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TOPIC: Identity theft?

Identity theft? 6 years 10 months ago #13312

Hello, first post here but bit of a crisis one!

My partner claims incapacity benefit and income support and has been doing so for a long time unfortunately. Last week he wasn't paid on the usual day and two days later received a letter informing him his IS had been stopped as he was in prison and had been so since October.

Since this clearly wasn't the case he called the number on the letter but it was a Saturday so no answer. However he called the benefit enquiry line and was told that this could either be identity fraud or a mistyping of information.

When he spoke to someone in the correct office today he was informed that all his information regarding the claim has been wiped and that, while it could be sorted out, he would have to submit a new claim and was also likely to receive a fine for prescriptions he'd claimed on IS in the meantime.

Since he is not well, and none of this is his fault, I am concerned that his IB claim will also be affected and that he will be out of pocket for however much the fine is, as well as probably having to deal with getting claims form and filling them in again and the stress that always entails.

All this and, of course, he has no money. For some reason, he received no payment at all even though the letter informed him just the IS was being stopped.

He was told on the phone that someone should call him back within the next few hours but I wondered if anyone could give any advice on whether the onus should be on him to deal with this and its consequences or whether it should be the DWP who rectify the mistakes that have been made through them?

Many thanks
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Re:Identity theft? 6 years 10 months ago #13314

Hi Michelle,

Your partner really does need to get specific advice about this from an advice agency.

It seems extraordinarily unlikely that all your partner's data has been deliberately wiped. Whether deliberate or accidental any such destruction of data would be a gross breach of the data protection act - the data will be required by your partner to demonstrate his continuing entitlement.

You also need to get advice about appealing the decision to stop your partner's income support, which may be the logical next step.

The issue of fines would only be relevant if it was the case that your partner had not been entitled to IS.

I would also strongly consider making a formal complaint about this matter, copying it to your MP and making sure the DWP know your MP is involved.

But above all, seek advice.

Good luck,

Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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Re:Identity theft? 6 years 10 months ago #13315

Thanks so much for the reply, Steve.

I also thought it odd that his data relating to the claim was wiped but he was told this was what they do when they sign off on a case. He was also told that he'd had an interview from a team from the DWP but obviously this has not happened. I think the DWP believed they had investigated the matter fully and so it was 'case closed'.

The implication from the person he spoke to was that as he was not claiming IS when he claimed for the prescriptions (although he did not know this!) then he would be asked to pay a fine, although it was not stated whether he would have to do so, or whether the DWP would sort this out. I get the impression that they would not, although I do not know for sure.

I will try and get him to get some advice though - I take it the CAB are a good place to start.

Thanks again for your help,

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Re:Identity theft? 6 years 10 months ago #13354

Just to add to what Steve said, when I had a problem with my benefits, I got my MP's help (as Steve has suggested you do) and the correspondance showed that there was a specific team dealing with MP correspondance, which suggests that they give priority to it.
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Re:Identity theft? 6 years 10 months ago #13487

An update - my partner received a phone call on the same day from another office in the DWP who were very apologetic and said they'd do everything they could to get his benefit reinstated without him having to reclaim it. This seems to have gone through fine (although they've taken the opportunity to transfer him from weekly payments to two weekly payments with no notice).

He is still unsure whether he has now been left with a police record as he couldn't get any answer to the question as to how far the mistake had gone. He was told someone with the same name, date of birth, year of birth and who came from the same area to him had caused the mix-up but we do not know if it was intentional or otherwise.

A letter from the DWP gave no clue to this, or an apology. So he will very likely have to go to the CAB to discover if he has a police record and if so, how he can get it removed.
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