DWP’s shame: How many more vulnerable people have been abused on the phone?

A former NHS worker was left distraught after being called a "f*** pig" when she couldn't remember her wedding date [Image: Getty].

A former NHS worker was left distraught after being called a “f*** pig” when she couldn’t remember her wedding date [Image: Getty].

“F*** pig,” DWP? Really?

In fairness, a spokesperson for the department has apologised for the behaviour of a man known only as “Chris” (why don’t they tell us their names in full at the start of the conversations?) but this only takes us a certain distance.

How does anybody know that disciplinary action has been taken?

After all, it’s not as though this is the first time a perfectly decent citizen, acting well within their rights, has been verbally abused by a DWP functionary.

It seems more likely they are encouraged to see if they can get away with it – to put people down.

How many others have had the same treatment – and were so intimidated they didn’t dare call again?

A dementia sufferer was called a “f*** pig” by a government employee when she couldn’t remember the date of her wedding.

Former NHS worker Janine Clark, 63, has Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which causes her severe memory loss … and can lead to her getting confused.

But when she rang the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to inquire about pension credits and alert them to her condition she says she was verbally abused when she struggled with the security questions.

Her furious husband Roger, 55, blasted the sneering employee and said he wouldn’t be able to provide their wedding date off the top of his head either.

“The civil servant told her, ‘we’ll give you one more go’ and Janine still couldn’t remember and that’s when he said, ‘ehh f*** pig’, before hanging up the phone.

“He couldn’t grasp the fact that Janine couldn’t answer questions off the cuff like he expected her to.”

Source: Dementia sufferer called a “f*** pig” by government employee after forgetting her wedding date – Mirror Online


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19 thoughts on “DWP’s shame: How many more vulnerable people have been abused on the phone?

  1. Nick

    I can vouch for this if you get the security questions wrong you get cut off and verbally abused’ if your unlucky the same with inland revenue

  2. David Woods

    In a shop they would have been sacked on the spot for such behaviour; why not the DWP!
    Let him get a taste of his own medicine!

  3. Jonno R

    Small increments
    This is a Small step towards DWP staff turning up to smash your windows and shoot you in the head. It’s not rediculous, the Nazi party got there the same way. People soon get used to what they once considered unacceptable such as letting disabled people starve to death.

  4. Tony Dean

    I can’t remember my wedding date either. All I do know is if I had committed a mass murder I would have been let out by now.

  5. Mr David Anthony Penson

    Mike, the point you raise about DWP staff not giving out their surnames is a good one and it appears to be a deliberate policy which can lead to misunderstandings and confusion when there are two or more Jane’s working at your local Job Centre or is Chris short for Christopher or Christine.
    This was not the case in the recent past when Job Centre Advisors used to put surnames on appointment cards so you knew exactly who you were dealing with, another issue that people should be aware of is that Job Centre Plus is breaking its own customer service charter by not displaying the names of the Manager and Area Manager on its information boards within its Job Centres, I would advise clients, as they call people using its services to demand to know the Managers name, information they can not legally refuse. David Penson

  6. casalealex

    I am appalled and upset that Janine has been verbally assaulted by this ignorant guy. He should be sacked! I do not, (as yet), think I have Alzheimer’s or Dementia, but at 78 I often cannot remember, names, dates, incidences etc. off the cuff, but I try not to worry about it. However, my 96 yr old mother does have severe dementia, so I know how scary it is. I feel for Janine and her husband, being treated so very badly, and I hope they are okay. Unfortunately, many people do not understand about dementia and other mental health issues, but that should not be an excuse for anyone treating someone in this callous manner. Hope Janine is okay x

  7. Vicky Pearson

    This happened to me. I’m a disabled person who was refused any kind of income support, despite being unable to work, because I have a boyfriend who works more than 24 hours a week.
    My boyfriend broke his collarbone and was out of work for 3 months. I phoned DWP to ask if I could get some help, as I could not afford to eat or pay for my life dependent medication.
    I was shouted at down the phone and told it’s not the DWPs role to advise on my support and I need to get off the line. With my mental health issues, I was distraught and I will never call them again.
    I then got a £120 bill from the NHS for claiming one free prescription, as I had no other choice other than reducing my health and shortening my life.
    It’s all bollocks and I still get no help!

  8. mrmarcpc

    This Chris prick be reported, typical nazi behaviour from the nazi party and their acolytes, the disgraceful behaviour that the DWP is getting away with is disgusting, time they were all brought to heel!

    1. sonofcy

      The first thing the Labour party should do when they get back into government, is to abolish the DWP and merge it back into Health and Housing as used to be. All the Managers and people like this Chris can then be sacked.

  9. Brian

    The DWP will not release names. This is part of the security policy to protect employees from physical and mental abuse. ‘Some’ employees, safe in this knowledge are virtually free to behave as they like. Only calls deemed ‘evidential’ ie, incriminating against the applicant, are recorded. So you may ask why do they have such a security policy? The answer is because they recognize many they deal with will form a grievances in their dealings with the DWP. This is clearly unacceptable from a so called public service organisation and illustrates the seismic shift away from an empathetic, to a defensive civil service. Unfortunately, other than record your contact with these organisation, for exposal, there is little you can do, and they know it.

    1. Janet

      I wish they would record the conversations they have, but obviously they don’t so they can get away with being abusive to callers. It has happened to me on several occasions. Now I understand some DWP employees are deliberately trying to upset/wind me up, I make a point of not allowing them to do that to me.

  10. Phil Lee

    They are so vile that I can no longer deal with using the telephone at all.
    It is beyond any doubt that this is part of the deliberate policy of intimidation and abuse meted out to disabled benefit claimants, and is undoubtedly behind some of the many lives lost on (or shortly after losing) benefits.
    To conceal the identity of those guilty of such abuse is clearly a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as those people are quite literally hounding vulnerable people to death. They have to be held accountable, along with those who created this policy and who’s agents they are.

    Murdering bastards need to be sacked – ALL of them.
    And denied benefits as it is their own behaviour which will have led to their dismissal – therefore voluntarily unemployed.

  11. NMac

    Is this “Chris” character being subjected to any disciplinary action? If not, why not?

  12. bev evans

    As they go to great lengths to inform you “All calls are recorded” and if you can you record the call as well. Then when you get a little Hitler on the phone, you have a log of time called etc, and the invisibles can be detected then. I had this once years ago and he spoke to me like crap. Ive probably been paying longer into the system than this moron had been thieving oxygen but you would think it was his money I was after. I did follow it through the official channels and he was disciplined over it and I got a whopping £10 compensation. Not a matter of compo, but if it stopped him treating other people like dirt, it was a victory xxx

    1. Janet

      The DWP don’t say they record all calls, because they don’t. It means there’s no come back on them when people complain, because there’s no proof except your word against theirs. I always ask for names in full, because I have been caught out before saying I spoke to “Chris”. All they have to say is there are hundreds of people called Chris working here. What can you do – except keep complaining and hope it leads somewhere instead of nowhere.

  13. bejaysus christ

    I also had a terrible experience with dwp , I was suffering from severe mental health problems at the time and had been sanctioned for 4 months and was left destitute in that period when I finally got through to someone and asked for help as I was suicidal,I was told ” but nobody cares if you live or die” and was cut off …..i honestly believe these … at the dwp do it deliberately to have people top themselves or just give in and succumb to there agenda of being tormented to give up any claim they have out of fear

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      This would have had more impact on me if you’d attached your own name to it. I edited out the swearing because that kind of language isn’t permitted here.

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