We have had reason to conduct an investigation....


M

milkblob

I am not quite sure how or where to start so I will list everything
from day one.

Nov 1988 - Gave up work to have my first son.

Nov 1994 - Started an unpaid 3 year training course, when the 3
children had all started school.

Sep 1997 - 2 months before I took my final exams and was due to start
work I suffered a rare prolapse (only 5 people in UK had suffered this
before me).

Apr 1998 - Claimed DLA and recieved mobility and care at higher rate.
(Note that I didn't need the money but had to make the claim to get an
orange badge which I did need and therefore all money was put into a
savings account).

Jul 1998 - Operation which gave me back some mobility.

Dec 2000 - Given incorrect medication (something that I was known to be
allergic to) which resulted in acute allergies to just about all
medication, severe urticaria & angioedema and hospitals no longer able
to give me the treatment that they wanted for the back condition.

Jan 2002 - My partner could take no more and walked out on me and my
three children. Before this he had spent 3 months making our life hell
trying to get us to move out so that he could keep the house.

Jan 2002 - I went to the Ciziten advice and was given a list of
benefits that I should be able to
claim (this included a figure of £162.50 a week HB towards the
mortgage). With thier
information I worked out that I could continue living in the house and
with the DLA
savings and by borrowing from my mother the insurance money from my
fathers death I
could buy out my partner.

Apr 2002 - After 2 months of being very ill I managed to claim through
Jobcentreplus income support £53.95 for me, £100.50 for the children,
£14.75 lone parent, £23.00 because disabled, + £39.30 DLA mobility,
£14.90 DLA care, £36.52 child benefit. At the time I had £4953.09
in savings. The original DLA savings were all given to my mother who
was paying off my ex. After deductions of CB and £1 per £250 savings
I had an income of £147.68 and still had to pay all housing costs and
council tax arrears. (The care part of DLA had been reduced even
though there had been no change in my condition but I was told that I
could loose more if I appealed and so being scared of this I didn't
take the risk).

May 2002 - Claimed HB and recieved £51.35 a week until Oct 2002 and
then £102.70 a week. I repeatedly spoke to someone regarding the
lower payment than I had been quoted by CAB and was told that a
£100,000 mortage limit was set but was being reviewed. I guess these
reviews take a long time ^^.

Then

Income from all benefits £250.38 a week - £1001.52 a month

Mortgage payments - £1181.77 a month

Now

Income from all benefits - £1453.48 a month

Mortgage payments - £1136.90 a month

I have spent the past 4 years underpaying utility companies (electirc
has finally caught up with me and want £133.50 a month = gas,elec and
water at £261.50), feeding my children with food donations from the
local British Legion (my kids hate me for ruining their lives) and
fighting to hold on long enough to get out of the nasty clause with my
mortgage lender. I have lost years to depression, built up huge debts
but I never gave up fighting. In August I can finally sell up, pay
back the debts and buy a little house not needing HB anymore. Or that
is what I had thought, until this morning when I recieved a letter...We
have reason to conduct an investigation. It seems that when I gave the
DLA saving fund to my mother to go towards that which she was using to
pay off my ex partner and even though I had said at the first JSP
interview what was happening to the money, they have changed their
view. They want me to bring along proof of the account that I cannot
find or no longer have. I am not even sure how much it was, somewhere
in the region of 7-9 thousand. All I have is a solicitors letter
detailing the amount given to my ex which I am sure they won't accept.
The
only conversations about this money were made by telephone to a lady in
HB other than that at the first interview and I don't have either of
their names.

I didn't ask for this condition, I didn't ask for the CAB to give me
wrong information, I never asked for the hospital to make my health
worse. I have struggled to do my best, I even said to the doctor that
I wasn't suffereing so badly from depression anymore. That is until
today, now I just wish that my life were over. All I can think is that
through everything I kept up my life insurance and maybe my kids will,
after all of these years of struggling, get a decent school uniform, a
pair of hip trainers. a McDonalds or a computer game.

What have I done that is wrong? What can they do to me? These 8 days
will be the longest of my life.
 
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B

bob

Basically the DWP computer has picked up on something (and hopefully
not someone trying to shark you up). Firstly please don't say that you
wish your life was over. You have children and they need a mother,
regardless of what anyone says. From what I can make out all that the
DWP are saying is that you failed to disclose DLA savings handed over
to your mother to pay off your ex partner. You claim that your
Solicitor has details and indeed this is proof enough for the DWP.
Don't forget that you are not going to face the firing squad, just the
social. Have you thought of seeing a legal aid Solicitor as they have
ways of dealing with these issues. I know that as a fact any component
of DLA is not counted as income for benefit purposes- as a last resort
tell the DWP that you were ignorant of the fact that it MIGHT count as
savings. There are other knowledgeable people here whom I am sure will
give tremendous input throughout the day. bob
 
M

milkblob

I am frightened because other than the solicitors letter I have no
proof. From a previous experience I know the social don't even take
proof as proof. (£200 given to me by my childrens father to pay
outstanding school meal debts, the final installment on a school trip
and a school jumper for the youngest were, even with letters from the
secretary confirming the money all went to the school for items
outstanding before I had even claimed any benefit, the £200 was still
deducted from my IS. Appealling took 2 years and I still failed.) I
just don't have the strength to try to take them on again, even though
this time, like the last, I know I have done nothing wrong.

I suffer terrible memory problems but know I did tell 2 people about
how I was funding the buying out of my partner, which, had I been
rightly informed about benefits in the first place I would never have
bothered doing. The money doesn't exist, I don't have it, I have 50p
to see the 4 of us to the end of the week and one son in detentions
because he hasn't got school shoes.

I have enough to deal with just getting through a 'normal' day. For
the first time in a very long time I had seen the light at the end of
the tunnel, not spent every waking hour worrying about finances,
actually made it out of bed of a morning and even put on a little
weight.

I am frightened of the un-known. As for someone trying to "shark me
up". I have no idea what this means ^^.

Thanks anyway Bob, I am trying my hardest to stay on top.
 
B

bob

Listen, a Solicitors letter IS proof. You have been wronged by the
system. The CAB have given you wrong advice - they usually do! Have you
claimed any Social Fund payments or asked about them? Please do this!
If any of your children are in Secondary school and you get Child Tax
Credit under the savings threshold of £13,910 or you get Income
Support then you can get a Grant for free school uniform (excluding
shoes) and free school meals. If your children are in primary school
they are entitled to free school meals, furthermore in primary school
uniform is not essential. Are you sure that you are claiming all
benefits that you can? Please ring 0800 882200, as you are in receipt
of DLA mobility component they will talk through other possibilities. I
cannot stress enough how much a free legal aid Solicitor can help you
against the DWP. bob
 
A

anthonyberet

(e-mail address removed) wrote:
have reason to conduct an investigation. It seems that when I gave the
DLA saving fund to my mother to go towards that which she was using to
pay off my ex partner and even though I had said at the first JSP
interview what was happening to the money, they have changed their
view. They want me to bring along proof of the account that I cannot
find or no longer have. I am not even sure how much it was, somewhere
in the region of 7-9 thousand. All I have is a solicitors letter
detailing the amount given to my ex which I am sure they won't accept.
The
only conversations about this money were made by telephone to a lady in
HB other than that at the first interview and I don't have either of
their names.
Just to save on confusion, you haven't been getting HB, but help with
your mortgage interest through Income Support. HB is only for those who
rent.

Anyway, What has your mother-in-law been doing with the saved-up DLA
money? - Is it saved in an account which is in your name?

It could be that the Inland Revenue have charged (or exempted) Income
Tax on interest made by the account and this has been picked up by the
DWP, thus alerting the DWP to what they think is undeclared capital.

I am a bit behind the times with the capital allowances for IS, but I
think you have been disposing of the money legitimately - the line to
argue is that you have not been saving it and don't have it as capital.
The money is administered by your mother-in-law and belongs to your Ex.
Given that you told the JSP about this right at the beginning, if you
can confirm with them that you did this then you could also argue that
any overpaid benefit was a result of official error, and that you could
not reasonably have known that you were being overpaid. (if this were
agreed, they wouldn't claim any overpaid benefit back from you).

Your DLA is based on your condition, and is yours to spend how you see
fit. You have spent it, not saved it.
The Income Support is means tested, and this could be affected by your
holding capital. - This is probably what they are checking.

However, from the sound of it, I really wouldn't worry at this stage.
The best thing to do is simply explain at the interview. - Just
remember, the money isn't yours. (I am not encouraging fraud here, I
just want to make sure that you describe the situation clearly).
If you have any legal documents showing the arrangement with your Ex
then take them along.

However, I am sure others in this group who know more about IS will post
to this thread before your interview, so keep checking back.
 
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M

milkblob

I took along all of the solicitors letters and 2 reciepts showing
payments to my ex partner for his share in the house. The first
payment he demanded my Mum had paid to him in cash just to get him away
from us. (He was very abusive) The 4th, final payment was paid
through the solicitor, which thankfully showed the total amount paid so
has given some hope. What I hadn't realised is that the savings
account that I had given to my Mum to help pay him off was not closed
for a year and that Mum had instead cashed in a PEP and paid with that.
I know that I was very ill at the time, loosing months to depression,
Mum was trying to look after both of her elderly parents, me and the
children and she said it didn't seem important at the time what money
she used as long as he was away from us.

Mum is now trying to find paperwork showing that she paid over money to
my ex and also trying to show where she used the money from the savings
account. All I can do is pray that this will be enough.

I was told that the investigation could take 4 weeks, but until then I
will still recieve Income Support! Can they stop it completely or will
they fine me for the period that Mum held the savings account open? We
hardly manage with what I get and the idea of that ending is so
frightening.
 
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M

milkblob

I just remembered something that the fraud officer said and hopefully
someone can shead some light on this. With the savings that I had
disclosed (just under £3,000 which disappeared very quickly) and those
given to my Mum (somewhere around £6-7000) the total exceeded £10,000
and therefore I would not have been entitled to any Income Support. Is
this correct? Now I am more frightened that ever.
 

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