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Past savings and current ESA claim - possible mistake?


johnym
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Hi Just looking for some advice for a friend.

 

A friend has just received a letter to attend a compliance interview and she's worried big style - its NOT an interview under caution.

 

Four years ago she received some inheritance that took her close to the £16000 mark but not over, she was on incapacity benefit at the time and she was told the savings would not affect her benefits - pretty much all of the money was spent on adapting her home.

 

She was moved to ESA last year and then onto income based ESA a few moths back and her savings have been pretty much zero since 2011. The Job Centre now want her to provide bank statements for the short period she had the inheritance in her account four years ago.

 

She has spoken to welfare rights and they didn't know why she would be pulled in for that as the benefits she was receiving were not means tested at the time. They suggested that she may have been on some smaller component that was means tested but she has every letter ever sent to her regarding benefits and she has never been on anything that was means tested. Other than that it could be a mistake on their part.

 

Has anyone else been through a similar situation?

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Its probably been caused by what is known as an HBMS data match. HMRC tax records (interest paid on the account) is matched against benefit recipeients, and the match is then highlighted. Some of the data does not always match that accurately (although a lot does) so this may be why she is getting called in to clarify the data match.

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A friend has just received a letter to attend a compliance interview and she's worried big style - its NOT an interview under caution.

 

Four years ago she received some inheritance that took her close to the £16000 mark but not over, [...] pretty much all of the money was spent on adapting her home.

 

The Job Centre now want her to provide bank statements for the short period she had the inheritance in her account four years ago.?

 

A compliance interview is usually nothing to worry about - Often these things are just random appointments to confirm circumstances have not changed. In your friends case, it is just possible the DWP wish to verify that the inheritance was not disposed of just to claim benefits (known as "deprivation of capital"). I would suggest taking bank statements covering the period in question and documentation to show that money was spent on home improvements/adaptations - Builder's quotes, bills, etc.

 

This is not always possible as a lot of people do not hoard paperwork.

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Hi, Thanks for the replies!

 

Apparently when my friend phoned up and enquired what the interview was about she was told something about a match between two databases regarding her savings so bio might be onto something. She has the statements for period in question but no paperwork for the improvements made to her home, she has some invoices but they could be for anything as they lack pretty much any detail and are all (badly) hand written.

 

To me it does look slightly suspicious if I didn't know the full picture, £8000 being withdrawn over a 8 week period and a further £5000 in dribs and drabs the following year but what I fail to see how this would matter seeing as her benefits at the time were not means tested. I was told she did enquire before the money was paid out and was told it would have no impact on what she received in benefits but this is obviously not the case. She has told its nothing to worry about but she might have been overpaid during the time she had the money and might have to pay it back.

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She has the statements for period in question but no paperwork for the improvements made to her home

 

If I may make a suggestion: Do not refer to home "improvements". Use "adaptations" instead - The former suggests superficial or cosmetic changes, whilst the latter implies necessity to improve quality of life.

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Hi, thanks for all the responses. I was waiting to update this until the interview happened. I was there on Friday with my friend and it was more or less a Joke. The interviewer didn't know what he was doing basically. Apparently because she is now on a means tested benefit she was flagged.

 

He actually didn't know that IB was not means tested - he thought it was but couldn't be bothered to find out (his actual words) from what I understand incapacity benefit was never means tested at all and we've confirmed that during the time she had her savings she was on IB and the period he was really interested in was towards the latter end of her having the money with less than 6k in savings. The interview was pointless in my eyes, days of waiting and worry for 30mins of pure BS. He took copies of some of the statements and that was it, it goes off to a decision maker and can take upto 9 weeks.

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He actually didn't know that IB was not means tested - he thought it was but couldn't be bothered to find out (his actual words).

 

At which point, it might have been prudent to suggest that he should be bothered to find out as a core part of doing his job properly - Certainly worth sending a note to higher management and suggest that this individual is in need of further training to fill in the gaps in his knowledge.

 

It would appear that this "compliance interview" was nothing more that an exercise in stressing out your friend - Hopefully the DM will respond quickly and say "nothing to worry about" - From what you've said, this is the most likely outcome.

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