If you're being harassed by ”fraud” squad bullies from the Department of Work and Pensions or the Council – don't stand for it....
Don't speak to them alone...
Don't let them into your house...
Don't sign anything without first getting advice...
Get in touch with Edinburgh Claimants and ECAP at our tuesday advice session
If benefits snoopers turn up at your door, don't let them in and don't speak to them – they have no legal power to force entry to your home
Never talk to them on your own – always take a friend or adviser with you to any interview
Don't allow them to tape-record any interview
Never sign anything without first getting advice from an experienced adviser
Don't stop your claim without first getting advice from an experienced adviser
Make an official complaint if you are being harassed
DON'T GRASS ON YOUR OWN CLASS
THE RICH AND THE POLITICIANS ARE THE REAL CRIMINALS
Politicians make fraudulent expenses claims and an army of accountants help big corporations and multimillionaires pay little or no tax. But claimants struggling to get by are being threatened by the governments disgusting "anti fraud" propaganda campaign. We say the rich are the real criminals - they have stolen the world and its resources from the majority of us.
If you are called into an interview with fraud investigators, NEVER go alone. It is essential you have someone there to support and advise you. There will almost certainly be two fraud investigators present, so you don't want to be outnumbered! You have an absolute right to be accompanied, we have done this dozens of times, it is a normal procedure.
Ask the investigators names, and write them down, The accompanying person should take pen and paper to make notes.
They will tell you that the interview is to be tape-recorded. We strongly advise that you tell them you do NOT want the interview recorded. This is because it is in your interest to completely control what you tell them. The fraud investigators are trained at interrogations and will question you closely, asking the same question in different ways, they will try and get you to admit you have done wrong, and that you knew you were doing wrong. If the interview is recorded, then if they catch you out or pressurise you into an admission, it will all be down on tape.
You have an absolute right not to have the interview tape recorded. We have been present at several interviews and have insisted on this, they just have to accept it.
If the interview is not recorded, then they will write down all the questions and answers, then at the end of the interview they will ask you to sign to verify all the answers they have taken down. You don't need to sign this. It is almost always better to just write you own short statement, and give them that. Again, if you want to do this, there is nothing they can do to prevent this. We have accompanied claimants who have done just this. They will make out that it will cause you problems but they are just trying to get more evidence to use against you.
It is often very difficult for them to prove fraud, so they are trying to get you to admit your guilt. Often, without a confession, they will be unable to do prosecute you, and may not even be able to stop your benefits, as there is no real evidence. And of course often the accusations are groundless anyway.
At any point during the interview you can ask for the interview to be stopped, so you can consult with your adviser in private. If they are harassing you, leave the interview and inform them you are going to make an official complaint. When we last did this, they then dropped the whole investigation.
Many, probably most, fraud interviews are conducted " under caution ", this is standard procedure, but if it is an interview under caution it is even more essential you go accompanied and follow the advice above.
If you are being investigated, try not to worry too much, the vast majority of cases do not result in prosecution. We have supported people in several fraud investigations and almost always they have ended without prosecution, sometimes without even any repayments.
The Child Poverty Action Group's Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook has more info on how fraud investigations work, you can consult it at ACE, or it should be available via the library.
There appears to be increasing exchange of information between the Inland Revenue and the DWP. Thus if you have savings on which you pay interest, and these savings are above the level allowed for benefits, it is possible the DWP will find out. It is probably less likely it will come to light if the savings are spread over several accounts. Using different variations of your name on the accounts, eg different middle names, may also make the savings less likely to be discovered.
Similarly if you work through the books for any length of time, giving your national insurance number, and at the same time claim benefits which are not permitted, it is almost certain that this will, sooner or later, come to the attention of the DWP. On the other hand it is not easy for them to uncover cash in hand work, unless someone grasses you up, and even then they probably won't have proof.
RESISTANCE TO THE DOLE SNOOPS
We welcome all resistance to these bullies. In the past people have got together, photographed the snoopers, and driven them off.
Your benefits may be suspended while you are being investigated for alleged fraud. If this happens, get advice. You can press for your benefits to be reinstated. If your benefits are disallowed and stopped, get advice. You can make a fresh claim. Benefit should be paid regardless of past circumstances, as long as you are entitled now.
THE GOLDEN RULE
THOSE THAT HAVE THE GOLD, MAKE THE RULES
While a small minority live in luxury, the economic crisis means yet more insecurity and poverty for the majority. For the increasing numbers of unemployed and many others on benefits it is a stark choice. Either we find some way of getting a bit of extra money or we suffer real hardship.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with claimants breaking the benefit laws to get money needed to survive. The rich have stolen the whole bakery - then they complain because the poor take back a few crumbs.
The whole system is unfair. The campaign against so-called "benefit cheats" is an attempt to divide us and divert attention from the real questions....Why should a small minority monopolise the wealth and use if for their own profit? Why shouldn't society's resources belong to all and be used to meet people's needs?
We encourage people to support each other, to accompany each other to interviews, and build up a grass-roots resistance to injustice.
HOW TO DEAL WITH A BENEFIT FRAUD INTERVIEW (PDF) - England and Wales ONLY