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Data Protection and Digital Information Bill - using family member bank accounts

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Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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If a benefit recipient is using a family member’s bank account will the new surveillance plans cause problems?  Asking as I know of a situation where the parent’s joint account is used by the adult child for their benefits but the same bank has the parent’s current and saving accounts with wages being paid in.

Elliot Kent
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The powers, as drafted, allow the SSWP to request information in relation to an account which benefit is being or has been paid into so could certainly be used to seek information about the account in your case.

You ask whether this could “cause problems”. Well that’s the rub isn’t it? If the DWP act responsibly as they claim that they will, then probably not. If they start running around suspending awards whenever they get a whiff of some unaccounted for income or savings, then you can imagine there will be lots of false positives in cases such as yours.

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Debt and Welfare Advice, Community Money Advice, Launceston

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It may well cause problems for claimants whose bank accounts hold other people’s money ( children, relatives etc ). DWP staff are advised ......“Note: It is the responsibility of the legal owners of capital to establish that they are not the beneficial owners” . So with greater surveillance there will be more trips to the local jobcentre with bank statements.

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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Because there’s simply no history of statutory agencies getting things massively wrong when they start snooping around in people’s bank accounts is there?

Single mum has benefits stopped because HMRC thinks local SHOP is her boyfriend

She immediately called the tax office and was told activity on her bank account showed a Martin McColl – the trading name for her local newsagent chain RS McColl.