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Customer Compliance Officer home visit next week. Help please.


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Here's the first thing to remember: if they really thought you were up to something, fraud or whatever, there is a separate Fraud section that would be investigating. The most common reason for this type of compliance visit is that they have received a tipoff and they don't really think there's any problem. It's just that they have to look into it.

 

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Is this visit more likely to be because someone has said something rather than just a random check up?

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Is this visit more likely to be because someone has said something rather than just a random check up?

 

Hard to tell but I wouldn't rule your neighbours out.... considering you know one of them's a trouble-maker. The Compliance person will tell you anyway...

 

:-)

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Hard to tell but I wouldn't rule your neighbours out.... considering you know one of them's a trouble-maker. The Compliance person will tell you anyway...

 

:-)

 

 

I have always kept myself to myself and no-one knows about my life.

 

This has upset me physically as well as mentally. I'm in complete mess over this. :sad:

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I think you have nothing to worry about Matchgirl, so please stop worrying, There seems to be a lot of these visits at the moment.

If you have been on benefit for some while then a review has to be done anyway, just to check that everything is correct on the case.

There may have been some sort of accusation but as Antone as said if they suspected anything then they wouldnt visit first.

Please stop worrying sometimes the visit may result in finding you could be entitled to more benefit. Why havent you claimed DLA, you may be entitled to this.

Have you notified them your son is at University, he make still be on your claim as some one in your household, this may effect your mortgage, ie if they think he is there then he could help with the mortgage, make sure they know he is at University then this should put this one to bed.

Just because he has stuff in the bathroom doesnt mean he lives there, you can give full details to where he does live.

I dont think they will be there long, have you a friend who could be there with you.

I am sure you will be fine, there are jealous spiteful people out there but you have done nothing wrong and if any accusations have been made then yes compliance check them out, unfortunately they have to, but they will find these accusations to be unfounded and you will be ok.

 

If you have never had a review of your claim before then you must be due one now, so I would say this is probably it now.

Good luck and I hope it goes well for you

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Is this visit more likely to be because someone has said something rather than just a random check up?

 

It could be either, but they should tell you when they visit. The point is that it doesn't seem that they actually have any reason to suspect fraud. Either it's a random check, or they're following up a tip that they aren't really taking seriously but are bound to investigate.

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They are paying the mortgage interest on the house and now my son is at university it is only me in a three bedroom house.Can they force you to sell your home?

They cannot force you to sell your home,but i,m afraid the government has reduced the mortgage interest they pay,and subsequently many people are being forced to sell their homes,including many disabled people

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a very good point , a LA sent a verification / compliance officer lady round to a friend of mine's house 2 + years ago , she had a private house bought as a cash sale - No chain . Her family bought the house , she eventually sold her flat on which she'd paid the mortgage up , the proceeds minus Estate Agents , Solicitors , refurbishment to get a price etc .

 

The problem was it's at the scruffy end of a road on a Council Estate and being single and a house owner made her stand out like a sore thumb . You're qute right Honeybee - you have to think how they think .

 

The arrangement was that if her elderly relatives died she'd get money in a will minus the bridging loans etc , She would have prefered to pay it off as a very proud person to a fault . So she saved up the money whilst working and put in a high interest account .

 

The Verification Officer came round , she might have asked her for ID ...with DCA's posing as govt officials and that house having a " history " and common sense security ...the VO may not have liked it .

 

She had arrange a appointment by phone ....and got the files together with all the statement's on but still had to go rooting through the files to present the necessary .

 

When these people from the DWP / LA's come round they look round like a hawk - they're looking for tell tale signs , if it's a divorced mum they're looking for evidence of a bloke , they're also looking round for anything new , evidence of someone working or the bloke if he was there having bought things .

 

They also ask trick leading questions too to try and trip people up , " What have you got planned today ? " for instance ....don't get me wrong , they can be very pleasant but they've more faces than a town hall clock ! ...so beware , they know someone will be defensive as they think they're being tarred with the " Shameless Generation " brush so the answer would be to say nicely - " I occupy myself " but don't go into too much detail . To be fair it's their job and someone has to do it .

 

This Verification Officer was " coincidentally " going on about her mortgage with her BF and " coincidentally " she'd paid her's off and bought relatively cheaply . This is 2008 , houses have been a third to half overvalued , credit was pretty easy .

 

Move forward two years later , the letter comes for a IUC , reason fraud , she wonder if the Shameless Generation near to her had shopped her , she wouldn't put it past them to divert attention from themselves and settle scores for standing up to them and calling their bluff .

 

There's two Council Fraud Officers , the junior one is the verification officer from two years or so back . She asked for Initial Disclosure which is always inadequate - a solicitor can get some more , they'll barely tolerate a solicitor as long as he / she gets the interviewee to play a long with their game but that's it - offence failure to disclose bank account - The Official line parroted out was they'd orders from Government to do data matching exercises for ALL CTB claimants ....the computer said yes - 'nothing personal fraid you just got caught " - it's not that simple , that would be too 1984 and you need to have good reason to suspect fraud to get a private credit agency to go snooping .

 

She said she would seek legal advice as the matter was sub judice . We both started digging on t'internet , checking this invaluable forum's threads , Rights Net , Yahoo answers , Rights Net , Message Boards etc ....Google is everyone's best mate ......their game is you're on their patch and you don't know the rules of the game so you better find out quick what they are .

 

She took legal advice and they advised a written statement . Before she went into the interrogation room , she made a offer to refund CTB overpaid & asked to withdraw her claim and this was stated on her statement , she also made it quite plain why she didn't trust IUC Fraud Officers - they're out to secure prosecutions by fair and foul means , she also stated mitigating circumstances and domestic problems etc ....i.e. non intent and put a apology on too .

 

There was a atmosphere with the Junior Fraud Officer but they're very professional and the Senior Large one was sniffy - " Your Benefit has been stopped as of now " as she put failure to suspend benefit ....obviously she didn't like her bluff being called .

 

She was told that if the Council took action she would be told in three weeks . The Council's web site says you will be informed in writing if action is taken . She also made sure she had a witness too in case they tried to deny anything .

 

She got the bill and paid up every penny ......5 months later down the line ....a summons arrived with four days notice of the Court appearance and the witness statement ....the junior Fraud Officer said she visited her as a Verification Officer and only let her in reluctantly ....to infer she was being shifty and acting suspicously and only cooperated reluctantly ....the link to the rest of the statement is tenous , vague and obscure .

 

Also it's not really a statement as such , they're required answers to set questions , it begs the question as to what are the questions and what is the motivation / agenda to them . You can tell , the statement is too stilted , there's no context to the questions , the statement sounds a bit too abrupt and lacks fluency / not quite coherent .

 

The question begged is if she did act suspiciously , why did they not investigate her then ? - they have criterias risk factors ...single , social or private etc which or may not point to something else . If the Verification Officer then thought she was suspicious ...she can't just launch investigation and have her bank details snooped into . So what she's said is a self justification exercise and she's obviously fishing for brownie points to justify her secondment / promotion whatever !

 

She didn't mention offering to pay and withdraw .....basically what they do is wilfully misrepresent people to mislead the Magistrates / The Judge to increase punishment as you were supposedly uncooperative and evasive ...the kindest thing you can say is that there's pressure . It's too one sided ....a fit up basically - where they've gone wrong is to lay it on too thick and they appear to be spiteful and vindictive .

 

More fool them ! - they didn't like her statement as it had too many home truths in it that don't tally with the official line so they've closed ranks on her to teach her a lesson to button up her mouth ? so the tactic is to call their bluff ....if they're frightened of a " loose canon " doing something , she's going to do it - Stand up to them ! and show she won't be bullied and pushed around - two wrongs do not make a right ?

 

 

 

The other tactic is to draw inferences to weaken the accused case . It begs the questions are these Fraud Officers - investigators or Cross Examining Prosecuting Solicitors ? & are these IUC's a interogation or a trial ? .....I'm not sure if it's their job ....The other mistake they make is to play judge , jury & executioner , they lack consistency , they're too judgemental and put a too black and white structure on things .

 

If you're being interviewed in a Police Station , a Solicitor can sit on the case , advise and interject , that can't be done at a DWP / LA IUC ....the new caution is too ambigious in any case so you're badly advised ....it's debateable whether these IUC's are admissable ....you're definitely outgunned with the Nice Cop / Nasty Cop act and there is a distinct lack of options . A statement is better than a traumatic acrimonious IUC for all concerned ? .

 

It's still cooperation ? - In the Broadest sense Prosecutions fit in the Public Interest as they are funds that could have been appropriated elsewhere ....but if there is no admittance of intent , no disclosure , a offer was made , a refund was done , an apology has been made , the LA has failed to follow it's own procedure and the accused's health suffered ....it was not necessarily in the public interest ?

 

So the tactic is to attack , contradict and challenge the witness statement saying it's full of holes & contradictions , begging more questions than answers and they should be dismissed as unreliable and unconvincing . The Prosecution Solicitor will attack her mitigating circumstances , she will stand up to him and state it's your offficers that are iffy and there's too much politics here .

Edited by Bustard
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Thank you everyone for your kind words. It's hard not to worry. I suppose I've lost confidence since my divorce although that was many years ago.

They should be aware my son it at university. Tax credits and child benefit stopped a few years ago and he has the Council Tax exemption certificate from the University. (I'll get that out to show them). I never actually contacted them directly at the time.

I don't know anything about DLA.

Unfortunately I will be on my own.

 

A feeling slightly better Matchgirl.

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they may pull you for failing to inform of change of circumstances but you can say you didn't do so wilfully or knowingly

 

....unfortunately there's too much hysteria and villification of anybody on benefits whipped up in the likes of The Sun & Daily Mail . The Sun stated that prosecutions dropped by 11 % under New Labour so there's a lot of pressure to get people in the dock in front of the beak or the judge . The question begged if they've a IUC system that is designed to secure prosecutions , why isn't there so many convictions ? , are cases railroaded through too weak ? , are prosecutions being successfully defended ? , is it the fault of the Court's system and out of the DWP / LA's control ? ....and there's a blame game ?

 

Fraud is Fraud ...if you get caught , you take your punishment simple as , However the same people pontificating on about it , have had cash jobs done on their houses and gardens , one book for me ; one for the Revenue with the tradesmen , Corporate Fraud , " Creative " accounting , Tax Avoidance , Expense Fiddling MP's with house flipping and Duck Houses telling everyone else how they should be .

 

Half of these Magistrates Businesses aren't exactly whiter than white either . Morality is relative . The ironic thing with some of these Fraud Officers is that they miss what is right under their noses because of their small mindedness ....however they have to tread carefully not offend Liberal sensibilties and not open cans of worms . They do go for soft touchs ...that is for sure .

 

Councils have made £200 Million in Court Costs - extra Council Tax by the back door - People are not there to get Councils and their staff Brownie Points and are not there for their benefit and their corrupt system .

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if you haven't claimed anything - they can't pull you for anything , there was no attempt to scare - she felt she should help some other poor beggars that have been put through the mill so wished to educate and inform

 

, if they want to be overzealous and go on wild goose chases - that's their lookout , hopefully common sense will prevail ....the problem is that it goes out of window judging by people's accounts on here

Edited by Bustard
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They overpaid me child tax credits which I pay back each month for twelve months. Their mistake just sent a letter and a payment plan. No problems there.

 

I don't have many visitors to my home and that makes me anxious. It's my space and the only thing I saved from my marriage, the family home. It's where I feel safe and I don't like the idea of a stranger coming into my home and maybe wanting to look round. I feel vulnerable.

 

This worrying me as I don't know why they are coming. All sorts is going through my head.

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Thank you everyone for your kind words. It's hard not to worry. I suppose I've lost confidence since my divorce although that was many years ago.

They should be aware my son it at university. Tax credits and child benefit stopped a few years ago and he has the Council Tax exemption certificate from the University. (I'll get that out to show them). I never actually contacted them directly at the time.

I don't know anything about DLA.

Unfortunately I will be on my own.

 

A feeling slightly better Matchgirl.

 

it could be indeed they think your son still lives with you, even if CHB and CTC stop I.S is not normally notified of this, just ring and tell them he is at University or wait for the visit.

You have the evidence to prove where he lives now.

I think you are worrying over nothing, the above doesnt effect your claim anyway except for the mortgage, but if he is not there then it doesnt even effect that.

 

They can not make you sell your house, its sad some people are because the help given with the interest rate has dropped and people are struggling, but if

you are managing to pay the shortfall, then why should you sell your house.

DLA is Disability Living Allowance, its a seperate benefit giving to help people who need extra care

 

Again I think its just a check on your claim, everybody has these reviews some get sent forms A2s, some get a visit, a few in our office are getting phone calls

 

Link for DLA

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011731

 

When is the visit?, I would say put it out of your mind now, keep busy it will come and go, and you will post on here things went well

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I have just signed the new Electoral form and he is on there, so could be. Although he has been on there since he was eighteen.

 

Are there any questions I need to ask them?

 

Will they try and trip me up to make me waffle?

 

What will they be looking to see in my house?

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I think they will visit, confirm their identity, check your claim with you and then if they have any questions to ask you they will.

 

I would answer their questions when asked just as clearly and concisely as you can, they will not try to make you waffle, you have nothing to hide so dont be afraid to answer.

Let them ask their questions, They will compile a statement, this briefly states your name, address NINO etc, and they will write down in it any changes that you may declare, eg you son has left home. They will ask you to sign it at the end.

 

Then I would ask your questions if any. They are there to see you not your house ;)

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I understand it could just be routine but I also have on my mind the vindictive neighbour.

 

It would be so much nicer if the would just send a letter saying we need to review/update your claim. The letter as it is worded now sends all kind of worries into your head.

 

I do feel better having posted here, I've had some good advice and reassuring comments. Only a couple of days to wait.

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The problem with some of these Officers from LA's or the DWP , is not that they're necessary evil ....that's childish , they're just attack dogs set on people ....it's the puppets and the puppetmaster ? ....the managers are where they are as they know how to manipulate & control these people . They in turn are just the hired hands and the orders ultimately come from the DWP , the Politicians and Whitehall .....the bigger picture .

 

Pressure full stop ! ....not necessarily personal .

 

Some of these people take things too personally & their job too seriously , and they're too embroiled in the system with the politics , with or without a small " p " - It's only a job at the end of the day , a necessary nasty one at that but they're not curing cancer or splitting the atom ? - in short it's basically immaturity ...maybe poor training and bad leadership / supervison too .

 

Some of these rogue officers can operate in such a way , i.e . saying " We will get you ! " which is illegal under P.A.C.E. as they know their managers are terrified of a Harassment & Bullying charge and breaking ranks giving them problems - In other words the chain of command gets weaker up the food chain . You've arguably got a management system that spends more time running itself then actually dealing with fraud and some Empire Builders of the worse kind that have to be fed with what they wish to hear and far , far too much politics .

 

Some Middle Managers - the British Disease , also feel safer setting these over zealous officers on people .

 

If you can't manage things properly - you play politics ....that's a cop out ? ....better to get down to brass tacks of simple right or wrong not to overcomplicate things with all this handwringing and blame culture and the right arm not knowing what the left elbow is doing .

 

The older system was relatively benign , there's no discretion & flexibility anymore with this regimented top down system , some of the more Senior staff knew they could have someone in a Office - shout at them , read them the riot act , give them the gypsies warning i.e. " don't think you're cleverer than us sonny / young lady - we've been around too long " and they knew that the person probably wouldn't give them a problem again AND importantly there was some trust and they knew they could appeal to people's better natures .

 

In short good actual management rather than managers that can't or don't manage .

 

The idea of discipline / authority is to both prevent and make sure someone doesn't do it again ....NOT settle petty vendettas and play petty politics ....if they were naughty again , they'd been given enough rope to hang themselves ....a longer end game rather than we want Mrs or Mr Bloggs in court ASAP to score points .

 

NOW the idea is zero tolerance due to orders from on high , everybody is either a criminal from the outset at the worst or potential criminal at best and they're all playing games & taking the rise ?

 

In short moral panic - History tells us if we don't rise above it , the seething seeds of injustice are sown .

Edited by Bustard
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I think they will visit, confirm their identity, check your claim with you and then if they have any questions to ask you they will.

 

I would answer their questions when asked just as clearly and concisely as you can, they will not try to make you waffle, you have nothing to hide so dont be afraid to answer.

Let them ask their questions, They will compile a statement, this briefly states your name, address NINO etc, and they will write down in it any changes that you may declare, eg you son has left home. They will ask you to sign it at the end.

 

Then I would ask your questions if any. They are there to see you not your house ;)

 

I have read through all the posts again. I am as prepared as I can be till they tell me the nature of their visit.

 

Any more help is very welcome.

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Compliance have to send a letter before they visit, they only visit on the day specified in that letter and at the given time they do not watch your house prior to that visit.

There is no specific time period for a review, well not that I know anyway.

Sometimes a review is postal, a visit or a phone call.

 

In a few days this will have been and gone and you can then get on with your life again,

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Please stop worrying.... No they cannot force you to sell your home.

 

 

 

Compliance visits are sometimes linked to unsubstantiated anonymous reports, yes.... but where the evidence they've been given is not enough to pass over to the Fraud Dept. So if anyone has tried to drop you in it so to speak, they've been too vague for DWP to do anything with the info. and are coming out to see you instead. DWP have to do this whenever a report is received... whether it's true or malicious.... and they are very used to malicious reporting.

 

:-)

 

Just had my visit and it turns out to be 'someone had made an accusation' and they are obliged to check it out. So we just went through the allegation and how unsubstantiated it was, I signed the bottom of the form and that is it. They said the case ends here and to continue as I am.

 

I would love to say something to the neighbour but as they don't know anything about my financial affairs, I won't give them the satisfaction in enlightening them of the visit and obviously my source of my income. Data protection doesn't allow them to call DWP and ask if anything has been done so my lips too are sealed.

 

Thank you for all the support here Now I can sleep soundly in my bed tonight without a care in the world, well not without a care, there is always something to cause a little concern. :wink:

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Just had my visit and it turns out to be 'someone had made an accusation' and they are obliged to check it out. So we just went through the allegation and how unsubstantiated it was, I signed the bottom of the form and that is it. They said the case ends here and to continue as I am.

 

I would love to say something to the neighbour but as they don't know anything about my financial affairs, I won't give them the satisfaction in enlightening them of the visit and obviously my source of my income. Data protection doesn't allow them to call DWP and ask if anything has been done so my lips too are sealed.

 

Thank you for all the support here Now I can sleep soundly in my bed tonight without a care in the world, well not without a care, there is always something to cause a little concern. :wink:

 

These things are usually fuelled by a twisted kind of jealousy.... or, neighbours wanting to know the ins and outs of your life and making them up when they can't find out from you. So called "friends" and neighbours are the worst.... :mad2:

 

You'll get some idea of who it was as time goes on because their manner gives them away... but being happy and getting on with your life really winds them up bigtime. Such silly people.... :roll:

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The best thing about a mallicious allegation - when you know the originator of the allegation - is staying tight lipped, knowing they'll be driving themselves crazy wondering what became of their "report".

 

Let me tell you a story of someone I assisted a few years ago. She'd had quite a few compliance checks and after the latest one, wanted full disclosure of her claim. We did a SAR, and oh how we giggled when we got the results through. She had expected the local curtain twitcher had been the one behind the allegations.

 

Anyway we were looking through the documents, and there had been a phone call made shortly after the compliance visit, the converation was documented on a form. The reporting person had asked when the DWP were going to "do something about this scrounger fiddling her claim", and stated that she had a new allegation to make. The new allegation was that the woman had a non declared partner. She had stated that she'd seen the man before on several occasions and said that the man went into the house on a specified date at around 2pm. She saw him leaving the address the following morning at 10:00am, and they were "all stood at the door laughing and having a great time by the looks of things". She went on to say that she bets they were laughing at the likes of her, paying tax to support them - basically ranting and raving. She even gave the registration number of the car which had been parked at the property on the morning the man left.

 

We laughed because the compliance officer (who happened to be a man) had called at 2pm on the date she'd given. After he'd left she had gone to put the child down for a nap but couldn't find her child's ted ("ted" was a miniture teddy who would fit in the palm of your hand. The child wouldn't sleep without it). The child promptly told her that ted was in "man's coat" - you know, that stage when kids go through stuffing just about anything they can find into people's pockets, handbags ect. She phoned the office - desperate as the child would not sleep without it - and was advised that the complicance officer was out of the office all day but they'd get a message to him in the morning when he was back. They poor guy had found the teddy but had been on so many visits that day he hadn't a clue who it belonged to. After he got the message the following morning, he went back round to her home on his way to another visit and dropped it off. Of course the woman was so pleased to see ted, as was the child so they were all stood at the doorway, all smiles, laughing and joking. I suppose it did look like a happy family setup to the unknown eye. But amazingly, it also closed the case tight shut because then they knew that they reporting person had been mallicious all along. She'd reported the compliance officer to be the partner of the woman! It was him she'd seen going into the house that day and him she saw at the door the next morning and it was also likely his car reg she'd given. She had seen him before at the property right enough - he was there doing other compliance visits for reports that she'd malliciously made.

 

I laughed for ages with that one.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

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