This is a subject which has been raised a few times. Noticing a pattern in the behaviour of Benefits Agency staff, we thought it best to investigate and see what’s going on.
Simply put… being “in-love” can seriously damage your purse strings, and we’re not referring to those gifts, dates, or other expenses associated with courting.
If you're speaking to an employee of HMRC/DWP, then being "in-love" can cost you, especially if you’re in receipt of benefits!
We were contacted some time ago, by someone who had recently received a home visit from the DWP.
The “someone” (who shall remain nameless), is a single parent caring for a disabled child. She has a boyfriend, but said boyfriend only visits at weekends, "lives" somewhere else, and works away during the week.
As many of those receiving housing benefit and or income support will be aware, home visits are a necessary evil.
The reason behind these visits is to ensure that boyfriends/girlfriends (or “partners” as the DWP like to refer to them) are not sharing properties whilst benefits are being claimed. On the face of it, this seems fair enough.
In the video, Simon details the responses you should consider giving, if you are ever questioned by an ‘official’ about your love life – please do take notice of these as getting it wrong may cost you dearly.
In this case, the “someone” was subjected to a new style of questioning technique which she found to be aggressive and offensive. It was clearly designed to trick her into confessing something that simply was not true.
We are referring to those in receipt of benefits and in particular the level of benefits you are entitled to as a result of having a “partner” whom you “love”, or is “in-love” with you.
Another key word to avoid is “support”.
When asked: “is your partner supportive?” or “does your partner support you?” be warned; this implies financial-support and an affirmative answer (“yes”) is likely to result in a reduction of the benefits you receive.
Rightly so, if you are “in” a “relation-ship” with a “partner” that “supports” you financially, and contributes to the “expenses” of the “household”. In such a case you should not be claiming full benefits because “household-income” may be higher than you have likely disclosed. [Did you notice all of the "business-related" terminology?]
Note the words. Words have power. If we remove the “S” from the end of WORDS and place it at the beginning, we now have a SWORD.
As the saying goes…. “the pen is mightier than the sword”
So, top tip – be very careful what you say, and be very careful of the words you use. Always ask those questioning you, what they mean by the use of certain words, and get those “meanings” put in writing BEFORE you decide to use them in your answers!
And BEWARE the DWP/HMRC staff member that completes forms for you! Don't be afraid to cross out certain words before signing.
Upon reflection it appears that the DWP, on behalf of HMRC, are not interested in the truth; they are merely interested in reducing benefit payments for which staff no-doubt receive a bonus – a potential conflict of interest one might say!
Anyhow, we present the explanatory video and have made available for your pleasure the HMRC commissioned report which directs staff to apply questioning techniques designed to trip people up.
If your family or friends are claiming benefits, please send them this helpsheet and the HMRC report, so that they can avoid any potential trip ups. As explained in the video: when asked if you “love” your boyfriend or girlfriend, your answer should be “no”.
We’ve put together some examples of how we’ve successfully challenged many circumstances inflicted upon people like you, by those in an apparent position of authority. More ‘examples’ are being added, so if you’d like to know when they become available, sign-up and join the insiders before you leave this page.
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