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In which I find my name associated with benefit fraud.

22 Jun

It had to happen eventually. Somebody’s reported me to the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions).

I got a letter today. Well, my mother did – my benefits are in her name after all – saying that a fraud officer will be visiting my house on Tuesday, and to be sure I’m available. Unless this is the standard letter all benefit claimaints eventually get… but then, why at home? Why not at the benefits office or jobcentre? I don’t know anyone who’s had someone come to their house, with a snotty letter demanding they be available.

I’m not breaking any laws. I’m not committing any fraud. So why do I feel like Tuesday will be the day my life as I know it ends?

I’m terrified. I also don’t know anyone who’s had an assessment and passed. Not even Z, who is bipolar and can’t function without medication. Not my friend Ann, who can’t walk more than a few steps and needs a commode downstairs. Everyone I know has failed the assessment.

I’ve never had one. I’ve never needed to; my disability was always considered life-long. And fraud? I wouldn’t know HOW to commit fraud.

I want to cry. I want to hurt myself. I want to take co-codamol and forget it all.

If I lose my benefits, I can’t help but feel I’ll have no choice but to kill myself. Seriously. I’d have no other options. I’d have no money. Not a penny. Not a single thing to live on.

I want to throw up.

I’m not strong enough for this.

DWP advert in the UK.

I’m sorry I haven’t commented on other blogs. I just don’t think I can speak sense right now.

 

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61 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Every day life

 

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61 responses to “In which I find my name associated with benefit fraud.

  1. jhon baker

    June 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    This is serious – don’t do anything serious in reaction to it. There must be an appeals process if you are denied. And just because you don’t know anyone who has passed doesn’t mean that people don’t pass, you may well be the first person you know. Get any doctors statements you have ready and be prepared to present evidence.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      There is an appeals process, but then I don’t know anybody who’s passed that either. You’re right though, some people must pass. Fingers crossed, I suppose. We have plenty of referral letters and I know I can ask for statements from my GP. I hope so, anyway. Thnk you for the advice and support, jhon.

       
  2. Skye

    June 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I know it’s hard, but try not to stress out beforehand. Just be there, any documentation you have I’m sure would be helpful. Be open & forthright & pray that this is just some beurocratic check-up.
    I am sending love!!!

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Thank you very much Skye <3 I really, really hope it's just some check. Otherwise I know I'll fall apart. Cheers much for the love x

       
  3. cloud strife 86

    June 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I’d like to know what moron reported you in the first place.

     
  4. carlarenee45

    June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    You won’t know for sure exactly why they are coming until Tuesday comes.I know it is difficult and close to impossible for you to not get really stressed out before hand, But try really hard. I know how I would be feeling and I understand you being scared to death. But I have been scared to death about upcoming events I wasn’t sure about and thought it had to be something really bad, and it end up being nothing like I had thought. I hope this is so in your case sweety. My prayers will be with you.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      That’s what I’m hoping. I just know that nobody else who has been contacted by the DWP (that I know) has had an assessment at home, nor had a letter from a ‘fraud officer’. Eep :/

      Thanks, carla <3

       
  5. Eva

    June 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Sweetie you can meet them at the front door and tell them its nothing personal but you don’t feel safe welcoming someone you don’t know even if they work for the DWP into your home and that you will prefer if you both can undertake the meeting in a cafe. If they persist tell them it’s a phobia, & unless they have shown you legal evidence to see/ search your property they have no rigth to
    invade your privacy.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      In a way I feel better knowing they’ll be at my house. I’m more likely to get territorial over my ‘safe space’ and prove I’m not exactly able to cope in normal social situations. Thanks, Eva <3

       
  6. Human In Recovery

    June 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Take some even, deep breaths, shrug you shoulders high and then relax them, stretch and release. Follow the advice already presented to gather you documentation or at least collect all the contact and reference information for the practitioners you’ve received care from. Research the assessment process and find out if there are any organizations or persons who provide pro-bono legal assistance in these matters. Whatever happens, you’ve been strong enough to make it to this point, you will be strong enough to make it through this.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you <3 Luckily I have records of every appointment going back years, so I'm hoping that'll stand for something.

       
  7. twirlinggirl

    June 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I’m so sorry this is happening. I don’t know what to say other than that I’m thinking about you and, as a true-blue optimist, I believe you will come out the other side. You’re amazing.

     
  8. Bourbon

    June 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    What a stressor that you really don’t need to be dealing with. I am going to be keeping my fingers crossed so hard for you that it goes okay on Tuesday. Go into that interview knowing that you have done nothing wrong, you deserve everything you are getting, and nothing less. We are all behind you to emotionally back you up. Keep that head held high x

     
  9. Roxy

    June 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I had one of these, I hope you have the same one. All they did was go through all my benefits, and check I was receiving the right money, turned out, at the time I was getting £2 too much, and they took it off me – wtf.
    The woman seemed to be checking if I had a partner, that’s what her questions were aimed at. I guess because I have been single since I’ve been on benefits (5 years) that’s why they wanted to check. If they had evidence, they’d do it at the office, and tape it. Hope this helps.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      I’m hoping it’s the same thing; did they come to your house?

      Thanks Roxy.

       
      • Roxy

        June 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        Yes! It was from the fraud department as well, her excuse was that they do “spot checks” and basically the computer randomly picks people. I didn’t buy that and assumed someone had lied to them, and the letter should have said that it was “random” because I totally reacted the same way as you and was a mess for about a week until she showed up. Idiots! Hugs!

         
  10. manicmacca

    June 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    So sorry to hear about this. Can I ask what do you mean when you say passed the test? If your refering to ESA or DLA I passed both. I have Bipolar and havn’t had any problem’s with my claims. Have you heard of an organisation called Advocacy? They helped me with all my form’s and advised me on what I should an sholdn’t say during the Interview process. Here’s 1 huge piece of advice they gave me, when asked about how you live with your condition answer them with your worst days, at your lowest and don’t include your ok moment’s. I know It may seem abit deceitful but trust me It’s needed. Also don’t be afraid of them, I was told to question them as much as they did me. Ask them what qualifies them to make a diagnosis, what training and qualification’s they have.
    I did all that an to be honest It made them very uncomfortable but hey their doing it to you.
    I hope you get it sorted an try not to worry to much, theres plenty of advice an guidance on the web,take some time an get your self more prepared..
    Let me know the out come please. Your in my prayer’s..
    BRIAN

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      I’ve been on DLA/Incapacity since I was fourteen; and because my disability is considered life-long, I’ve never needed the normal assessments. Now I’m going to have to prove myself to a total stranger from the government, in my own house. I just don’t understand why someone would report me :(

      It’s so hard filling in those forms. I’m really hoping I don’t have to do it again.

       
  11. ryoko861

    June 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Deep breaths! If you haven’t done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about! Make sure you have files and what ever to back up any claims they make against you. Get dr.’s numbers and scripts in order. They aren’t coming to take your benefits away, they just want to make sure this claim isn’t bogus. Just like when someone calls 911 here in the states, the cops HAVE to come out and check…even if it was just someone being a douche.

    Relax. I do believe it will all work out!

     
  12. DisplacedHousewife

    June 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Thats a horrible stinking thing to do!I hope that who ever did report you gets a good kick in the arse by karma!
    OK…that said,I totally agree with what everyone has said. You will be fine, you more than qualify and you have got nothing to hide. Just dont try be all strong and whatnot – let them have the full crappy days in detail.
    I know you will pass and hopefully, there will be a positive side to all this and you will finally get your benefits paid into YOUR account and not your mothers.Fingers crossed!

     
  13. The Quiet Borderline (back in hospital)

    June 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Grr. Please, please stay safe and try not to do any self-destructive acts. You don’t deserve that. I hope that all of the support here from your fellow bloggers will calm you enough and give you some great sound advice.

    Take care x

     
  14. teepee12

    June 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I passed. And I had to have I can’t even remember how many visits to THEIR doctors too, but it was okay. Hang on in there.

     
  15. stuff I said

    June 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Sending lots of positive energy your way. Good advise given here..just hang on and when you hear hooves think horses not zebras. In other words don’t make a monster out of something that could be a simple process.

     
  16. YAPCaB

    June 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    You’re getting lots of good advice. Over the years I’ve been through quite a few “Spanish Inquisitions”. You aren’t guilty, don’t act like you are. Take the high road, tell the truth. Ask them questions. Get indignant, politely, if they try to misrepresent you.

    Don’t worry about who reported you. Assume it is random – unless they bring it up, which they won’t. It may very well be random. Regardless, it doesn’t really matter.

    Believe in yourself.

     
  17. Katie Michele

    June 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Sending love and thoughts. Hang in there, you’ve got this.

     
  18. Julie

    June 23, 2012 at 12:12 am

    *hugs* Don’t drive yourself more crazy with the what-ifs. It’s not a fun game in situations like this, so don’t play it. Yes, I know, easier said than done. I’m guilty of it all the time too. I over-think just about everything. But you are strong enough to get through this, that much I am completely certain of.

     
  19. dankline2000

    June 23, 2012 at 12:53 am

    See here is where I get super defensive, what right do they have to even try to enter your home, here if they told me they were coming to my house I would tell them to fuck off. But then I am an asshole like that, and just for shits and giggles i would booby trap the front sidewalk with doggy landmines from the neighbors yard, let them walk through poop. If they get through that I will throw kittens at them from then upstairs window, ha that will show them…..No I would throw kittens but I would do the doggie land mines I think that would be kinda funny. As said here many times, and it is good advice just tell them the truth and all the while make up shit about them in your head, and giggle a lot that will definately throw them off, or just smile through the whole process, when people they think are mental and they smile it makes them uncomfortable, I have been there and done that.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 23, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I suppose in a way it’s better than me having to get to their office; I suppose it means it’s their money they’re wasting and not mine. That’s got to be a bonus.

       
  20. dankline2000

    June 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

    would not throw kittens, i meant would not

     
  21. artyelf

    June 23, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Oh . . . darlin. That sounds so frightening.
    I know it must be hard not to think the worst, but could you ring the DWP, now, today?
    Could you just ask if they would explain what the appointment is about, that you are perplexed, especially that it involves a fraud officer?
    At least this way, whatever they tell you, you can prepare.
    It may not be as bad as you fear. But if there are serious allegations, you can ready yourself and call forth that Strength I know you have inside.
    You are in my thoughts,
    and I send you Stilness of mind and heart today.
    Elyn ♡♡♡

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      My mother’s calling the DWP on Monday when it opens in the morning to try and get some information. I’d have preferred to do it myself but eh, she’s taking over this situation just like any other. I wouldn’t have been half as stressed by the letter if she hadn’t freaked out when she opened it.

      Thank you so much Elyn, as always <3

       
      • artyelf

        June 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        Hi again, beautiful!
        I was just thinking about your reply above, and I think it reveals a lot.
        Maybe it’s not YOU, but more your mother, who the ‘fraud’ is in relation to.
        And perhaps, and this is only a thought to play with, don’t stress about it, please -
        Maybe, when this person comes, perhaps you may be able to discuss having your benefits put into your name, your account. Maybe, this may all work out to be an opportunity for you to gain back some control.
        I know what I have just said may be scary to you for all different reasons, but from what I have read of you in your blog, you have NO reason to feel you are not entitled to a benefit. You should have what you are given and more.
        Try to be gentle with yourself this weekend, I know it will be difficult to stop all those panicked thoughts swirling, but look at this page, there are so many people who have you in their thoughts and hearts this day. I hope this gives you confidence and strength.
        Go gently today, Elyn ♡

         
  22. judithatwood

    June 23, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Love from Maine in the middle of the night. I have read the comments, and anything I wrote would just be repetition. I agree with others, knowing there is nothing you can do beforehand, much like there is nothing to do when it’s gone. Hang in there, love — you are surrounded by friends, and every one of us is pulling for you. XOXOXOX

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      ((hugs))

      I was so stressed and wound up before reading all these comments… I’m really not so stressed now. Honestly, I was almost expecting somebody to come out of the ether and say “well, I think you’re faking it too!”. So far, so good. Much love x

       
  23. thebirdieflies

    June 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Fuck! I cannot believe that people who can’t walk more than a few steps wouldn’t pass a disability assessment. What do you have to do to convince them? Show them your medical papers? You have plenty of that. Sit in a wheelchair and not walk? You can do that, but if they catch your bluff it won’t be good. Actually have a fibro attack? Would it be convincing enough? Especially cuz it’s something they can’t see?

    Do one thing though: Be as unkempt and messy as possible. Don’t let them wonder why a disabled person has time to wash up, wear make-up and be attractive.

    Here’s a hug: *hug*. And best of luck. I sure as hell hope you pass the assessment.

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

      *hugs back* Thanks luv <3 I can't believe they refused to pass her; they said "she can use her arms, so she can work". Never mind her hands are crippled with arthritis :( Bless her, I feel awful for her.

      I doubt they'd see a fibro attack, although I've become quite good at hiding them. Maybe it's time to let that false coping slip a little and let them see how I really am when I'm not faking smiles.

       
      • thebirdieflies

        June 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

        Didn’t they see that? The fact that she has arthritis? :/
        Even if she didn’t, the only way she’d be able to work with her useful arms is if she Lived in a factory, because even getting from home to a workplace requires legs. She can hardly walk on her hands.

        Yes please. Do let that false coping slip a bit. And no fake smiles please. I’m awaiting the result of the assessment with my fingers crossed.

         
  24. geese

    June 23, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Sending you love and light. This has happened to a close friend of mine. There are some sick people out there who are malicious. I’m praying Tuesday goes well – i agree with the above post – make yourself as dishevelled as possible!

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Thank you so much Geese, and I’m sorry it’s happened to somebody you know. It just doesn’t seem right, does it? There are a tiny minority of benefit cheats who are ruining it for everybody.

      As for dishevelled… I can do that! And I will.

       
      • geese

        June 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        Yeah after helping this person to claim DLA (in itself was hard enough), for them a year later to be accused of fraud was heartbreaking. I still don’t understand how you can claim DLA fraudulently as it’s so hard to get even when severely disabled. I really pray and hope it goes well on Tuesday. Appeal if not! this tends to help…

         
  25. Barefoot Baroness

    June 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Oh hun like life is not enough? I agree with everything all have said. I’d like to add that you have the right to know what the allegations of fraud are that they have. Ask them just what basis they have for their investigation. You have a right to know. You have a right to know in writing as a matter of fact. Don’t let them bully you.

     
  26. Jacqui Talbot

    June 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I know it’s hard, but please try to keep calm until you have something to worry about. A lot of people pass these assessments, and I believe you’re going to be one. Right now, you are, as my father says, “Borrowing trouble like sugar.” Just keep your head up and know that we all are here for you. *HUGS*

     
  27. verbalbanter

    June 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Sending you strength

     
  28. Resilient Heart

    June 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I am sorry to hear this, I’ve been through much of the same bs, the fear, anxiety, dread, etc. can overwhelm and drain what energy there is. We’re behind you 100%, our strength is your strength.

    Just imagine your home filled with us strange people, er, uh, I mean strangers from around the world. We’re all standing by you and behind you in support, and oh yeah, there’s one puny person from the DWP who has no proof! :)

     
  29. My Ox is a Moron

    June 24, 2012 at 3:18 am

    We are all here for you. Maybe you can use this opportunity to get your benefits into your name. Love from Utah.

     
  30. faithhopechocolate

    June 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Looks like everyone’s made some sensible suggestions! I too will be praying for you (I can’t promise to remember on Tuesday but I will do today and tomorrow). I also wondered if it was because the money is paid into your mother’s bank account and not yours – in which case, if she’s the one who makes the phone call tomorrow, it may not help the situation either, as it makes it look bad for her.

    Sending love & hugs.

     
  31. twittermalingerer

    June 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Hello, my boyfriend had one of these visits. The guy said he was from DWP internal audit and was checking to ensure payments were being made correctly in terms of DWP error not customer fraud. I’m sure it will be ok xx

     
  32. peacealisa

    June 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Them coming to your home is not a bad thing at all. They want to see you in your home environment. Be truthful and be yourself. They visit you at home for a number of reasons. As twittermalingerer stated, it could be just to ensure that you are actually living at the house and your mother isn’t continuing to get your benefits without you living there or to make sure that your are getting everything you are entitled to. When they go after people for fraud it’s normally because they have been seen working somewhere or running down the road for a bus when they claim they can barely walk and things like that. I have aunt who works for them and is a manager so I will double check with her and see what she thinks.

    Call your doctor and ask for all your records that show where you have been diagnosed with certain illnesses and problems. Try not to overdo it but be sure to list and tell them all your illnesses. Don’t worry so much. You are not lying, you are not committing fraud so be positive and look at this as a positive thing. When they come in, be friendly, offer them a cuppa and thank them for visiting you at your home to check on you. Presume they are there to ensure your well being and convey that to them and that will ensure that you stay calm and focused. I will say a prayer for you and it never hurts to say a little prayer to God before hand either. You can do it…..

     
  33. peacealisa

    June 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    P.S. With the amount of people on benefits it takes them ages to get around everyone so it’s just your turn is all. Don’t worry so much. It will be fine. xx

     
  34. Brokeninpeaces

    June 29, 2012 at 1:53 am

    wow, you have alot to deal with, my god, so stressful, i sure would be feeling the same way you do.don’t take this the wrong way, but here it is obvious that you NEED what you get. WHY are people always med-ling in our lives for the worst? its so annoying, and most my stress is that brought upon by others.geeze girl, stay strong, idk what i can possibly say to make you feel better, do know you are very loved here with all of us, it shows and we care and WE NEED EACH OTHER TO STAY SOMEWHAT SANE. NO YOUR NOT ALONE AND ARE IN MY PRAYERS. GOD BLESS YOU SWEETHEART, TRY AND KEEP YOUR CHIN UP..HUGA

     
    • halfwaybetweenthegutter

      June 29, 2012 at 2:09 am

      Thank you, dear. Like you, most of my stress seems to be brought by others right now. Grr. Hugs right back!

       
      • Brokeninpeaces

        July 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        almost in mental ward this past week:( others yes, they just add fuel and dont even GET IT AT ALL. its all about its hard to deal with you (De)broken) yeah i say….. TRY BEING ME AND HAVE MY BRAIN, AT LEAST YOU CAN GET AWAY FROM ME. AM i RIGHT, IM SURE YOU SAY THE SAME. back them off right. God Bless you hunny and thanks

         
  35. thepickledprincess

    July 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Im really behind with my blog reading honey so not sure if you have had the interview yet? Please do not do anything silly though- there will always be away around things- I promise xxxxxx

     

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