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Can you SAR the benefits office?


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Hi, I wonder if someone can advise me please.

 

A friend of mine who's on benefits called the benefits office a couple of weeks ago to find out how much she had left to pay on a loan because she needs another one.

 

She was told she still had 4,000 to pay back (the loan was about 495.00) when she asked why it was 4,000 she was told that she had been overpaid in benefits in excess of 20,000 and they had been taking back about 8.00 per week since 1991.

 

She says she'd never known about this and hadn't been informed by the benefits office about any repayment for such a large sum. They promised to send her copies of their paperwork by Tuesday just gone but she never received this. When she tried calling them today the person she spoke to said they didn't have to send anything and that she will carry on having these deductions made until it's paid back.

 

Can a SAR be sent to the benefits office?

or can anybody advise on the best way to go

 

Many thanks

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Hi, I wonder if someone can advise me please.

 

She was told she still had 4,000 to pay back (the loan was about 495.00) when she asked why it was 4,000 she was told that she had been overpaid in benefits in excess of 20,000 and they had been taking back about 8.00 per week since 1991.

 

or can anybody advise on the best way to go

 

Many thanks

 

 

I had a similar situation a few years ago, because I moved from the south up here and the benefit offices didnt communicate with each other so up here they continued taking loan payments for 2 years - in the end I had to get professional help because benefits people are really tricky. They think their god and know it all. Really depends on who you speak to. Anyhoo, because I got help they had to pay me over £2000 for taking money off my benefits that they shouldnt have been :grin:

 

As for overpayments its a real shame that your friend didnt get a letter because if she had, it would have been very cleverly worded (as mine was) to look like you HAVE to pay it back - well I spoke to a manager at the benefits office and had it from the horses mouth that you dont have to pay back overpayments as it is their mistake and especially if its not picked up in time.

 

Is she sure she didnt get a letter? It would be of use. Benefits are a really dodgy area, and Id say espcecially in your friends case because of the complexities, length of time etd. I STRONGLY advise your friend to get some professional help (not CAB as they're overstretched and dont have the same resources).

 

I can give you a link to the (free) goverment approved organisation I used (they are actually solicitors that specialise in various areas of law eg benefits, housing, discrimmination etc -) they helped me appeal my DLA as well. Really nice people.

 

They will get all the paperwork and as they are recognised by all the benefits agencies (my advisor was on first name terms with the manager of the DLA office!)

 

Let me know if you want the link. :)

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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summanotre can i have the link to that solicitor please as i have a dla appeal coming up soon

 

Thanks

 

PF

Finally if you succeed with your claim please consider a donation to consumer action group as those donations keep this site alive.

 R.I.P BOB aka ROOSTER-UK you have always been a Gent on these boards and you will be remembered for that.

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Sure, no problem. They deal with a whole range of things. They are called Community Legal Advice and are part of Howells solicitors.

 

Link to their benefits site:

 

Benefits and tax credits

 

 

Link to their homepage:

 

Community Legal Advice - free legal advice for residents of England and Wales, paid for by legal aid

 

Word of warning I DO NOT RECOMMEND THEIR DEBT DEPARTMENT - they are really bad and the managers a right pig!

 

That does not apply to the benefits section - I can personally vouch for that and mr. Jaggers my adviser there :-D

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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I've been in contact with them before. The debt department, dunno about them being pigs but they were useless, lost all my original documents. I'll pass the benefits bit onto my friend though.

 

Thanks again

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I've been in contact with them before. The debt department, dunno about them being pigs but they were useless, lost all my original documents.

 

tell your friend NOT to send original documents in - this is acceptable; but if they insist (although lovely mr.jaggers didnt with me) then make sure your friend keeps copies if they do have to send originals (cant see that happening IMHO)

 

Thanks again

 

Yes the debt department are useless - but having spoken with the manager personally after complaining about their useless staff (didnt say it like that of course) I can say he REEAALLY REEALLY REAALY IS A VERY VERY VERY HORRIBLE PERSON!!! :-x

 

The benefits section - now thats a different kettle of fish - really good and dont b******t you either. :D

 

Best wishes & good luck to your friend

 

:)

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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I gave my mate their number today and told her to have a word with them. I said that if they ask for anything in writing to come to me first so we can get proper advice from my new found CAG family ;)

 

Thanks again Summanotre

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Thats ok. I hope everything goes well - they worked for me anyway!!

Best wishes

:)

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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Can a SAR be sent to the benefits office?

or can anybody advise on the best way to go

 

Many thanks

 

A SAR can be made to the benefit office. Your friend will need to make a written request to the Data Protection Officer at the office which deals with the benefit concerned and include name, address, NINO and DOB. There is no charge for this.

The advice I give in relation to benefits should be viewed as general advice and not specific to your individual claim circumstances. I cannot give specific advice on your claim as I cannot access the claim.

 

If you find the advice useful please click on my scales.

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A SAR can be made to the benefit office. Your friend will need to make a written request to the Data Protection Officer at the office which deals with the benefit concerned and include name, address, NINO and DOB. There is no charge for this.

 

Yes but a SAR will cost £10 - why not let people who are experts deal with the whole thing for free? do all the legwork too? The most up2meears' friend will have to do is sign an authorisation letter which has to be returned and they supply the envelope.

 

If you havent dealt with the benefit office in relation to the problems that up2meears' friend has - I strongly advise dont do it on your own. Ive been there - it doesnt work, the benefits office will stonewall you from the minute you write to them - they dont even take much notice of CAB. CLA are well recognised by all benefits offices and must follow government guidelines and rules, which they have full access to. They are solicitors trained in this area - they are called not called 'the peoples solicitor' for nothing. Why not let them do the work? they know exactly what they are doing.

 

Why go through the hassle of initiating the complaint and then have to research your position? and do all the legwork that will take a lot of time & lets not forget the added stress.

 

Your friends decision but Ive been in EXACTLY the same position and when I tried to do something about it by myself I was given the same response for 2 YEARS! It wasnt till I got professional help that they then had to repay me. It nearly got to court level - the CLA can help here too, but because of their intervention, it didnt get that far and I got my money. An amount such as your friends is not going to be easy to reclaim, it may well become a legal fight. More money involved - more benefits office dig their heels in, especially if the complainant is trying to do this by themselves. No back up, more they ignore you or send out the same letters over and over.

 

If your friend is not sure whether she is entitled to legal aid which will enable her to get CLA services free, all she has to do is ask (If she doesnt want to pay for the phonecall they will call her back) they will let her know. If she's not entitled to legal aid they may offer another solution - failing that, by all means use the method suggested above - just hope she doesnt have to, its a horrible experience,extremely stressful. The more money involved, the harder it is to get a positive result on your own cogniscance.

 

As I say, your friends decision - benefits - a minefield!

 

Good luck whatever decision your friend makes.

Edited by summanotre
added information + spelling corrections

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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Thanks for your advice summanotre, I'll make her aware of the options and leave the final decision to her. It is difficult to get yourself heard with these people and I know they do take their time (unless they want something from you).

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Yes but a SAR will cost £10

 

Incorrect in this case. These are provided without charge, DWP/Jobcentreplus/HMRC are one of the few organizations who do not charge for a SAR.

 

The £10 is the maximum amount an organization can charge a data subject, not a broad based flat amount.

The advice I give in relation to benefits should be viewed as general advice and not specific to your individual claim circumstances. I cannot give specific advice on your claim as I cannot access the claim.

 

If you find the advice useful please click on my scales.

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Installspark, would they only have details of the past six years? or should they have details since benefit started? because this is apparantley regarding an overpayment from 1991. Also do you have a letter template that we could use for guidence.

 

Thank you for advice.

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Incorrect in this case. These are provided without charge, DWP/Jobcentreplus/HMRC are one of the few organizations who do not charge for a SAR.

 

The £10 is the maximum amount an organization can charge a data subject, not a broad based flat amount.

 

Mmm...I didnt know that (obviously) but it does seem like you are pushing up2meears' friend into taking on what will be an extremely prolonged and stressful action. As I said, been there - done that. The benefits office continued incorrectly deducting money from my benefits for 5 years - and it took me 2 years on top of that to get it sorted out once and for all using free or without charge (I'll stress it seeing as the amount of stress put on these phrases seems to be increasing with each post ) professional help.

 

If up2meears' friend has the stamina to go the hard way and is not under stress or doesnt get stressed easily - then great, go for it! But Im not going to get into a p*****g contest over which method is going to get the best results. So I am bowing out of the conversation.

 

Its up2meears' friend and I sincerely hope things are sorted out quickly, whatever method is used.

 

:)

Edited by summanotre
grammar & extra wording

Magna res est vocis et silentii temperamentum

 

The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

 

(Seneca the Younger (attributed), Proverbs, 74)

 

 

Speech is given to many; intelligence to few - but if its well said, I said it!

:p

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