(photo: Johnny Void)
As a jobseeker or if you are on ESA, claiming benefits can often unfortunately be problematic. Problems claimants experience include delayed benefit payments, behavioural issues with Jobcentre staff and long waiting times to get through to the DWP’s helpline.
We encourage you to make a written complaint. The ‘official’ DWP advice (see below web links) says that you can complain in person or on the phone to the Jobcentre. However, this often goes wrong, as you do not have your own written proof that you made the complaint.
So, we advise you to take the following easy steps:
- write down your complaint in an email
- include a sentence where you offer to verify this email i.e. show it is from a ‘real’ person. The DWP have a policy to ignore emails that cannot be verified. For this reason, we recommend that you state the following in your complaint email:
“I am happy to verify this email in person with my ID.” Don’t forget to add your National Insurance number and personal address to identify your claim.
- write ‘Complaint’ in the subject line of your email
- copy in a friend who you can trust in the email
- send the email to the DWP Complaints Resolution Team (CRT) for your region
- In their response to our Freedom of Information request (FOI346 / VTR899 from 26 April 2016), the DWP released the following email addresses for CRTs (if the complaint relates to working age benefits like JSA) *
|London Home Counties – Working Ageemail@example.com|
|Central England – Working Agefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Southern – Working Age: Berkshire surrey & Sussex and greater Wessex email@example.com|
*Please note: these contact points are only for London and parts of the South-East that are within our project’s remit
Tips for writing your complaint:
- don’t swear
- don’t make unfounded allegations (i.e. be sure to have something to back up what you are saying)
- describe what happened to you (calmly like a neutral witness)
- explain what should have happened
- explain what you request should happen now (to resolve the situation), or simply ask them to rectify the situation.
Because it is important to inform the DWP about problems, so that they can understand that improvements are necessary. By doing so, and by copying in a friend or somebody who you can trust, you are creating a written record of your case and evidence of what you said and when, and it will be harder for the DWP to ignore your complaint or claim that they never received it. You CAN get results!
Further stages for complaints
If this first stage of complaint does not work for you, you can then complain to the Independent Case Examiner and through your MP to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. These stages are explained in the DWP ‘Complaints procedure’ weblink below.
If you do not receive a response from the DWP within 15 working days, we recommend to wait a few extra days and then to take your complaint to your local MP, and complain about the delay. The MP irrespective of what party they belong to have a duty to help in matters such as this, and we recommend you ask the MP to write to the Director General of the DWP about the delay of your complaint.
Due to our limited resources we are unfortunately not able to do casework. But please contact your local CAB, Law Centre, trades union or other advice agency if you need further help with writing the complaint or with casework. A list of some local advice agencies can be obtained from Unite Community.
The DWP also released the following contacts:
|National Employer Servicesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Fraud and Error Serviceemail@example.com|
For other comments, such as compliments or feedback, the DWP gave these contacts:
Have you experienced issues with the DWP or Jobcentre as a jobseeker? Comment below or tweet us @LUSACTION and share your views.