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DWP interview tomorrow - overreaching?

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DWP interview tomorrow - overreaching?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
17 replies 1.9K views
travelodgertravelodger Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
I've received an unexpected letter summoning me to an interview tomorrow because "we're reviewing your benefits and circumstances".

My circumstances have not changed in any way since I was assessed for and awarded Pip last year.

I am not an "old hand" at this and have never been investigated before. I am a bit intimidated and a bit affronted. The wording of the letter is threatening.

My question is this: I am in receipt on Contribution Based ESA, and PIP, and nothing else. I have read up about these and they are not in any way means tested. I am entitled to these two benefits regardless of how much I have in savings, income from any source whether earned or unearned. And yet in this letter they demand that I bring statements that show every bit of money that I have: e.g. all my savings, building society accounts, post office, bank statements, also ISAs, Premum Bonds, Income Bonds, Captial bonds, National Savings, and any other savings or investments.

As my two benefits are not affected by any savings I have, why are they asking, do they have a right to see these things?

Don't I have a right to privacy over savings that do not in any way affect my benefits?

Are they overreaching their authority and just being nosy for no legal reason about things that do not affect my benefit?

What would happen if I took just my bank account statement and nothing else? Can they withdraw my benefits for not declaring savings which do not affect my benefits?

Thanks to anyone who can advise.
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Replies

  • pmlindyloopmlindyloo Forumite
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    I've received an unexpected letter summoning me to an interview tomorrow because "we're reviewing your benefits and circumstances".

    My circumstances have not changed in any way since I was assessed for and awarded Pip last year.

    I am not an "old hand" at this and have never been investigated before. I am a bit intimidated and a bit affronted. The wording of the letter is threatening.

    My question is this: I am in receipt on Contribution Based ESA, and PIP, and nothing else. I have read up about these and they are not in any way means tested. I am entitled to these two benefits regardless of how much I have in savings, income from any source whether earned or unearned. And yet in this letter they demand that I bring statements that show every bit of money that I have: e.g. all my savings, building society accounts, post office, bank statements, also ISAs, Premum Bonds, Income Bonds, Captial bonds, National Savings, and any other savings or investments.

    As my two benefits are not affected by any savings I have, why are they asking, do they have a right to see these things?

    Don't I have a right to privacy over savings that do not in any way affect my benefits?

    Are they overreaching their authority and just being nosy for no legal reason about things that do not affect my benefit?

    What would happen if I took just my bank account statement and nothing else? Can they withdraw my benefits for not declaring savings which do not affect my benefits?

    Thanks to anyone who can advise.

    Pensions affect contribution based ESA.

    Do you receive any income from pensions?
  • travelodgertravelodger Forumite
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    They made it clear to me when I was assessed both for ESA and for PIP that neither is income related. I also looked up the rules online, and phoned up to check, and everything checks out. I can literally earn any amount of money, save any amount, have income from property, lodgers, or work, to literally any amount, and none of it affects my ESA or PIP as they are not means tested in any way.

    PMLindylou
    I started getting a work pension 18 months ago and they have been deducting £13 a week for that.

    This is why I am bewildered as to why they are demanding to see evidence of my savings -- it's none of their business.
  • travelodgertravelodger Forumite
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    Hello Sportsarb. I wonder if you could please answer my OP. Mark seems to have hijacked my thread a little :-)
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    Hello Sportsarb. I wonder if you could please answer my OP. Mark seems to have hijacked my thread a little :-)


    Much of the information requested is not relevant to a Conts only claim, but if it has been requested you do need to take it with you. DWP staff genuinely are not interested in what you are spending money on so, although I understand your unhappiness, you need to do as they ask. Failure to do so, may result in benefit being suspended.
    I would be inclined to keep bank statements etc in a bag and only hand them over if specifically requested. Ask why they want to see the statements but don't get confrontational, again there is only one loser if you do, and it isn't DWP.
    The only reason I can see for them wanting to see bank statements is to ensure that you aren't in receipt of a pension paying at a level which would affect Conts ESA payment.
  • travelodgertravelodger Forumite
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    elsien wrote: »
    OP, there is an ignore button you may wish to make use of.

    Where?

    I don't want to ignore Mark, I just didn't want my question forgotten about because everyone was diverted by Mark's non sequitur replies.

    I didn't come here for a fight. I'm upset and worried about tomorrow's interview.
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  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    OP. I agree with TELLIT01. Although it is difficult see why DWP are carrying out this exercise you have no choice but to comply in order to risk having your ESA suspended.
    PIP is completely unaffected by any of your financial circumstances. The only financial matter affecting contribution based ESA is pension income in excess of £85/week.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • SystemSystem
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    In my admittedly limited knowledge of being on ESA,( I was for a short period ) then I am sure I was asked in for interview at the DWP some way down the line and asked to take bank statements, savings etc. It was to review not to catch out in some way. Do not panic!

    If you have been honest there is no reason to worry ( I do, always so I know that's easier said than done!). I think it is pretty standard procedure to ask for proof all savings, interest on same, proof of income from whatever source.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    purbeck wrote: »
    I think it is pretty standard procedure to ask for proof all savings, interest on same, proof of income from whatever source.
    Understandable for a means tested benefit such as income based ESA, not for a non means tested benefit such as contribution based ESA which is what OP says they receive. As stated the only thing that affects contribution based ESA is pension income in excess of £85/week for which a 50% deduction of the 'excess' pension income is made.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Forumite
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    I suspect this could be a result of the poor quality and confused wording of many generic DWP letters which often fail to address the specific circumstances of the claimant.

    The OP may have received a standard letter, and is worrying unnecessarily.

    Nevertheless, it would be sensible to have the required info present at the interview, along with his pension payment history. He could (politely) query the need for a declaration of his savings if it is actually requested at the interview.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
  • I'm more familiar with UC, but those letters are filled with text the casemanagers are not able to edit. As mentioned, it could be whoever designed the form letter didn't word it well.

    Bring all the evidence requested along. If it doesn't affect your benefit, then what's the harm in them seeing it? No need to get confrontational and raise suspicion that you're hiding something nefarious.
    Amount left to pay on house = 64,400.

    Savings buffer = 1,028.75 of 2415.

    Next large expense = 159 of 483.
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