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Problem with overpayment of Housing Benefit


Jaybee in CF
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Hi all,

 

Got a letter asking for repayment of £600 in HB that was overpaid earlier this year after I came off Jobseekers Allowance. Now, when I signed off in June the woman at the Jobcentre assured me categorically that the Housing department would be notified, so I took her word for it.

 

Now, their letter said they paid 3 months extra until September, which is also when my contract at work ran out, I haven't worked since then. Nor have I claimed, because the contract was a good payer, and I don't claim dole if I'm not actively looking, I did some studies to get my rates up a few notches. I don't feel I should be penalised for their mistake, but they're saying it was MY responsibility to inform the Housing department??!!?

 

In any case, £600 is going to cause me a lot of unbought presents for my family this Christmas, what can I do to get them to cancel the invoice or at least go halves with me?

 

Thanks,

 

 

JB

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My daughter is a HB Contractor I will email her your plight. She has just advised another HB overpayment for someone else on thesite and they were advised that if they do have to pay it back they can offer £3.00 per week. I will post back when she has replied.

 

The other thread is in General Consumer Issues - Housing Benefit Overpayment - Do I have to pay it back.

(Sorry can't do link backs)

 

Don't know if any of that may help.

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It's quite easy, surprise - just copy and paste the link into your post.

Any help and advice is offered in good faith, based solely on my own knowledge and on experience gathered from this site. I am not qualified to offer legal or financial advice, which you should seek from an expert before making any important decisions. My opinions are therefore offered without liability.

 

If I've been helpful, please click my scales. :-)

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Then you had every rite to claim HB but you dont have to check that the JC informed them of you starting work. You may be able to get them to knock a month off that as you may have been entitled to summing until your first paycheck to cum threw.

 

l would let suprises daughter advise you as she advised me.

 

Chrissi.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

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did the council recieve this notification?

 

If so they are at fault.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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You can appeal against the decision to recover the housing benefit overpayment - however as I said previously the ownership is on you to inform the Local Authority - which Local Authority is it? - as the governments guildine figure to action a change of circumstance is 9 days not over 90 days.

 

Write to them as follows:

 

I wish to dispute the recovery of the outstanding overpayment ?????

 

When I signed off I was told by the Job Centre that they would notify you that I was no longer in receipt of JSA this notification was sent to you on 26/6/07 please confirm why you failed to action my change of circumstances and carried on paying me?

 

I think it is unfair of you recover this money when you have failed to assess my new entitlement.

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As you informed the DWP and they stated they would inform HB you could claim the defence of overpayment estoppel. This relies on the fact that you acted in good faith and had you known they hadnt been informed you would have returnded the overpaid forthwith.

Please Click The Scales if I have been of help to you.

 

 

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You need to ask for proof that the written notification was sent off from the JC and when....a copy of the letter/email/whatever to their offices will suffice. Once you have this, I would enclose a copy of it to HB and tell them to go and (politely) do one.

 

Just out of interest, I was overpaid Income Support for several months some years ago.... and when the discrepancy was discovered, there was no requirement to pay it back. They are paid to assess the correct entitlement, not us.

 

(One of several stuff-ups over the years, I might add !) :rolleyes:

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As you informed the DWP and they stated they would inform HB you could claim the defence of overpayment estoppel. This relies on the fact that you acted in good faith and had you known they hadnt been informed you would have returnded the overpaid forthwith.

 

Excellent advice, you and Surprise!

 

Let me add, the chap at Job Centre stated categorically that it is their official procedure to notify Bromley Council of cessation of JSA. I started to pin him down, then he said that a dozen or so people sign off every week, and they've been telling claimants for YEARS that they'll discontinue the HB.

 

Here's some interesting text from the back of the Council's letter:

 

"Overpayments:

 

Most overpayments of Housing Benefit are recoverable. The only exception are those overpayments which occur as a result of 'official error' where the claimant or the person receiving the benefit did not contribute to the error and could not have reasonably known about the error at the time the payment was made".

 

"Official error"...interestingly and I think deliberately vague clause.

Does that include only those errors made by the offices and officials of the Council, or does that extend to those made by the DWP?

 

Did I contribute to the error? If the legal onus is upon me to directly notify the Council, then my failure to do so is a contribution.

 

Could I have reasonably known? As it turns out, I didn't notice. It was a good contract there was a bit of money flowing through my account after the first month, every week.

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My daughter has just advised that as its Bromley Council she's not surprised as they outsource their HB. Also the reason she wanted to know whether your JSA was income based or contribution apparently if its income based the JC are obliged to notify the LA but if its contribution then they are not obliged to.

 

When writing you should also give them 14 days to sort the problem out. You could also mention that if the outcome is not satisfactory then you will refer the matter to the Ombudsman. I would also be inclined to let them know they you know that it should have been actioned in 9 days, not 90.

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My daughter has just advised that as its Bromley Council she's not surprised as they outsource their HB. Also the reason she wanted to know whether your JSA was income based or contribution apparently if its income based the JC are obliged to notify the LA but if its contribution then they are not obliged to.

 

When writing you should also give them 14 days to sort the problem out. You could also mention that if the outcome is not satisfactory then you will refer the matter to the Ombudsman. I would also be inclined to let them know they you know that it should have been actioned in 9 days, not 90.

 

Please thank your daughter on my behalf, Surprise! Frankly I've got half a mind to invoice them for the damn time spent on this matter!

 

I see why they are screwing up so royally with the outsourcing, I've been...let's just say, intimately involved with one of their suppliers, the sheer maladministration and waste would horrify you.

 

In the words of the Client Liaison Manager to me; "I've had to tell the client so many effing lies so they don't know we're in breach of Service Agreement, if you can't sort this we're all in deep crap".

 

That's as specific as I want to get right now, but we're talking telephone numbers, believe me.

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I dont think that billing them for the time you have wasted trying to sort this out will get you anywere but there is not harm in trying.

 

Chrissi

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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I wouldn't be surprised at the waste, I know from my daughter. For example she is a contractor and does not work for any one particular council and travels about, her hourly rate is £31.00ph. Why don't they pay their permanent staff a good salary to keep them. She worked at one Council where there were six contractors. Doesn't take a genius to see where money is wasted.

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Oh god yes that is a waste of money really.

 

I use to work for an recruitment agency and l work in one place were l was getting paid more than the supervisors per hour was. he was on £5 summing and l was on £7 summing he was fuming when l told him and came and worked for the recruitment agency as one of the supervisors.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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I wouldn't be surprised at the waste, I know from my daughter. For example she is a contractor and does not work for any one particular council and travels about, her hourly rate is £31.00ph. Why don't they pay their permanent staff a good salary to keep them. She worked at one Council where there were six contractors. Doesn't take a genius to see where money is wasted.

 

What does she do, if I may ask? Public Sector is always the poorest payer because it's a government job, thus rock-solid after you pass your probationary period, thus it attracts bunches of unambitious people who work flat out in the first 9 months, then slack off. No offence to any Public Sector people reading this, I've seen eager beavers in the Council, but they were rare.

 

It's only in the last few years that HR practices in Public Sector have been subtly retooled to TRY to weed out future slackers before they are even interviewed, but of course, you still have a majority of 'Legacy' staff.

 

Such people aren't particularly ambitious, and as such the more ambitious you are, the likelier you'll be in the Private Sector. Hopefully as I finish up my training in the next few weeks, I'll never have to set foot outside the Private Sector again.

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She is a Housing Benefit Contractor. She does Assessing and Overpayments. Currently working for an Agency who charge £31 per hour she gets £22.00. She has just set up her own company so that she will get her own contracts thus it will be cheaper for the councils to employ her. She already has several councils who ask for her back when they have the funding but, not surprising, they often run out of budget before year end.

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Suprise

 

l am not suprised about that at all.

 

Maybe CAG could teach them a lesson in budgeting there money better.

 

Chrissi.

OFT debt collection guidance

 

Please remember the only stupid question is the one you dont ask so dont worry about asking the stupid questions.

 

Essex girl in pc world looking 4 curtains 4 her pc,the assistant says u dont need curtains 4 a computer!!Essex girl says,''HELLOOO!! i,ve got WINDOWS!!'.

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