(X-rated) benefits adviser would love to hear from you!

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    As its a Friday, I could not resist putting this up as a bit of fun. The media criticism (see example below) is perhaps a bit unfair on DWP as these are deemed “local calls”. On the other hand, whatever happened to the 0800 numbers and what’s next?

    The “win a claim form” premium line?

    “Dial 0845 xxxxxx and answer this simple question to get a Housing Benefit claim form.

    Housing Benefit is for

    a) fraudsters
    b) those who have spent all their rent calling premium numbers
    c) those who cannot afford a telephone
    d) self-employed taxi drivers who never get tips

    “The DWP has acknowledged that it has received a £268,000 “profit” from 0845 telephone lines used by benefit claimants.

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) supplied details under the Freedom of Information Act which showed it was “refunded” money from lines with the prefix 0845.

    The Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Association, which obtained the information, said the disclosure came in the wake of pressure to force Whitehall departments to “poverty proof” policies to avoid them having an adverse effect on the public.

    Spokesman Colin Hampton said: “It’s ridiculous that people have to pay to access their benefit entitlement. Despite the cost being as little as 3.5p per minute, many benefit claimants use top-up mobile phones which can often charge more. All government departments should look at their policies and make sure that this kind of thing can’t happen,” he said.


    What I think is unacceptable is that this comes in tandem with the DWP increasingly driving people onto the phone in order to claim, with the concentration of work into “processing centres” and the closure of local offices.

    Paying to use the phone is hardly a new concept, but put it together with the above and the fact that DWP is earning out of it and it starts to look pretty unsavoury.

    Still, it does provide an opportunity for local authorities to trumpet the “local” aspect of their service.


    See the thread on Rightsnet that I contributed to


    If this person was my client I would certainly take up the suggestion about distraining their phones. Bet the DWP would pay up sharpish as it eats their profit and that would not be business like would it?

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