled are treated in this country is vile. The DWP have no conscience with regards to how they treat people. I am now at a loss as to what to do. I’m not sure who I can make a complaint to regarding the length of time I have been waiting, and their complete and utter disregard for the decision made by the tribunal judge. Disgusting!!

  45. AJ says:

    Nick, your information is amazing and with so many years of work experience and hands-on insight. I just wanted to say how appreciative I am for coming across the wealth of tools and instructions you have put together.
    THANK YOU! It helps people like myself immensely who have no resources to get advice or help otherwise (CAB has huge budget cuts and their ours cut in half. It’s nearly impossible to get access to meet them nowadays for advice).
    I’ve had a 19 week delay on a Universal Credit application, and impromptu deductions of £660 that I wish to battle.

    • Hi AJ,

      Many thanks, glad you found the information useful. Key to remember that on appeal to HMCTS Tribunals in PIP and ESA cases, the success rate is around 65%;- it’s far higher than at Mandatory Reconsideration. Persistence is the only way here and good luck!

  46. Fred Bloggs says:

    I’ve had dreadful, and even admitted problems with DWP, particularly HMCTS since 2015.
    There is VERY clear, even admitted maladministration from HMCTS where I have been denied either set aside or an Upper Tribunal.
    I’ve complained, and have even had the complaint maladministered. This original complaint is sat at PHSO who are trying to case dump. As my MP referred it over I’ve complained to him and am STILL getting nowhere.
    DWP rather than realising that the claim was maladministered closed it, forcing me to reclaim. I complained and this is now, finally, with ICE – who have a 10 month waiting list.
    To add insult to injury they have not recognised my condition and HMCTS are maladministering again, and DWP have not recommenced my benefits since October 2017 – so I am without any income.
    There’s no doubt in my mind that this is deliberate maladministration, misconduct in public office and malicious.
    I’m thinking of taking DWP to the small claims court to sue them for the benefits that I am due, the expenses that I have incurred and the distress that they have caused me, ironically exacerbating the condition they say doesn’t exists as I don’t fit into their badly fitting “descriptors”.
    Any thoughts peeps? As if this goes to small claims court it goes with the maximal adverse publicity that I can muster !

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