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Everything posted by impecunious

  1. Thanks for the link -- yes, still says that only people of working age are eligible to claim UC. I'm 62 this year and self -employed? I wonder whether Minimum Income Floor will apply to me under new UC rules --- especially when I'm not eligible to claim UC .. Confusion reigns. Imp
  2. If you have separate tenancy agreements then, under Council Tax law, CT becomes the liability of landlord not the tenants. Individual tenants are not responsible for CT and can't be issued with a shared CT bill. I live in a privately rented 2 bed house. Occasionally I advertise for a housemate. The landlord then issues separate tenancy agreements. The council closed my CT account, refunded all my/our payments and sent the landlord a bill for the last two years CT liability for my home. For 11 months during this period, I was the sole occupant holding a full tenancy agreement for the whole house. The CT liabilty was very obviously mine, not the landlords, so I have appealed. Under the Housing Act 2006, a shared house with less than three tenants is exempt from being classified as an HMO but for CT purposes, it is classified as a HMO and the landlord is liable. It's complicated but if you have an individual tenancy agreement or if there are three or more people sharing, the liability rests with the Landlord. If you haven't received either a CT bill or the summons, perhaps it was sent to the Landlord. Impecunious
  3. Have you advised the Job Centre that you're thinking about becoming self-employed? Not sure if you're entitled to New Enterprise Allowance when you're on the work programme but it's worth investigating. You'll be allowed a period of grace where you'll be allowed to concentrate on putting together your Business Plan (you'll be exempt from job search activities for about 8 weeks), etc and will be entitled to NEA for six months when you start up your business, can apply for a local council small business set up grant of say £500 (for capital purchases) and access to a £1,000 business loan. There's also the added the advantage of having a personal business advisor, regular meetings and there are lots of really valuable business workshops available - free of charge - to help with you budget planning, marketing, research and accounting etc. Worth asking about. Impecunious!
  4. According to Government information on Universal Credits, you have to be "between 18 and 60 years and six months" to be able to claim UC and not be self-employed (amongst other critieria) I wonder if this means that the Government's new draconian measures regarding minimum wage being introduced to penalise the self-employed who are on low income and claiming WTC/HB/CTR won't apply to us oldies? (Those over 60 yrs and 6 months of age? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. Impecunious!
  5. Thanks Caro ... Yes, an absolutely great but very unexpected result. For once, common sense seems to have prevailed. Impecunious ....
  6. Delighted to advise that the council in question has now effectively "written off" all outstanding CT liability on this old account by awarding a discretionary payment award in the sum of c. £600.00. It's taken over six years but just shows that persistence, persuasion and patience sometimes pays off. Still "impecunious" but satisfied with the result. Impecunious!
  7. Signed - with pleasure ... Impecunious!
  8. Have your Council asked you to complete a Self Employed assessment form? (Assuming as a sole trader, you are self-employed) When I embarked on setting up a small new business 16 months ago after being unemployed for almost a year and claiming JSA, I was penniless and not able to draw any wages. NEA helped for 6 months but that barely even covered day-to-day living. I was forced to continue my claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction and am now eligible for WTC because my business is not breaking even. Completing a Self-Employment form will allow the council to determine your income from your self-employment (if any) and you may be eligible for HB and CTR. Worth checking it out. Impecunious
  9. After staying up into the very early hours, I found Equita's original letter (still unopened) under a deluge of sympathy cards, dated 24th April 2014 --- advising that a payment arrangement had to be agreed by 2nd May 2014 at 17.30 pm or else ... their usual "if you don't pay" threats etc and possible additional fees and expenses of enforcement. (My mother had been seriously ill at the time and subsequently died of sepsis at the beginning of July, so I wasn't really in a very good place at the time.) I received their second letter just before Xmas .. advising that I had failed to "enter into a short-term payment plan to assist [you] during the festive period". I have been advised that one of their enforcement agents will be paying me a visit or may already have done so. How lovely! I'm always looking happy to get my best china out but my mother always told me never to talk to strangers, so he'll have to stay very firmly outside. It's now been ten months since Equita first contacted me. They're obviously either very busy or they can't really bothered to pay me a visit. My contact at my former council, who have instructed Equita, isn't available until the 28th January 2014. However, I have e-mailed him and advised him that I will continue paying my token £1.00 pcm by standing order until the debt is cleared or until my new business allows me to draw a wage, and have suggested that he call off the dogs. If there's anything else I can do, please let me know. Impecunious! PS Thank you Admin for finding this this old thread and adding my new posts .... I thought it had been deleted this morning
  10. The only previous fee was the cost of the Liability Order ... But I will certainly email the Council to make sure. Thanks Imp
  11. Equita referred to a previous letter but I hadn't seen anything. The Notice of Enforcement was my first inkling. Impecunious
  12. That I really don't know. Would appreciate some advice. The original Liability Order was issued on 28.07.2005. Thanks Impecunious!
  13. Thanks for replying so quickly. The council previously instructed Rossendale many years ago to collect but I managed to see them off without incurring any charges/fees. Equita are new on the scene on this case. I was always very confident in handling things but, obviously, the new legislation came in last year and I haven't had any experience of it. They've just charged the £75.00 so far. I know not to let them in, etc. etc. I've written to the council in question and asked them to "take back the account". It will take me over 6 years to just pay back the Compliance Stage Fee and another twenty years to pay back the arrears, and I'll probably be dead before I could even start to pay back any Enforcement Stage fees they may add on. I'm really not too worried -- after all, you can't get blood out of a stone and I'm not called Impecunious for nothing! Thank you. Impecunious
  14. Just when I thought I was more or less on top of things! I received a letter from Equita who are acting on behalf of my former city council to collect my outstanding CT arrears and, of course, they have charged me a £75.00 Compliance Stage fee. The original liability order was issued in 2005. I arranged with the council to repay the outstanding CT at £12.50 pcm. All was well until I become unemployed just over two years ago (on JSA then NEA for new business start-up) and I subsequently had to reduce my repayments to just £1.00 pcm as my income was negligible. I advised the council of my change in circumstances in writing/by e-mail and continued to pay the monthly repayment of £1.00 by standing order. (I even sent them an income and expenses sheet to prove that £1.00 was all I could afford.) I told them I would increase my monthly payment when my financial circumstances improved. Unfortunately, there has been no change - if anything, I am slightly worse off. (I'm working as self-employed on a new small business and haven't been able to draw a wage yet, so I receive WTC of £53.45 pw.) Whilst I'm continuing to pay the council, I wonder what will be gained from sending in the heavies! I live in a shared house, have no tangible assets and my income is less than the law says I should get to live on (according to my current council's HB dept.). The compliance stage fee alone will take 75 months to pay off @ £1/pcm!!! I think the original debt was over £1,200 and now I only have just under £250 outstanding. So, I'm definitely reducing the liability, if only ever so slowly. I've written to Equita explaining the situation. Does anyone have any advice on what to do next? I'm usually pretty au fait with managing debt collection agencies, etc. but I've never been in a situation when I'm already paying my creditor (and have done for years) and then they farm it out to a debt collection agency - - with the powers to impose Compliance Stage Fee and Enforcement Fees further down the line. Instead of reducing my debt, it could potentially double -- I'll probably pop my clogs before I finish paying it! Thanks guys 'n girls too. Impecunious!
  15. http://www.turn2us.org.uk/PDF/Benefits%20Stigma%20in%20Britain.pdf Worth a read. Impecunious
  16. You can declare yourself self-employed and, as long as you are "working" less than 16 hours/week, you can still claim full JSA. I did this for 10 months before going onto being fully self-employed and running my own new small start-up business. When I was claiming JSA, everything I earned from my self-employment over £5/week had to be declared but, of course, this can be offset against any expenses. Being self-employed for 2 days a week means that your job search activity is limited to just three days a week, so you can spend some time researching, putting together your portfolio, etc. You don't have to earn anything from that self-employment - it's literally a breathing space to get on with your own things. Once you decide to go fully self-employed, the Job Centre will arrange an interview with the likes of Blue Orchid who will assess your readiness to go self-employed and offer free training workshops/advice etc. There is usually an 8 week period in which the Job Centre will allow you to concentrate on developing your self-employment business and don't have to undertake any other job search activity. I can't understand why you were forced to go down the work programme route when it's obviously not going to help you achieve your goal of being self-employed. On the downside, being self-employed is horrendously difficult but there is lots of help/advice available. My income from self-employment after almost a year, after expenses, is negligible so I receive Working Tax Credits of £53.00 until my income increases. Being self-employed is a million times more productive and satisfying than being on the work programme. If you believe in yourself and are fed up being victimised by being unemployed, do something positive to help yourself. Just advise your local Job Centre of a change in your circumstances and stand your ground. Become self-employed (for just less than 16 hours a week for now), register with HMRC and get the ball rolling. I started my self-employment just months before I was due to transfer to the work programme. I know, despite all the difficulties, that it was the best thing to do. It's not up to the Job Centre to decide whether you become self-employed or not - that's your decision to make. By the way, I'm 60 - and if I can do it, anyone can. There's lots of information online to help you. Best of luck Impecunious
  17. Just a thought ... if you live in a shared house (as I do), the Council Tax bill is sent to a named person(s) within the house but each person in the house is jointly and severally liable for the whole of the CT liability if the bill remains unpaid. Separate CT bills aren't send to each occupant unless each room is completely self-contained and has it's own lockable door and separate flat number. So if there is outstanding CT liability, is it for the property you currently share or was the outstanding for your ex-housemate's previous home? I suppose under the DPA, the bailiffs aren't permitted to share that information with you. Just a thought! Imp
  18. Best get all this sorted then by the end of the month!!! But, at the end of the day, no-one can get blood out of a stone. I'm not called Impecunious for nothing! (Still) Impecunious!
  19. Thank you -- will give me a call. Imp
  20. In response to your questions: Single claim I work in excess of 60 hours/week 12/13 income was £13,600 ... (£1,000+ was JSA payments) They didn't request estimated income for 13/14 Yes, awards notice stated £0 award. No real explanation given. Imp
  21. I feel as if I'm going round in circles. Am newly self-employed (just five months), not yet able to draw a wage from a new start-up business and will only be receiving NEA of £33 pw for the next two weeks. This allowance contributes to my weekly business rental. My only disposable income is £44 pcm (private pension). I recently made a claim for WTC - from Dec 2012 to end September 2013 I was unemployed and receiving some JSA(IB) - and have been awarded £0. I thought WTC was meant to help those working on low incomes. In desperation, I've had to contact my local JobCentre to do a "better-off" calculation. I thought the Government promised that working would always pay over benefits? I've used entitlement websites but there doesn't seem to be any help available. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas? (Still) Impecunious!
  22. Forget buying household items/gifts in shops ... raid the charity shops, car boot sales, skips whatever!! A hot-glue gun, a staple gun, some fabric remnants and some leftover paint, and a little creativity and you'll be producing the most amazing things for next to nothing. I know it can be done, it's my business. Imp
  23. Thank you!! Not only purple raised beds but 30 metres of bright, patterned outdoor bunting along the fences - all made by moi naturally . If you're going to do something, do it with panache!! Imp
  24. After claiming JSA for 10 months, I became self-employed and now have my own new small business. I work 7 days a week, sometimes 12 hours a day and I haven't been able to draw a wage since I started five months ago as my overheads exceed my weekly takings. I've now been forced to make a claim for WTC and if that's approved, my income will still be approximately £20 a week less than former JSA weekly payment. It's lamentable and so ironic. And I thought work was meant to pay. If you're ever thinking of going self-employed, especially if you are in receipt of ESA or similar, and have disabilities ... please, please, please think twice. It's difficult enough when you're intelligent, credential, experienced, able-bodied and hard-working. Although I love my new business with a passion and hated being on benefits, at least then I could eat regularly, buy food, cover basic bills and could afford to heat the house and have constant hot water. Those are all now luxuries I can ill afford. Now I have my self-respect but, sadly, that doesn't put food on the table. (Still) Impecunious!
  25. I reluctantly made a claim for Working Tax Credits a fortnight ago -- I just wanted to be rid of claiming benefits but it's impossible. You'd think that making the decision to go self-employed after being unemployed for over ten months would earn you "brownie points" and real support instead of just miserly NEA payments for a limited period .... and some consideration from the likes of CT and HB departments but, the reality is, that their administration is draconian and intrusive, there is no consideration and there is no real help to support people whilst they "find their feet". Luckily, I'm made of stern stuff ... don't mind being frugal and love my new business with a passion. I know it will work. I just have to ride out the storm for however long it takes. I just hate continually being chased for payments, threatened with bailiffs and Magistrates Court action, bombarded with debt collection letters and wondering what will come through the door next ... especially when I work 7 days a week and still can't afford to pay my bills. I will get through it though! I had a penalty notice for £100 from HMRC yesterday for late self-assessment return ... Grrrr!!! I only started self-employment in October, so I don't have to complete a tax return until next January! Another evening spent producing evidence and making an official appeal. Let's hope they see sense. If it's not one thing, it's another! (Still) Impecunious!
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