More than 20 million people in the UK are claiming benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions and some of them (according to the department) are not entitled to what they’re receiving.
Unsurprisingly, this has prompted the DWP to double down on its effort to stem fraudulent claims– the first step of which is contacting claimants through interviews with compliance officers.
But what is a compliance officer DWP, what do they ask during interviews, and what kind of rights do they have?
Let’s find out.
A DWP compliance officer’s role is to ensure the claimant’s benefit and welfare payments reflect their financial and living circumstances.
They also collect national statistics on the benefits system (the DWP published an annual report on how much money the department over- or underpaid.)
You can expect to get a call from DWP if you’re claiming:
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A DWP compliance interview is a procedure that the department undertakes to keep tabs on benefits recipients, and whether they are entitled to the benefits they are getting.
The interview is conducted by a customer compliance officer that works for the DWP.
Interviews with compliance officers that work for the DWP are usually conducted over the phone. The DWP will send you a DWP compliance letter beforehand to let you know when (time and date) you can expect a call from one of their officers.
You also might be asked to visit one of DWP’s offices, such as the Jobcentre, in which case you may be entitled to have your travel expenses reimbursed or have an officer visit you at your home (which rarely happens).
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The compliance officer will ask you to send or bring documents that confirm your identity as well as:
The compliance officer will first confirm your identity and inform you why they’re conducting the interview.
They will then start the performance measurement review, in which they will try to establish whether you’re entitled to receive the benefits that you’re getting. The officer can ask about your financial circumstances and your living situation.
For example, they can ask you if someone is financially supporting you, how much money they’re giving you, and how long they have been doing so. They may request that you back up your claims with bank statements and whether you know that you have to report any changing circumstances to the DWP.
If the DWP accuses you of living with someone during the DWP compliance meeting without notifying the DWP, you can ask for time to discuss the situation with your cohabitation and reschedule an interview.
The officer can decide to send you off with a warning if they believe that you genuinely didn’t know that you were breaking the rules. If this isn’t the first time that they’ve warned you, they will likely take action against you.
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DWP compliance officers usually call to check whether you’re receiving the benefits that you’re entitled to. The choice is often random.
Before you share any information with the DWP compliance officer, you should check if they are who they say they are to avoid falling victim to a scam.
You can find your DWP compliance officer contact number on the letter you receive from the DWP.
It’s important to know your rights during the interview with the DWP customer compliance officer since your answers will determine whether they have the basis to take action against you.
For the interview, you can:
You can ask the CCO to find an interpreter if you think it would help you to better understand and answer the interviewer’s question.
If you have a mental condition or need moral support during the interview, you can request that another person be present, provided that you have a good reason.
If the interview doesn’t fit into your schedule, you can ask the DWP to reschedule it.
You can record your interview with the DWP officer, but not without their consent first. If you ask, they must oblige.
If the interview takes place in your home, the CCO interviewer must leave if you ask them to.
Once the compliance officer with the DWP completes the interview, they may refer your case to the Counter Fraud Compliance Directorate if they believe that you’ve engaged in fraud.
If the DWP starts an information investigation against you, they will notify you in writing, typically through the post. They usually send a letter once they have assessed that the case warrants a further investigation.
This could lead to an interview under caution, which is conducted by a Fraud Investigation Office (FIO), in which case you’ll want your lawyer to be present.
This type of interview is recorded and done as part of an investigation that is already underway. It is also conducted in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which means that what you say can be used in a criminal prosecution later on.
During the investigation, DWP investigators can gather many types of evidence against you.
The most common include:
If investigators have enough evidence against you, you could face criminal charges.
The DWP can also issue administrative penalties that won’t result in a criminal record, usually in cases where the claimant was negligent.
Compliance officers that work for the DWP conduct interviews in which they check whether the claimant is entitled to the means-tested benefits they are receiving. A compliance officer will always call you after you receive a letter from the DWP with the date and time of the interview, and they can refer your case to investigators if they believe you’ve committed fraud.
Compliance officers usually collect data for the national statistics report on benefit fraud. The choice might be random but they might also call you if you’re believed to receive benefits that you are not entitled to.
A Notice of Compliance telephone interview is an interview with a compliance officer in which they will check your financial and living circumstances to determine if you’re allowed to claim the benefits you’re receiving.
The DWP can look into your bank account if they have reason to believe that you are committing fraud.
The best thing you can do is prepare the documents that the DWP requested and answer the officer’s question honestly.
A compliance officer is a person that works for the DWP that conducts interviews with claimants and makes sure they are entitled to the benefits they’re receiving.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.