Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Department for Work and Pensions refuses to interview me this morning for a NINO

As I said in the blog of 18 August “The Department for Work and Pensions denies me a Crisis Loan”, the Department (DWP) has suspended my benefits because they have lost my National Insurance Number (NINO). As a consequence, I have to attend an interview – to prove that I am who I say I am and my circumstances are what I say they are – to be reissued a NINO. Broadway Homelessness and Support have in fact been chasing this interview up since we got a roof over our heads on 13 July, after more than two and a half years sleeping rough on the streets of London (see for example blog of 6 August 2009 “The Department for Work and Pensions is putting us back to the street”).

Our history with the DWP goes back a long way: We came to England in 2003 and for two years attempted to get NAC up and running; we went on benefits in July 2005; the DWP terminated our benefits on 27 September 2006 because Declan did not “sign on” two days before he was due to do so on 29 September. Declan exhausted the appeals process from the street: the case was dismissed by the High Court (Judicial Review), Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights, despite that we were denied the internal appeal process by procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority (see, for example, blog of 12 July “Police threaten us with physical force at the place we sleep, Salters”).

Anyway, Broadway finally got an email on 26 August from the DWP stating that I had a NINO appointment in Camden NINO Jobcentre for this morning at 10.00am, and that I should have with me a letter from the police on the robbery of all our money and documents at the Dellow Day Centre run by the Sisters of Mercy (see blog of 18 June 2008 “Declan robbed in the Sisters of Mercy Dellow Centre”). I shouldn’t have bothered. The email that Broadway received from the DWP was “inaccurate”, the member of staff adding: “Sorry you wasted your time.” I now have to go back on 10 September … Oh, well.

For the record, this is Declan’s letter this evening to the CEO of Broadway, Howard Sinclair:

Subject: NINO meeting

Dear Mr. Sinclair,

Previous correspondence refers. On 26 August 2009, Broadway Homelessness and Support received from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) my wife’s National Insurance Number (NINO) reallocation appointment in Camden NINO Jobcentre for 3 September at 10.00am (see attachment “Broadway(26.8.09)”). Nonetheless, the DWP issued a NINO Appointment Letter on 27 August 2009 addressed to my wife stating that her interview at Camden NINO Jobcentre has been made for 10 September at 11.30am (see “DWP(27.8.09)”).

I can confirm that my wife kept her appointment at Camden NINO Jobcentre this morning, but was informed by a member of staff that the email letter of 26 August that Broadway Homelessness and Support received from the DWP was “inaccurate”, and that she was to return on 10 September at 11.30am. In accordance with this email letter of 26 August, my wife had in her possession the following documents/letters, etc. that would support who she says she is and support her circumstances:

- The Crime reference letter with the crime number on the theft of a holdall containing all my and my wife’s money and documents, including two passports in our names, from the Dellow Centre, London E1 7SA (see attachment “CRL(29.8.09)”)

- Letter of ‘support’ from the Dellow Centre confirming the length of time that we have been attending there - that to the best of their knowledge Mrs. Heavey is who she says she is, etc.

- Big Issue ID

- Evidence regarding the Joint claim made in 2005

Supplementary documents/letters, etc. include:

- Yorkshire Building Society cash card and stamped Account Verification printout

- Shorthold Tenancy Agreement

- Copy of Habitual Residence Test statement made by the investigating officer in 2005

- Copy of each of the following: passport, Irish citizenship certificate, marriage certificate, and birth certificate

In reference the above cited documents/letters, etc., Mr. James Laurie for and on behalf of Broadway Homelessness and Support wrote on 1 September: “Thank you again for this information. I am sure that the documentation you have gathered will be sufficient proof of identity and a decision will be made in your wife’s favor.” Please advise if this is no longer the case.

You will note that I am taking the time to once again copy Superintendent Lorraine Cussen of Snow Hill Police Station into my current situation. As you are aware, it was Superintendent Cussen who, as the supervisory police officer who is overseeing Operation Poncho II within the City of London Police, suggested that I seek the assistance of Broadway Homelessness and Support (see attachment "Cussen(13.7.09)").

Yours sincerely,

Declan Heavey

cc The Rt. Hon. Yvette Cooper MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Superintendent Lorraine Cussen, Snow Hill Police Station
The Manager, Camden NINO Jobcentre (by registered post - with attachments)