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  1. Hi, Just looking for some advice as am fretting hugely and feeling a bit confused by the rules. To explain as simply as I can... I am currently in receipt of high rate DLA and income related ESA in the support group. I was awarded both of these at reassessment without any difficulty and wasn't even called to a medical for my ESA. I have been on these benefits for a long time and have also been on housing benefit for about two years since I moved into my own flat. I suffer from mental health difficulties including a long term eating disorder and type 1 diabetes which means my physical health is also very poor. I struggle with extreme spending which has been the case for some time. I have mental health issues and I particularly struggle during the evening times when feeling low. I tend to click click click on websites and buy things I do not need, sometimes parcels arrive and I am not even sure of what on earth I have ordered. By extension my eating disorder is anorexia with binge/purging subtype and the amount I spend on food is disgusting, which has been the case for the past 15 years. In October last year I was seriously sexually assaulted and a week later my dad died. This sent me into a spiral of even worse mental health and excessive spending. I try to return things but don't always manage to, and you obviously cannot return food. But I also have a pile of clothes that I've never even worn. I took out a DRO in 2009 because I had racked up so much debt on credit and store cards. This honestly saved me for 6 years as I could not obtain credit, but after it was lifted I managed about a year until I started applying for high interest credit cards and now have a stack of them which I have been trying to keep up with the minimum payments for. A month ago I took out a loan from natwest to try and consolidate these debts a bit and reduce my overdraft which was costing me around £80-90 a month in interest fees. My brother and I are waiting for an inheritance from my father. There was no will and no need for probate as my father rented, so my brother has had to sort everything out. I am not quite sure how much we will have but it will certainly be above the 6k threshold. Currently it is sat in an account my brother opened but when everything is finalised he will transfer half of that money to me. I am so scared that the DWP are going to class my spending as deprivation of capital. I really, really want to pay off all my debts including my loan because the interest on everything is so high and having that debt looming over me is a major stress. But will they allow me to do this? I imagine the loan may be regarded with some scepticism as it was recently taken out, but I was literally desperate and in a situation where I was going to be unable to pay my rent (yes despite the HB payments), I am thinking of ways I can protect myself. I'd perhaps like to have my mother take care of a proportion of the money in a savings account that I cannot touch. If I blow through the inheritance with my recklessness then I will never forgive myself. The only thing I really want to do is go on holiday, health permitting. I have not been out of this country for about 10 years and feel a break would do me some good. But again, will the DWP permit this? Furthermore, what if I wanted to use some of the money to access some private healthcare; therapy or maybe even a short hospital stay to try and get a hold on my eating behaviours? Obviously this could help me towards better mental health and I'd like to think that some day I might be well enough to begin some part time work, which would ultimately be beneficial for both the governments purse as well as myself. The other thing I am worried about is the whole showing receipts and bank statements, the idea of which I find humiliating largely due to my food expenditure. I found this quite distressing during the DRO claim process. How much scrutiny do they place you under exactly? I know it is different for everyone but what is the most likely scenario I will face? I need to ring the DWP soon and I am so anxious about it. I hate making phone calls as it is and don't know where to start/how to explain. Any advice is much appreciated. Please don't think I want to defraud in any way, I just want to do the right thing. Thank you.
  2. Hi all just got a few questions about deprivation of capital and spending your savings so I don't get into bother further down the line. I have recently made a claim for Income Support and have 10.2k savings which equates to £17 taken off every week (£1 every £250 over £6k). What's reasonable to spend your savings on? Would the DWP find it ok if I top up the deducted £17 per week from my savings? How often should I inform the DWP of when my savings decrease? Every 1k or less/more? Thanks Trev.
  3. I have used this forum a couple of times for myself but this time am enquiring for a friend who has MS and leukemia and is highly anxious at present. She had been on ESA until March, having been forced out of her teaching job in quite harrowing and underhand fashion a couple of years ago. She was put onto JSA and has been supplying bank statements to the Benefits Office here. She had been paying her rent out of rapidly dwindling savings until her savings fell under the limit preventing a housing benefit claim very recently. Despite her condition she has in the year that I've known her continued to apply for work in teaching, and is registered with at least three agencies. She has had interviews and trials which have come ot nothing. It does seem the MS is the likely reason. My friend has run herself into the ground pursuing these jobs and is clearly upset at not winning them. She is a genuine and ethically-minded person. It's clear that stress is affecting her symptoms, and this week's events have really been out of order. She has just had a 'compliance meeting' this week which has not gone at all well. The person carrying out the interview is from the 'Fraud and Error' department. The DWP employee does not seem to have been very sensitive in the way he handled things, and my friend brought the meeting to a halt and said she wanted a witness present. She then rang me. I've never heard her in the condition she was in. Despite her condition she is a tough thing and represents herself well normally, with proper assertiveness and self-respect. I scarcely manage the same myself. I got the the Benefits Office about half an hour later and the meeting was resumed. We had asked ot record the meeting. The employee said he wasn't sure that could be done and would have to get advice, and we ended up settling for my being present as a witness - my friend is burying he rmother in the next week or so and doesn't want things dragged out with all that's going on. My friend and I both referred to the misconduct we have expeienced in the last year, which is from the housing department of the council and the DWP alike, in both our cases. My friend's Maximus assessment for example was carried out by someone who was then sacked, and I've seen the lie-strewn report he wrote on my friend, a not-quite-separate matter that will be attended to. A statement was typed in by the employee and my friend asked me to read it, as she was getting befuddled both with the stress and as part of the MS. She signed the statement. It was a pretty awkward meeting. The fella didn't really seem to know what he was doing, and I would hope he feels bad for the distress he caused my friend. We would like some things cleared up. This DWP employee used the phrase 'deprivation of capital' in reference to my friend's having gifted her son with money. He did not explicitly say that the gifting would be viewed as such but it was muddily expressed, and we're wondering how arbitrary the notion of 'deprivation of capital' is. My friend is a single mother in her 50s with one son, who has mental health troubles and seemingly something on the autistic spectrum, and has been neglected by professionals. After her divorce from a man who wasn't the boy's father she has been very supportive of her son including financially. I think anyone would be the same and that my friend's gifting him money should not be viewed with cynicism. Ordinarily as far as I know - and I think I read this this week in relation to something else - there is no limit to money being gifted. The amount since my friend has been claiming JSA I would think is all that is relevent too. In no way has the gifting been a dodge of any kind, but is of a compassionate basis that it would be shocking to have to explain. The other question is asked because my friend is worried about being treated as a fraud case. We think we've established that either all or almost all of the period she claimed JSA, her savings fell under the threshold. But she also submitted all those bank statements, and from March till now nothing was said. (Weirdly today she has been asked for the bank statements again by this man, who is sitting in the building where the DWP's copies are held - why can't he just access these?) So if there was any period, say for a few weeks or so, where she recieved JSA but had over the threshold amount, this can't become a fraud case can it? She declared everything. She was in receipt of the lowest JSA amount and was looking for work. At worst this is an employee's error isn't it? She was put on JSA when the ESA ended. I understand there are two different sets of criteria for JSA but presumably my friend has fallen inisde one of them to have been put on JSA. Sorry I haven't been able to make this shorter, but it would mean a lot to my friend and me also if we could get good response on this. I'll see the friend tomorrow and would like some good, calming news if possible. Many thanks.
  4. My friends DH is 60 and has early dementia, he is currently in hospital due to dehydration and bed sores and has been doing well, apparently due to his dementia and the fact that he is in a situation where he is scared - IE in hospital and not with his wife he 'apparently' attacked two nurses and drew blood. They have taken him from the care of his wife and put a DOL on him. He is NOT violent with her, its the situation he is in that may have caused him to lash out. My friend is terrified that he will be taken away from her, she can cope with him at home whilst I appreciate that nurses need to be protected, he is a scared vulnerable ill man and surely he cant be penalised for that. She has a meeting next week, but feel that she needs legal advise to ensure that the fact that its the environment that's has caused the issue not the fact he is dangerous and needs residential care. What would be the next step for her to ensure her rights as well as his are ensured
  5. Hi, I have what seems a complicated situation to me at least and would value some advice please. I am currently receiving contribution based ESA support.I split from my partner and am currently living in rented accommodation. I am receiving housing benefit and council tax benefit as my partner is currently in the process of buying me out of our joint property. I have been told that my local council regard this as disregarded capital as I intend using this money to buy a property. I am having trouble finding somewhere as the amount is right at the bottom of the market and not many properties come up and those that do are either in need of additional work, are too high up( I need a ground floor flat) or get snapped up by buy to let investors. As a result of this I am considering a shared ownership property(resale). 1) Does the local council pay Housing Benefit to people in shared Ownership properties(on the rental/service charge)? I originally phoned my local council when I moved out five months ago and they said that yes they do, but when I phoned them more recently, I have had mixed responses, one asked her line manager and they said they definitely don't pay housing benefit on shared ownership but when looking on some websites: entitled.to housingandsupport england.shelter it appears that they do and my local council's benefit calculator supports that. However this website: helptobuy Can I use Housing Benefit to pay some of the costs? "No. You need to be able to afford the initial and ongoing costs of buying or renting through Help to Buy without needing Housing Benefit to help you". I'm unsure if help to buy shared ownership is the same as other shared ownerships? Is there a national law or is it up to each council to decide? 1a) If they do pay it and I buy a shared Ownership in the knowledge that I would receive benefits to part fund it rather than keep attempting to find a 100% ownership property, would this cause a problem? 2)What % of disregarded capital must be spent on the new property? I am unsure if I spend for example 75% of my capital on a lower cost shared ownership property if the council will look at my disregarded capital and decide that as I didn't spend it all on a property they will ask for the housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit back? The problem is that there aren't many shared ownership properties up for sale in my area and they are all below my capital level or too high. 2a) Can I stair case either initially or after a qualifying period(one or two years) to bring my % up to alleviate any problems with my disregarded capital( if there is any). 3) Would stair casing be seen as deprivation of capital? As it would use my savings up quicker and mean that I'm a lot nearer to needing to claim for housing benefit in the future. ( that is not the reason I would staircase, I am simply looking to invest up to a 50% share before prices rise and to also negate any problems with the disregarded capital mentioned earlier) 4)Would any additional spending be send as deprivation of capital? Finally(sorry for all the questions) is it okay to spend some of my money on driving lessons and a car after I have bought a property as now I am on my own it is hard to get around so I need to try to sort out my own transport but I don't want this to be seen as deprivation, I would also need to buy a bed and some kitchen goods, furniture etc. How do I know what an acceptable amount is to spend on these items? I am not sure if it's okay to ask on this forum or not, but you all seem to know your stuff so I thought if anyone would know you would! The problem seems to be that I won't know for sure until I apply for housing benefit in the future, but I can't risk buying a shared ownership property if I don't get housing benefit once my savings are done.! The frustrating thing is I have finally found a fantastic SO property that's perfect and I would love to buy it, but its valued at 75% of my deferred capital for a 45% share and without further information I cannot buy it. Any help you can give as I don't know where to turn really. Thanks
  6. Hi, Does anybody know how long it has been since the deprivation rules came into being both for means tested DWP benefits and Local Authorities? I am concerned more with the deprivation of capital as opposed to income. I have opened a 'can of worms' with the DWP over something that I did way back in 1978. I am just trying to establish if the DWP have a case and if so on what basis.
  7. Hi, a friend of mine has two sons (32 & 35). One of them won a substantial (£75,000) amount of money in the past couple of months. He has no real need of this money so has decided to share it amongst his brother and his dad & mum. He has decided to give his dad (my friend) & mum £!5,000 and his brother £15,000 leaving him with £45,000 which he is using to buy a new camper van. Now his dad & mum are retired and receive a total of £461 every 4 weeks from the Pension Service as Guaranteed Pension Credit. My friend has some savings but they are just under the £10,000 limit. If he takes the £15,000 they will jump up to just under £25,000. This will mean he will have deductions made from the Pension Credit of approx. £30 a week. I'm trying to show him how this will work out. Does it mean that his total savings will go down by £30 a week so that it will take years (approx 10) before they get back to just under £10,000? If that is the right way of looking at it, there is no real point in accepting the £15,000 as all it will mean is that they will lose £15,000 of benefits over the next 10 years or so?
  8. Hi I get ESA (income base) I had declared capital of £5000 which I have spent ( balance £13.65 now) in a the year after claiming the Benefit I now am getting an inheritance of £9000 ( I accept this will affect my ESA) but will it be added onto the original balance or will it be counted as a new capital amount I think as the original amount is disregarded I cannot be said to have deprived my self of income from the original amount what do you think thanks in advance
  9. Hi My mother has been told she will not be given housing benefits at the normal rate for her savings because she has been accused of deprivation of capital. It seems to me the council have made a bit of a leap of judgement in accusing her of this, but I wanted to check what others think. To give background, she fell ill suddenly and had to give up work. She was very poorly at first and the doctors didn't know what was wrong, so she decided to leave rented accommodation in a city to go back to her parents in the countryside because she wanted to be somewhere comfortable. She should be having all her council tax and rent paid for her now because she has just over £1,000 left in her account, but they are refusing to provide her with full benefits and insisting she continue paying part of her rent and tax for another six years because of the following expenditure: - Furniture and cooking utensils: She didn't own any furniture when she went back to the countryside and as she was leaving in a hurry, she left things like cooking utensils in the shared house. She stayed with her parents until she was offered a council apartment then when she got there bought the furniture and cooking utensils she needed from auctions and ebay (i.e. cheaper than high street prices). - Clothes: Her medication causes weight gain and she went up two dress sizes, so she have her clothes to a charity shop and replaced her wardrobe - again using eBay so she could get cheaper prices. - Christmas presents: This one we're not sure about. She did buy a Christmas tree and presents for the family and admits this was an emotional decision after a horrible year. I'm not sure how much she spent. The presents were not excessive in any way (one each and not luxuries), but the tree looked quite big! There has also been money lost due to benefit problems: - She was on ESA at first but failed her first WCA and was then given no help for several months because her local Job Centre wrongly believed that they were not allowed to give her JSA. This was because she had a letter from their doctor stating she wouldn't manage more than 16 hours a week in her current condition and they thought you had to be able to work 40 hours a week to receive benefits. Eventually, this was reassessed and she was given JSA and later ESA when the first WCA decision was repealed. During this time she lost a lot of savings. The council are saying: - My mother asked them how many savings she would have to fall beneath to receive full rent and tax payments. They are using this as evidence that she planned to deprive herself of capital, although in reality this was just after her benefits had been stopped for a while and she was making sure she was now receiving the right amount. - The fact she bought things from eBay in large numbers rather than one big spend shows she 'frittered' her money away. My mother cannot afford to pay bills, food, part of her rent and part of her council tax on £1,000 savings and £198 per month benefits for the next six years. Does anyone know if she has a legal case? Thanks!
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