Department for Work and Pensions invite me to a meeting

Department for Work and Pensions invite me to a meeting

Department for Work and Pensions, Hemel Hempstead

The postman delivered a buff brown envelope on the 7th Feb. The Wife gave it to me. The return address was DWP, PO Box 585, Belfast. Straightaway I said, “Oh this is something about my disability allowance”. She made me open it. It was dated 1st February 2017. The basic gist of it was as follows.

The Department for Work and Pensions invite me to a meeting

It will be at the Hemel Hempstead JCP (Job Centre Plus) building at 9.00 on Tuesday 21st February to check my benefits. There was no ‘Excuse me could you possibly …’. This was an order from the Department of Work and Pensions.

I immediately wrote a letter asking to change the date of the meeting and offered a string of alternative dates. I still have not received a reply. A Hemel Hempstead phone number was printed on the letter. I rang it repeatedly but no one answered the phone.

A week before the appointment

I happened to try the phone number again. A woman answered the phone. She listened to my request to change the date.

“You can only change the date for a funeral or hospital appointment” she stated.

“Oh” I said

She added “We are investigating you for fraud”.

Department for Work and Pensions invite me to a meeting

The fateful letter

No mention of fraud on the letter

The letter stated “We need to check your personal information” plus a list of documents that I must bring to the appointment.

Come 21st of Feb I get up at 6.30. It takes me over an hour to wash and dress. The Wife drove and we arrive at the office just before 9. As we walk into the office a woman appears from behind a pillar and asks me to go into her office. My wife who is my carer could NOT accompany me.

I felt very uncomfortable

I was offered a seat but I stayed on my mobility scooter for a quick getaway, as if…

The woman introduced herself to me but I forget the name. She then says that the Department of Work and Pensions works very closely with HMRC. Now I knew who had dobbed on me. She then went on to produce evidence that in two weeks of the year 2014/15 I had earned more than my Incapacity Support benefit for each week. The excess was trivial, maybe £10 or £15 on each occasion.

I explained these were for talks I give as a service user to student nurses. “This is very commendable” she said “but I  want to know why you have not informed the department of changes to your circumstances.”.

“I thought this only applied to my medical circumstances”. I pleaded ignorance.

Paperwork

I must now complete a form for permitted work giving the details of the organisations that will be providing the ongoing support and supervision of my work. I am involved with several universities. The frequency of the work is totally unpredictable.

In a nutshell

I can’t work more than 16 hours a week or earn more than I receive in any week of my Incapacity Support Benefit allowance.

I enjoy talking about my experiences with a Long Term Condition and disability to student nurses. Its called being a service user and I enjoy it. Now someone has hit me on the head with a large mallet. Is this the penalty for enterprise and education? Have any of you encountered this sort of problem?

February 2017

This document may help you to understand these issues.

8 responses to “Department for Work and Pensions invite me to a meeting”

  1. I assume Julia is helping you. You couldn’t be in better hands. Good luck with this.
    Barbara

    • Hello Barbara,

      The whole HMRC and DWP issue is causing me a lot of stress. The whole problem could be dealt with in a much more sympathetic way. They make me feel guilty without giving me an opportunity to put my case forward.

  2. Allan McMillan says:

    Would it be possible to for you to accept expenses at each talk? Their job should be to encourage your enterprise, and give advice on the correct way to count the pennies.

    • Hello Alan,

      Whilst the DWP and HMRC are investigating me I have had to cancel everything. Once the investigation is over and the dust has settled I can take a view.

      Meanwhile its freebies all round providing the option of payment is not on the table

  3. Vee says:

    Seriously?!? How many man hours has it cost the DWP to investigate a paltry £25 over a limit 3-4 years ago?!?! How is that a good use of tax payers money? I’m appalled you’ve been put through this stress

    • Hello Vee

      In total I have received about £7000 since 2012 on top of my incapacity benefit that I am paid. Appatrently this is a NO NO and I will have to repay incapacity benefit, don’t know how much. I have someone from New Bucks University defending my corner. Definitely shades of Animal Farm.

      So much for enterprise and keeping myself alert and healthy. Do watch this space, I will recount the story as it unfolds

      Stress, yes all causing much too much of it

  4. Nick Melliss says:

    Thanks for this account, and you’re right – it is the penalty for enterprise and education. I had one PiP assessment, which I’ll never do again. I just want steer clear of DWP and HMRC as much as I can. They’re both sinister organisations. It’s appalling that their actions quash initiative and take away any desire to help out. Sometimes I feel I want rise up, fight back and get onto the barricades, but more often I just give up and turn my back on the whole ghastly state of affairs.

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