New targets for DWP compliance interviews.

Sometimes I’m taken by surprise. Mostly I’m not. But this is a new tactic. A new target driven tactic employed by the DWP. 

For anyone claiming JSA, ESA Income Support or universal credit you might be familiar with a local service compliance interview. They send these letters out usually on a random basis or sometimes on the say so of a suspected fraud taking place. Now these interviews are compulsory and if you don’t attend then your money will get stopped. 

Whilst attending one of these interviews you are normally treated like a criminal, guilty before being proven innocent, most likely innocent of any wrongdoing as you have been randomly picked in the first place. You are taken to a room which looks just like a police interview room. They record everything like the police do, only in this case you are most likely innocent. You are asked to bring with you all documentation and proof to say you are who you are. This is what happened to a local lady who will remain anonomous to prevent any harrasment from the DWP. Here is what happened.

 After being admitted to hospital for an operation, she returned home to a “compliance interview” letter.Now the only “crime” that this lady committed was to become ill. She is claiming ESA and was previously claiming JSA. There has been no other change in her circumstances, but she is regarded as a criminal and will be treated as such. 

The lady concerned phone up the DWP on the number provided.To ask why she has been asked for an interview (interrogation ) and to inform them that as a disabled person and therefore classed as vulnerable she will be bringing an advocate with her. Here is a summary of the conversation. 

It took her a while but she eventually got through to a real person. This chap sounded quite nice apparently but wasn’t expecting any questions. People normally just comply, they don’t question the DWPs decisions he said. He sounded compassionate for a DWP worker, that he was under great pressure to perform these interviews. He didn’t say he was under pressure but I am presuming that he is because he has been told that he’s got to claw £1000 back from innocent people, people that have been claiming the correct amount of money and have committed no benefit fraud. So she is just a person on the list of targets for this clawback. He said that the DWP had supposed to have sent her a previous letter, which surprise surprise they didn’t. He didn’t argue the case for the DWP as he believed that she was knowledgeable and it was pointless doing so. She asked him why he had given her all this information… He said that he did because she had asked lots of questions and his tone wasn’t of a person happy in his job. She also informed him that she will be taking a witness into the interview and that she wants proof of all said letters from the DWP to herself that hadn’t arrived. After all it’s a well known fact that these letters don’t get sent out in the first place and the onus is on them to prove that they sent them and not on her for not receiving them. 

There are several issues that need to be spoken about here. The first is that these compliance letters are now being used as a form of target for the DWP. Never before have I heard of this. We all have heard about sanction targets, but compliance targets? Wow. That’s an all time low.

The second is the fact that you are proven guilty before you are even seen and are even interviewed in police like surroundings. This is shocking because even in a court of law you are supposed to be innocent before being proven guilty. The DWP doesn’t see it this way. And now they have a £1000 target to aim for innocent victims are going to be fraudulently accused of committing benefit fraud and will be asked to repay money that they do not owe, and have never owed. After all the DWP will want to reach that £1000 target so the most vulnerable will be targeted for this. 

The third is that the DWP are openly committing fraud. It’s much the same as demanding money with menaces. A very vulnerable person sitting in a compliance interview hosted by usually two very hostile DWP workers will agree to anything just to get out of the building. Their money will stop and they could well loose their home. 

The fourth and the last for now because I’m sure that I could think of more is that the decent members of staff working for the DWP are being put at risk by being forced to comply to enforcing these actions. The man concerned knew it was wrong but because he most likely he knows how bad it is to be unemployed, he has had to choose to enforce it. This is very wrong. Not all DWP workers are bad but the good ones tend to be the exception to the rule these days. They end up leaving or becoming ill because they cannot stand the stress and the wrongdoings anymore. 

Please share this blog. Let the DWP know that we are aware of their latest trick. If you receive one of their compliance letters always question it and demand a witness to any interview. That is your right so use it. We cannot allow them to get away with this fraud. Making the poorest pay for the banking crisis which was created by the richest is never acceptable. 

As my comrade States “With every twist of the screw that takes place it becomes more urgent that the jobcentre workers stand shoulder to shoulder with the claimants. Each generation has to relearn what solidarity means – that what the power of capitalist ideology does to us!”

Quick note. ESA is employment and support allowance. JSA is Jobseeker’s Allowance. Universal credit is what it says on the tin. 

  
It would be wonderful if anyone could donate to keep this blog going. I’m on a very low income and I need to continue this blog. My Paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com thank you! 

Please note none of this is hearsay it is based on good evidence from genuine people. 

For anyone who thinks this isn’t a true account of events, it was. I was accompanying this person and I have mentioned that it is a compliance letter. I have also attended many of these meetings with claimants. Some go ok, some don’t. It’s pot luck with who you see at the interview. I will not edit it because it a truthful set of accounts. Thank you. 

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290 thoughts on “New targets for DWP compliance interviews.

  1. I recieved my letter on Christmas Eve.I have to go for an interview on 13th Jan 2017. Its half 2 in the morning and I am up worrying about it as I have been every night since it came. I have done nothing wrong that I can think of. I have been disabled and claiming incapacity benefit then ESA (Support group) since 1994. I also get pip after being changed from DLA a few weeks ago. For this I had my first EVER interview with a person from the DWP. Now I have this letter. I wish they would leave me alone, I have seizures and no sleep makes them so much worse.

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      1. I had one in December and someone had rung and made a malicious call all of which I was able to prove wrong which they at the end said in there eyes seems to have been done maliciously so my advice is take as much paperwork as you can and as long as you haven’t done anything you will be fine

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  2. I’ve also received a letter of compliance. I am receiving ESa and am to go in for an interview on 3rd January, this completely ruined my Christmas and New Year as this is the THIRD time in twelve months i’ve ben accused of earning money after working for a club. All nonsense but it’s really shook me up as i suffer with anxiety and panic attacks and had a major one after the letter and had to have an ECG scan for a suspected heart tremour. I rang them and told them this and the reply was ” i can’t discus anything over the phone, we’ll talk when you get here ” Trouble is i am %80 sure i know who it is that’s victimizing me ..DISGUSTING

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  3. DWP told me that if it’s ‘within 14months ‘ they can write any such calls off as malicious. However, I still got my MP involved who took it to Damien Green, they FINIALLY closed my case, after a brief ‘ telephone interview ‘ . I too suspect which neighbour keeps doing this…police are seeing if they can access housing association files, to see if they can proceed with harrasment …! Loads of documented history with these awful people. ( see my blogs ..Hate crimes’ . Contact MP always worth it 🤞

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    1. I was called in for interview then not long after a medical which has been a month now,then this morning I got a letter saying I have to go in again.
      It says to review my benefits and circumstances WHY it’s making me ill I could end my life right now.
      It’s took me years to save to get my home right now I could loose it all ,I’rd rather be dead .

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      1. Please keep strong. You must take someone with you to witness the meeting. Take lots of notes, their name etc also. They are doing this to everyone and it’s done to intimidate you. Don’t let them beat you xxx

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  4. Well, my wife got fed up with me worrying so called and bought the interview earlier. Just out and have to say it was not as bad as I thought it would be. One really nice guy explained that an anonymous person had reported me on the internet as working. Quickly cleared up and all sorted. No recording and no hassle. The report went in the day after my sons children had a problem with a neighbour. Just spite I guess. Might be worth noting that I am permanently in a wheelchair, and because of the seizures the controls are on the back and my wife drives it. (electric wheelchair) so it really must have been spite.

    Many thanks to the owner of this site, it was really nice to have it here and know that I wasn’t the only one. I will check in often.

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  5. Can someone help im on esa and am a signatory in a community club society bank account where i,m the only signatory where the money goes in to provide benefits for the club members. I havent used any of the money in it for my personal use but I think someone reported that i was running the club and they want to interview me about it. The club account was closed in december , but i,m terrified that they may look at it as my saving account which it clearly is not the case. any help will be welcome on this.

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  6. My daughter is on income support and has attention deficit disorder. She has just received a letter telling her that the DWP will be telephoning her in Feb (on her actual birthday) to conduct a compliance interview by phone….. How ridiculous. Apart from the stress it is causing my daughter, how will the DWP know it is my daughter they are interviewing?

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  7. I am on ESA in the WRAG Group. I do Permitted Work 12 hrs a week. I was deducted Tax on two of my wage slips and was duly repaid back by HMRC through my wages. Now received a letter fto say I am to have a Review of my benefit Claim by the Local Service Compliance team, any thoughts people I cant see I have done anything wrong, my wage slips clearly show 12hrs worked a week….Im not worried I have all my paperwork ready.

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  8. I have just opened the post after coming back from holiday, and guess what? yes a compliance letter, this was for an interview for the day when I was travelling back, on the 27th Jan, now the letter has stated that my benefit will stop on the 30th Jan, have tried to ring the number but being after working hours and facing the weekend with nothing but anxiety and the runs, I have to see them on Monday the day when I have to have my next MRI scan, worried to death, what can people do!

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  9. I received a Notification of Local Servise Compliance Telephone interview letter 2 weeks ago and today they called my with unknown phone number.
    I’m only on DLA because of my serious spine problems which I had from childhood and getting wors.
    So they asked me very simple questions without asking me for any paperwork or any other prove of my identity. Although one question I found very strange which asked me for a spesific name on my household which I live with 7 strangers that we all share as other roomates do.
    Can someone tell me why they focuses on another person in the flat if lives there as well , rather than asking me more questions? Please help me I’m worried . Thanks xx

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  10. i have also just received one of these letters! funny part is so did my husband a few weeks ago he went to the appointment she lady was off sick! we don’t receive any of the benefits above so no idea why we have been called in…. The only benefit i receive is housing! I’m at a loss and really don’t understand

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  11. I had compliance interview today (Feb 2017) the DWP sent me a letter, stating I should be available between 10am and 12pm for a telephone interview. The letter stressed that I should notify them of any changes in my circumstances and I could do this before the telephone interview took place. This led me to believe that I may be guilty of not telling them of any changes to my circumstances although I was confident I was innocent before I took the phone call. I confirmed my details and was told that I was in receipt of Contributions-based ESA and I was in receipt of housing benefit, according to their records. I had to explain that I wasn’t getting housing benefit and hasn’t been for some time so she told me on the phone that she was going to change it from a Y to an N. She then said “that this is probably the shortest interview you’ll ever have” and wished me a good day. The interview finished after only about 5 minutes. So I hope this helps others if they also get a similar letter.

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  12. I have to go to a compliance interview can someone tell me if i am allowed to bring domeone to the interview with me and sny rights that i have .this is really stressing me would be gtsteful for sny help thanks

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    1. Try not to worry, easy for me to say though. Take all your documentation with you and stand firm with them. They’ve been trying this with a lot of people, then when they see that they cant mess the person around they change tactic and tell the claimant that they want to do a benefit check! You are allowed to take someone with you also, so if you can do that. They dont like it at all. Good luck xx

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  13. I just came home today to a letter to attend a local service compliance meeting, i called them to ask why i had to attend and she said to see if i was gtn the right benefits or too much or too little on my eas, i explained that i am disabled and also have bipolar, and why cant they just ask me over the phone. I am petrified now. I went bk to work in 2015 and notified the eas by fone and lucky i had my hubby, daughter and her husband there as witnessess to the fone call, but had to take early retirement a yr later due to pain and my bipolar. ME, fibromyalgia, diabeties, i then recieved a letter from hmrc to say i paid too little tax and owed them £945 which im paying bk montly. As thats my duty to do so. But my worry is that yrs ago i started work and notified dwp and was told to write a letter notifying them of starting work etc and took a photo copy off, i was then pulled in and done with fraud even tho i had documentation inc copy of letter sent to them of new changes, but this didnt matter to them, they didnt recieve the letter according to them, so i was treated like criminal. Im so worryied that this cld be the case again as i have never been called down since being on eas and lately pip, was the lady just lying that it was about wether im gtn the right amount of benefit wether it be too little or too much, i cant stop crying as dont want to go or go through all this again

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    1. Hi Diane. So sorry that you have had to go through this. You shouldn’t have had to. They are doing this to everyone at the moment it seems. I really don’t think that it is about anything else so please don’t worry. They would have said at the interview if there was another issue. Keep strong xxxxxx

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    2. Hi I have the same letter as you I was also taken to court in 2016 after a 2 year case as people can imagine I was a nervous wreck I now have this letter with a phone interview in the 28th of march I have severe depression and it’s tipping me over the edge yet again I hope all goes well for you..

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  14. Hi charlotte, i havent had a meeting yet its not til the 22nd march, the last time i got pulled in was about 2014 i think for the fraud, i cant stop thinking about it and terrified that my fiance will go mental esp if they have lied to me that its about how much or little im gtn on eas, i got told in a letter wen i was awarded eas that they would contact me in aug 17 to see if any of my conditions have changed. And then i get this letter to go down in 2wks, my fiance is taking half day holiday from work to go with me as he knows i get in a right state, so scared

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  15. Diane, they lied to me that it was ‘just a review ‘. It wasn’t . It was due to a malicious call, falsely accusing me of fraud! Contact your MP if dwp keep dragging you in. It nearly drove me over the edge last time! Second time someone has made vexatious call. Awful to experience this!

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    1. Yes they like to do this. I took a lady in that had received a letter saying review. When we got there on the top of their notes were the words benefit fraud.
      I stated that her letter had contained nothing about fraud, and i knew that this lady had not committed any fraud at all. I then went on to say that the interview was being recorded to use officially later.
      Their whole demeanour changed and they started stuttering. I said that they would not be getting their targets today and if they took this any further then this would be being taken higher, to the press and a union representative.
      No further action was taken and they haven’t received a letter since.
      Its al about intimidation and targets. Always take someone with you and record and write everything down to enable any further action. Your voice has to be louder than theirs.
      Good luck. All might be ok, but be wary and take my advice xx

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  16. I have just had a ‘compliance interview’ which when I arrived I was told an allegation had been made that my ex partner had still been living with me .. 20 months down the line from him moving out, we have 2 children together and he provides maintenance and comes to my house to see them for a few hours a couple of times a week, we’re on good terms and because of this apparently ‘he can’t be a dad’ which is ridiculous because not every single parent has a bad relationship with their ex. He’s not once slept at my house or been here longer than he should. I was basically made to chose whether my children have a father or be pushed into a relationship.. it’s completely ridiculous! He also threatened that he can watch my ex and where his car does and I just told him to go ahead, although I don’t know where I stand with what’s going to happen with my claim and everything else.

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    1. It’s very wrong that they do this but unfortunately it’s extremely common. I think their rules are that you aren’t even allowed to cook for an ex partner. This type of surveillance is completely wrong and orwelian. It’s awful and I’m so sorry that you had to go through this.

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  17. Hi guys I’ve got a compliance meeting on Tuesday I’m worried because i have bad depression and my x partner comes round after work to see me and i think there going to try and get me done for fraud he does stay sometimes but don’t live with me he’s helped me slot I’m very scared coz i don’t know what to expect

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      1. No he’s not but he always worries straight after his work he’s there in case I do somethink I haven’t been able to sleep properly since I had this letter I don’t have friends coz I’m in a new area

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  18. Hi I had a Local Compkiance Telephone Interview today. Started by confirming my identity security etc then asked if I understood benefit regulations as to claiming benefit and advising any changes. Said had received a report? Then went on to ask about my money in the bank and information they had received? This ‘information’ was the bank statements I submitted when I first made my claim. Discussed the statements and different accounts asked if I could post them direct to the officer (he would send envelope) then my claim would be adjusted to reduce my reduction in savings. Felt a little stressed as I had received this letter two weeks prior and had the time to think all sorts. Told the truth about my curucumstances and now wait for the envelope. Do have to say at the beginning of the call reminded me about living with someone etc and the need to report this. As I am not living with anyone and have no intention to do so I just listened and said ok.

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  19. I had a telephone interview….had to supply them with 3 months of bank statements. I had no objection to that as I’ve nothing to hide, in fact I told the lady, “good luck with trying to sort that out because I can’t”, I am constantly having direct debits returned. She asked me about my property maintenance work that I used to do, I said I’ve not done any of that for years because of my illnesses. I have cyclothymia, bad back, neck and osteo arthritis in my knees. Not sure how they would expect me to work with that lot!

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  20. I have a telephone compliance interview on the 19th after reading all these horror stories I’m mortified.. I had an office interview last year and was accused if my ex living with me.. he owns is own house and lives there.. is this what’s happening again!!!!

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  21. just got letter today i know who stirring trouble my mum died feb 19 my 2 sisters had nothing to do with mum for 20yrs as soon as mum died sisters asking where mums money gone i must ave had it what a joke i have cancer had lung removed one kidney taken a tumour removed and one frozen and still dealing with the big C also have crohn’s but they still think its okay to be evil bitches and report me for having thousands in the bank as i’ve done nothing wrong i’m not worried what goes around comes around at moment i got £2.50 in bank

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  22. I work and don’t claim any of them benefits? I received a letter. Any ideas why? I get working and child tax credits and some housing benefit.

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    1. I work to and only get a small amount of working tax credit had to ring them to make the telephone interview for after I finish work

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  23. I had my telephone local customer compliance interview yesterday, someone (i know exactly who) had reported that my boyfriend was staying in my home every night (not true!).
    She asked me if i knew him which i said yes he is my boyfriend, but we only see each other on a weekend. Asked how long we had been together (7 month roughly) and if we had any plans for the future, which we don’t yet we have far too much going on separately!
    Told her i knew exactly who would have reported me, told her about the person, and she said “oh dear”.
    Anyway she obviously read everything out to me and said she would update the system, then asked if i was okay to ‘sign’ the statement which i agreed to because everything i said was true.
    I asked her what happened about the allegation now and she said “nothing really, we just obviously have to do these checks when we get reports of allegations”
    Thanked me for my time and that was that.
    Am i being stupid in worrying more will come of it or is that usual procedure?
    I suffer from depression and anxiety as it is and all this is tipping me over the edge
    Any help at all will be appreciated.

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  24. I’ve received one of these letters too.
    It’s been worrying me all day! I phoned the number and I asked the man what should I bring he said “Just something to prove who you are” I asked if my bank statement of my savings account and my passport is enough and he said yes as long as it has an address on.
    I’m wondering why I’ve got one of these? I’m single, 23, live with my parents… so no partner or children around. So can anyone tell me why I would have to go for one? Ive not read about someone single with no kids getting one?? I’m really worried.!

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