DWP DEMAND ACCESS TO YOUR HOME & DOCUMENTS

Reposted from DWPExamination.org
DWP sign

In today’s scary news, it has emerged that the DWP are claiming the right to enter the home of people in receipt of a variety of benefits, demand to see their ID and financial documents, and interrogate them for an hour or more. All without prior warning.

While the DWP have always had teams that investigate fraud – including spying on people through their windows from parked cars – the idea that they can select you at random and turn up unannounced appears to be new. What happens if you turn the DWP officer away is not stated.  While the website says “You can reschedule your appointment if you need to” it also says  “You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.” Of course this is very likely to be backed up with the usual “you do not have to comply but if you do not then your benefits may be affected.” When confronted with the idea of losing all their income most people will obey against their will.

As many people have pointed out to me, plenty of sick people cannot cope with this intrusion or unpredictability.

Others may not have the ability to find the documents or to think well enough to provide the answers demanded. Carers who know all the details may not be present.

I suspect that the random selection and the entry into the home without warning  may breach the human rights act. (Article 8 – Right to privacy?)

It is notable that the text claims that the DWP will check you if you are on Housing Benefit. That benefit is implemented by the local authority and not the DWP. This leads me to believe that this update is mostly posturing for the tabloids on the part of the Specialist Parliamentary advisers (SPADs)  that churn out propaganda for the DWP Press Office.

A page on the gov.uk website carrying a date of 2 June 2014 sets out what the DWP are threatening. The current contents of that page in full:


Home visit to check your benefits payments

You may get a visit from a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officer to check that your benefits payments are correct. A Performance Measurement review officer may visit you if you’re claiming:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
Your name is selected at random to be checked. You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.

What to expect

The officer will interview you in your home and will want to see 2 forms of identification. They’ll also ask to see documents about money, savings and rent, eg:

  • payslips
  • bank, building society or Post Office accounts
  • rent book or tenancy agreement
  • benefits and tax credit awards

Visits usually last up to an hour but may be longer. You can reschedule your appointment if you need to.

Check their identity

You can check the identity of the Performance Measurement review officer by:

  • asking to see their photo identity card
  • calling the Business Support Team and giving the review officer’s name
Business Support Team Telephone: 0191 216 8050 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
************************************ UPDATE ***************************
From Tom at Golden Drawer

There has been some discussion on Twitter about the DWP’s claim here that it may conduct what it calls ‘Performance Measurement’ visits, a strangely Orwellian term for what, on the face of it, appears to mean some form of fraud investigation. The discussion has included talk of whether failure to participate in a visit can lead to loss of benefit. The short answer is “no”, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.
 

There is no doubt that the DWP has wide powers to investigate fraud, and may conduct visits to premises, including to a person’s home or place of employment. There is no right of entry to a person’s home if the person does not agree. While it has the power to conduct these visits, all this really means is that in doing so, it does not necessarily unlawfully exceed its powers. It does not mean that it can actually compel a claimant’s participation.

 

The DWP also has adequate powers to revise or supersede (technical terms meaning, for these purposes, essentially, stop) awards of benefit where there is evidence the person no longer qualifies. This can be retrospective, leading to an overpayment, which may be recovered.

 

Where evidence exists that a person might be receiving benefit he isn’t entitled to, the DWP might well want to put the case to the claimant for comment, and if it isn’t satisfied with any explanation given then they would be within their rights to revise or supersede the award on the basis of the evidence held.

 

However, the key problem with the ‘Performance Measurement’ visits page seems to me to be summed up by this paragraph:-

 

 

“Your name is selected at random to be checked. You won’t always get a letter in advance telling you about the visit.”

 

 

If there is no pre-existing evidence that a claimant’s award of benefit is incorrect, then there seems to be no good reason for a claimant to comply with such a visit. While a person might have no objection to co-operating with random checks, it surely seems only good manners to offer an appointment for such a visit in advance, instead of just turning up without notice. It would seem to me entirely reasonable for a claimant to turn a DWP officer away who had just turned up unannounced for a random check.

 

The DWP’s only recourse if a claimant refused to engage with the visiting officer would be to argue that it was entitled to draw an inference from the claimant’s conduct. They would then have to conclude that such an inference alone showed, on balance of probability, that the award was incorrect. This would be a staggering leap of logic.

 

Such a decision would carry a right of appeal, where the burden of proof would be on the DWP to show grounds to remove the award. Since the conditions of benefit are laid down by statute such grounds would simply not exist. Even if the DWP did have pre-existing grounds to suspect the award was wrong, and a claimant did not comply with a visit, the appeal would be a complete rehearing of the facts and the claimant could submit any new evidence even if it was not available to the DWP before.

 

If the DWP did try to go down this path of revising/superseding based on adverse inference alone, it would be a massive waste of public money on the successful appeals that would ensue, and would arguably amount to deliberate maladministration. I would therefore never expect they would actually attempt this.

 

I should add for completeness that there is, rightly,  ultimately a sanction for failure to provide information to the DWP. The DWP may require a person to provide information ‘reasonably required’, and may terminate benefit as a punitive measure if the person fails to do so. However, the claimant is entitled to one month to provide the information. Additionally, the request must be in writing and must state that one month is being allowed. It is not enough to have simply demanded paperwork, ID etc. on the doorstep and been sent away, and the one month would not run in such circumstances. The issues around this power, and how it interacts with adverse inferences, are helpfully discussed in Upper Tribunal cases CH/2001/2013CH/2995/2006, andR(H) 1/09 and these cases remain good law. Although these are local authority benefit cases, the relevant DWP regulations are the same.

The DWP therefore appears to be somewhat misstating the situation.  It clearly seems to be  implying that participation with a visiting officer is compulsory, whereas this is really only the case where fraud is already suspected, and then only to the extent that non-compliance may lead to an adverse inference being drawn. The suggestion that a person visited at random has any meaningful duty to co-operate on the spot does not seem to be correct, as long as any information reasonably required is provided within one month.

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28 Responses to DWP DEMAND ACCESS TO YOUR HOME & DOCUMENTS

  1. sdbast says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

    Like

  2. untynewear says:

    Reblogged this on UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR and commented:
    They might demand entry, but I’m certain they have no legal right.

    You could draw a comparison with the TV Licence people (who, as a weirdo who doesn’t have a TV set, and therefore no TV licence, I’ve come to know very well…). Their inspectors occasionally turn up unexpectedly and, upon being told I have no TV, demand to be allowed in to check for themselves.
    To which the answer is – “Certainly, as soon as you come back with a search warrant and a policeman”, because that’s what they have to do – get a judge to issue a search warrant, and they must be accompanied by a copper.

    Can’t see it’d be any different for a DWP official.

    Like

    • Andy Robertson-Fox says:

      I guess that ıf one ıs ın receıpt of a means tested allowance of some sort from publıc funds a perıodıc check to ensure the condıtıons remaın satısfıed ıs not unreasonable.

      I may be wrong – it is not unknown – but I believe that no one has the right of entry into your house or prıvate property without permıssıon or a warrant wıth the exceptıon qualıfıed offıcer from the Health and Safety Department. Even the polıce, fıre and ambulance servıces need your permıssıon or a warrant (but obvıously ın some emergency cases thıs has to be just a lıttle flexıble).

      The danger is admitting them into your property in the first place as that ındicates that permission has been given…and thus approval to conduct whatever the business with you may be….never allow a bailiff in..!

      Mnay years ago down our street there lıved a lady who always wore her hat ın the house. When answerıng the door, ıf ıt was someone she was pleased to see she had “just got back” but ıf ıt was someone she dıd not wısh to see she ” couldn’t stop as she was just goıng out”..

      Like

    • Methusalada says:

      Nice one untynewear! But as millions of us try to survive in the NWO of the 3rd Reich, I suspect they shall bring in special orders to make even the strongest comply. Still we do have Ed Miliband & his cohorts signing for Jerusalem .

      Like

      • Joanna says:

        arm yourself with video camera, mobile phone would do, they won’t like it, but they can’t legally stop you!!

        Like

  3. There are only a few people who have a RIGHT of access to your Property; Customs Officers, Police (equipped with the appropriate Warrant) and Transco (traditionally Gas Board) officers in order to secure the safety of the Gas supply.
    The DWP DO NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT.

    Anyone else must ask permission. You have the RIGHT to refuse permission . Even if you Do invite them in, you can ask them to leave at any time. If they fail to do so, they are guilty of TRESPASS

    Like

  4. How many readers of this post remember the “Tallyman”? In the early days of the ‘National Assisstance Board’ (NAB), all “benefits” were means tested and were accompanied by a visit from the “Tallyman” who would make an inventory of everything you owned. You would be asked to sell anything that wasn’t considered “essential”, which would include photoframes, ornaments, ‘unnecessary decorative items’, surplus furniture and clothes, in fact anything they deemed “non-essential”, (and TVs weren’t “essential”, back in the day!) Plus, they had “right-of-entry” into anyone’s homes who were asking for government money! Kids used to run ahead and warn their parents that the “Talyman” was coming so that they could hide anything with some sentimental value attached! Oh, those halcion days of “never having it so good”! This country’s gone into reverse!

    Like

    • Methusalada says:

      My God ! I can remember these guys being introduced in 1948 & my Gran saying “they ain’t coming in here” . Then some of my mates saying can I come in your house today as my Mum’s got the Tallyman in today. Then my curiosity grew more intense to find out what a Tallyman did in all that time at number 4. Well I shall just say that’s one education I shall never forget ! My mates mother was on the game with 5 kids to support poor women ! I earnestly hope that’s not where we are heading for all over again. Terrible times !

      Like

  5. Excellent report here from the JustFair Consortium, which show without any doubt that this government are in breach of UN and HRA regulations.

    http://www.barrowcadbury.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Going-Hungry-Human-Right-to-Food-REPORT-FINAL-1.pdf

    Like

  6. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    No, the DWP do NOT have the right to turn up unannounced and ask to see your papers.

    Like

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  9. aussieeh says:

    Expect new laws from this Fascist Regime to enable this. You vill be dragged off to a prison cell by men in long leather coats, with names such as Herr Bastard, with warrant cards signed by the biggest Bastard of all, Idiotic Demented Sociopath. While you are in the prison cell they vill destroy all of your personal valuables, and steal anything of worth.

    Like

  10. Ron says:

    Reblogged this on Ron's Rants… and commented:
    The laws governing the statutory right of entry (to your home), are currently in a state of flux thanks to Cameron’s idiot government trying to “improve” matters (Google statutory right of entry UK and see for yourselves). Doubtless, from that flux, will emerge a right of entry for DWP stormtroopers.

    On a personal note, I am so heavily drugged (and so seriously ill), that much of the time I’m unable to talk coherently to anyone, and I talk to nobody about anything to do with money (or anything important at all), it’s just too easy to make mistakes, as I know to my cost. If they want to send me a form, or write a letter, fine, I’ll reply in kind, but I will not discuss it verbally.

    Like

  11. JK says:

    Where fraud or another ‘crime’ is suspected, you have a right to remain silent, and any interview you agree to should be taped.
    Use it with anybody who is trying to hit their own performance related job targets.
    I know two people who were called into an office, ostensibly for an ID check, and when they got there, they were accused of ‘obviously having more coming in than they were declaring, and ‘obviously’ having a cash in hand job somewhere’!. Neither did.
    Worse than that, the interviewer wrote on the statement form AFTER one of them had signed it, which is illegal.

    Like

  12. Pingback: DWP DEMAND ACCESS TO YOUR HOME & DOCUMENTS | Street Democracy - where it should reach

  13. Gazza says:

    I hope that someone could correct my thinking if it is wrong:

    1) if someone entered where I lived, unannounced and univited I would limit it to one person only.
    2) I would request written confirmation on the spot to the reasons for the visit.
    3) lack of paperwork would mean I take entry to be slander as an insistance on entry shows belief that I had done something wrong – vicarious liability?
    4) I Would cite that even the police/tax office have to have probable cause to demand entry to a property [feeds into point 3 above] – what is theirs?
    5) Record the person activities while on the property on a mobile phone.
    6) Later via Information Act SAR request all paperwork produced that allowed their unwanted visit
    7) request the details of the weighting and examples used in the so called random entry procedure
    8) Point out that according to the Civil Service Code all civil servants must act in a even handed, open, honest, way or they breech it.
    9) request details of names and contact details of senior officers for area operating out of as would be making complaint to them, report to Police at unautherised intrusion and what I would consider to be harrassment, a MP of my choice the same thing, the Partlimentry Committee that oversees DWP, etc etc

    Like

  14. Gazza says:

    Oh, I forgot one:
    threat of sanctioning is fraud, via threats and menaces due to individual attempting to gain entry has a finiancial incentive to gain entry via performance pay and targets to meet

    Like

  15. mo Mhorag says:

    Next we’ll have a rash of bogus callers claiming to be DWP operatives!

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs and commented:
    More police state – guilty until proven innocent.

    Like

  17. Dr Nazrul Islam BEng Hons M.Inst.E says:

    Thank you Compassionate “Professionals”.

    Dear DWP West Midlands Sussex County of Cornwall and British Isles of

    The DWP the HOUSES FOR SALE that are not to be under any circumstances sold under The Executive and Legal Registered Chairman of THE GLOBAL MESSENGER renewed by the University of East London for MR REBAKA SULTANA AND MYSELF who have no affiliations with SOUND FRAME OF MIND THAT we both are Your DIRECTORATE GENERAL AND WE ARE YOUR CHAIRMAN. WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO understand what is Happening or has Happened. WE HAVE LEGAL CONTRACTS WITH YOU WITH DHP AND I AM AWARE THAT YOU ARE utitising a DHP Illegal Health and Safety that I am Responsible for my OWN HEALTH AND SAFETY. IF I am not provided the IMMEDIATE “HEALTH AND SAFETY” you as You know Have to BE LEGALLY ISSUED INSOLVENCY LETTERS BY ME everything we accomplished has been DETRITIMENTAL BECAUSE you failed to provide….ME PIP CARERS ALLOWANCES DVLA HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS . THE POLICE LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL TAKE The DR J REHMAN THE DR KHAN AND DR AAMIR ALI WITH VIVIAN BELL under the CRIMINAL OFFENCES OF COMMITTING THE syndicate NHS Fraudulent Theft of an online WEBSITE CREATED BY PROFESSOR NAZRUL ISLAM HMRC Business Authority and DOT ROJERS WHO VISITED 2 ROYAL GARDENS HAWORTH ROAD IS INSTRUCTED BY HMS GOVERNMENT DIRECTORATE PROFESSOR DR NAZRUL ISLAM BEng Hons M.Inst.E I wish to RECEIVE PIBLIC HOLIDAYS WITH MY COLLEAGUES AT THE JOB CENTRE WITH THE LADY WITH BLONDE HAIR AND DR LUCY FOX AND MYSELF REQUIRE FROM THE BRADFORD LAW CENTRE TO SEND ME MY TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO 184 LYNFIELD DRIVE BRADFORD BD9 6EZ AND TO AVOID UNAITHORISED HACKING PLEASE CONTACT ME ON 01274 811 851. FORWARD MY TAXCODES AND MY EIFES TAXCODES WITH OUR REGARDS. THANKS..WE DEMAND TO KNOW WHAT IS PURE AND SIMPLE TRAVEL PLANS!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. finolamoss says:

    Worse still, as the state are harvesting all old, mentally disordered including the learning disabled/autistic, for their £5000 + a week private residential institutions, forced if need be by the Court of Protection in secret.

    This, as is the Care Act and the Carers Assessments, is another way of gaining, what otherwise would be and may still be illegal, entry to your home for covert assessment of you and it.

    Google finola moss -‘care to ensnare’ on Care Act 14 and how the disabled, with the help of 433 million provided by government to implement Care Act, are being removed and harvested for huge private profit from care homes and what is now called ‘community living’..

    Be aware, as far as I can see, they have no legal rights to do this that’s why they created carers assessments which are voluntary and all in breach of s8 HRA.

    Like

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