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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Benefit Integrity Centres (BIC) - benefit claim reviews

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses Benefit Integrity Centres to make sure you've been paid the right amount of money. The Benefit Integrity Centre looks at the information on your claim to make sure it's right. This is called a claim review.

How DWP checks the information on your claim

The Benefit Integrity Centre (BIC) will contact you by telephone and post if you're claiming any of the following benefits:

  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

How do I know a letter is genuine?

The letters and forms you get from the Benefit Integrity Centre will have the Jobcentre Plus logo. The letters and forms are similar to the ones that Jobcentre Plus will have used when telling you about your benefit.

If you want to check if a letter or form is genuine, contact Jobcentre Plus. You can find the number on the letter they send you. They will be able to confirm if the Benefit Integrity Centre is looking at your claim.

When the Benefit Integrity Centre contacts you by telephone

When a Benefit Integrity Centre contacts you by telephone they'll ask some security questions to check your identity.

These questions may include the name of your Bank or Building Society, but you'll never be asked for your bank account number or sort code.

Text messages

The Benefit Integrity Centre may also send you a text message to remind you to:

  • return forms
  • tell DWP about changes in your circumstances

Text messages from a Benefit Integrity Centre will show the phone number as "Jobcentre Plus" or "Jobcentre +". The message will be for information only - you'll never be asked to reply by text message.

What information will I be asked for?

You will be asked for information similar to the information you gave when claiming benefit.

If a BIC asks for information you must give this by the date shown on the letter. If you don't reply in time, your benefit payments may be stopped.

Why is my claim being looked at again?

Your claim is looked at again to make sure you've been paid the right amount of money - this is called a benefit review.

Any benefit claim can be chosen for a review. A claim can also be chosen for a review more than once.

Will my benefits be stopped?

Your benefit will only stop if you're not entitled to any money or have not supplied information when asked to do so.

The BIC will make a decision about your benefit using the information you give on the review. They will write to you to explain the decision made about your benefit. 

If you owe DWP money

If your benefit review decision is that you owe money to the DWP, the BIC will arrange with you to pay it back. You can pay the money back over a period of time, so you don't face any hardship.

If DWP owe you money

If your benefit review decision is that the DWP owes you money, the BIC will make sure it's paid to you as soon as possible.

Appealing against a Benefit Integrity Centre decision

You have the right to appeal against the decision made by the BIC. More information about how to appeal is included in the letter sent to you by the BIC.

Appointees and Benefit Integrity Centre reviews

The BIC will contact an appointee instead of the person who is claiming benefit. If you are an appointee the benefit review forms and letters will be sent to you.

Where to get further information

For further information about benefit reviews contact Jobcentre Plus, their contact details will be on any letter the BIC sends to you.

If your question can’t be answered during your call, Jobcentre Plus will arrange for the BIC to call you back within three working hours.

You can also speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau for benefit advice.

Additional links

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