Too many people are being mistreated at the hands of obnoxious, incompetent, and often malicious advisers. If you have ever had to claim benefits then you probably know the type I mean.
This Welfare Survival Guide gives you tips on how to handle an obnoxious adviser and counteract any unlawful behaviour targeted against you.
Always Record Any Interaction
This is the single most important tip I can recommend. I strongly recommend covertly recording as this prevents any further hassle for you from the Jobcentre Plus/DWP staff and security, it also allows the adviser to feel more secure in displaying the behaviour you are trying to prevent.
You are entitled in law to both covertly and overtly record video and audio in a public place. There are exceptions to this law where children and other vulnerable individuals are involved, however, filming an adviser in person or over the phone is entirely permissible in law.
This Freedom of Information request, shown on the excellent What Do They Know? website, clearly show that recording is allowed (also see the comments by John Slater).
Also, the police have released this useful guide, which also shows the police have no powers to interfere with members of the public who record or take photos in public places, such as the Jobcentre Plus.
No matter what anyone else may say, you are within your lawful rights to covertly record at the Jobcentre Plus. Never tell the staff that you are covertly recording and if they attempt to assault you by grabbing your recording device, call the police immediately, or give them a clear warning that if they attempt to assault you again you will act in self-defence.
Stay Calm, Speak Softly, Annoy Them
For those advisers who are maliciously targeting people, nothing annoys them more than staying calm and non-aggressive when they try to “agitate the customer” in order to unlawfully sanction them.
All customer facing DWP staff have professional training in how to handle “obnoxious” claimants in order to set them up for a sanction or a benefit stoppage. I have had this confirmed on good authority. This means all the reports we hear of the targets is true and the DWP are specifically targeting those they see as “easy targets”, such as those suffering cancer, mental health issues, or simply those whom forget to take their job search diary.
Stay calm, no matter how the adviser is trying to agitate you. Remember, this is a battle of wills and you have the upper hand because you can simply refuse to play their game. If you feel you may not be able to remain calm, take someone with you who can act as a calming influence should you become harassed by the adviser.
Speaking softly shows that you are not being verbally aggressive and this will annoy the adviser no end. If they ask you to speak up, simply request that they lean closer. Never raise your voice or they may use this as a reason to eject you from the building.
Annoy them by refusing to play their game and asking them obnoxious questions back. You can be as sarcastic as you like as long as you are calm, speaking softly and refraining from profanity.
Arm Yourself With Knowledge
If you can read up on the relevant legislation and find out in-depth knowledge specific to your case, you will probably know more than most advisers. I aren’t saying it is all their fault because a lot of their incompetence comes from improper training (or deliberately improper training) and bad management, however, if you have more knowledge than the adviser, you will win 10 times out of 10.
It can be difficult to know how to interpret the relevant legislation, however, the Freedom of Information requests found on What Do They Know? are invaluable sources of welfare information which relate to the many issues suffered by benefit claimants.
Advice given by http://www.thesanctionedjobseeker.co.uk/.