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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Jo, I've just received a letter from the DWP fraud and error

Customer Question

Hello Jo,
I've just received a letter from the DWP fraud and error team stating that I am being investigated for benefit fraud and have to attend an interview under caution. Whilst they have given me no more information I can more or less guarantee that this will relate to my ESA and DLA claim. It seems too coincidental that I have noticed surveillance cars in my local area over the past few weeks. This all started a year ago after husband had an affair with one of our friends and subsequently her husband threatened us with various things, one of these was that he would report me for benefit fraud. After he did this, I was called in for a compliance interview at which I gave the facts of my condition and was told that no further action would be taken but that if any more information came to light then it would be investigated.
So at this time I am not sure as to whether he has made a complaint again or if this is just a follow on from the interview last year.
My situation with regards ***** ***** is this:
Since an accident at work led me to be medically retired in 1996 I have been claiming non means tested benefits- these are currently ESA, IIB and I get the higher rate of the mobility and lower rate of the DLA which was given for an indefinite period in 2008.
I had extensive spinal surgery which left me in chronic pain and has directly caused fecal/urinary incontinence and fertility problems and this has led to severe anxiety and depression. My condition varies- I can be in bed for weeks at a time of I can be feeling much better and at these times I try my hardest to get out, exercise and basically live!
I am currently completing a degree which because of my condition has took much longer than expected- I have medical evidence supporting me through the years of study that show how severely my illness affected my studies.
I was very active before my accident, infact the most important aspects in my life were all activity based, this included running, cycling, skiing, mountain hiking and other similar pursuits. All this stopped after my accident but I have always tried to get back some fitness whenever I have 'good days'. This means that I don't sit around in the house all day and be disabled. I'm thinking that the DWP have been filming me on these good days and that I have done things (the only things I can think of in the past few months would be to occasionally walk the dog, possibly carry shopping and one day help with a bag of soil and then also visit the gym a few times) that are not what someone on DLA should be able to do. However In 2008 when I filled my DLA forms in I definitely stipulated that my condition varied and that I tried to exercise and get myself going whenever I could. I explained that I was filling the form in as though it was a bad day but that infact I could have periods where my mobility and pain would be much better.
I cannot see how I could have let them know that my condition has changed as to me it certainly has not- I am currently being treated for severe depression with suicidal feelings as I have been unable to have IVF due to my condition. I am 43 and this was my last chance to start a family.
I received the letter yesterday from the DWP fraud department and am now in a complete panic! Can you please give me any advise as to how you view my situation?
Kind regards,
Kerry Swarbrick
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.
Sorry for the delay. How can I help with this please?

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