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council officers unexpected visit


kungfu-king
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i have just had 2 council officers at my door unexpected wanting to discuss my housing benifit they came in but as i had visitors they said they would come another time and left a card with a phone number. when i phoned they said they couldnt tell me what its about but then read somthing off their screen that amounted to its about who lives with you.

when i put in the claim for housing benifit i got a call to my mobile and a friend answered it and passed the phone to me after the questions the council asked me who had answered my phone and if they lived with me as id stated on the form it was only me and my daughter that lived here i said no.

can anyone advise me as to what my rights are as to surprise visits. it feels as if i am being accused of somthing do i have a right to know what they want over the phone i would rather they did not visit me at home but dont want to seem as if im hiding somthing

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i phoned and asked what they wanted this morning they said it was just to see if everything is ok with housing benifit i said yes then they said they will need to make an apointment for next week strange when ive told them everything was fine. i told them not to come without an appointment they told me they can come at a moments notice which i think is wrong.

 

then i caught them out i phoned the main reception and told them the name left on the card they said that is the investigation department

 

anyone know my rights on this?

can i refuse entry?

do i have a right to know what the investigation is for?

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I saw that programme on the telly yesterday and it seemed a lot of it is to check circumstances, some random some not. But personally I would rather them if a problem occured speaking to me in my house rather than where I do not feel safe.

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Depends what you signed up to. The single person discount forms for Council Tax Benefit states within the declaration which a customer must sign, " I understand that if I give information that is wrong or not complete or fail to report a change which may affect my discount I may face a fine. I authorise the Council to check the information on this form and make any necessary enquiries to verify the information on this form. I have no objection to the council inspecting the property"

 

It doesn't specify whether the investigation of the property in inside or outside, and I suspect that benefit claims forms would have the same or a similar declaration for all local authority benefits.

 

After all if they suspect fraud and you know what time they are coming round and when, it gives a person time to "hide the evidence". If a claimant refuses to comply with a reasonable request for the council to perform an investigation, they can suspend benefit until the claimant does comply.

 

If you are not commiting fraud, it's simple to let them in, do their thing and leave, job done. If you don't comply with them then they have reason to suspect you are commiting fraud. Suspicion and non compliance is enough to suspend benefit.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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The more I think on it I had one of those calls some years ago and assumed they were welfare rights, I wasnt well and confused, they needed details of ex partner to persue for csa and it was them who told me they would put things in motion for me to claim dla. They also put notes on file that helped me later on, so these visits can be a good thing. They are just as likely to inform you if you have not claimed enough benefit as well as too much I would think.

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they just seemed so eager to come to my house and couldnt ask their questions over the phone and were very rude to me on the phone. i live in a respectful area their are no council houses in the street and i dont want two council officers turning up at my door with stab proof vests on and council logos everywhere showing all my neibours i get benifits. surely it is my right to denie access to anyone especialy without an apointment. i mean my daughter is 11 months old and doesnt wear many clothes around the house and for 2 people to turn up unexpected and me not to let them in would this give them suspition that i am comiting fraud

if my benifit was suspended because of their suspition and eviction procedings were started me and my daughter could lose our home surely they would have to prove me guilty of comiting fraud not just suspect me before they cause me all that bother

its innocent until proven guilty is it not?

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If a claimant refuses to comply with a reasonable request for the council to perform an investigation, they can suspend benefit until the claimant does comply.

 

a reasonable request is not ringing and banging on my door at 9 am asking to come in then not telling me anything about an investigation i found this out for myself

 

after all when i went to their office to claim they wouldnt see me without an apointment

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I wouldn't like anyone turning up at my door without prior knowledge either. I'm only answering the questions you asked. Again, you most probably signed in agreement to it within your declaration when you claimed benefit.

 

They would need to have proof to convict you in a court of benefit fraud, or to issue you with a caution. If they suspect you are commiting fraud and you refuse to comply with an investigation then yes they do have the right to suspend benefit payments until you do comply, or until the investigation is complete.

 

Fraud isn't the only reason a council can suspend benefits. For example, if one half of a couple claiming benefit passes away, the claim is suspended upon them being informed of the death and a new claim assessed on the surviving partner. If it is accepted that the surviving partner is entitled to benefit in his or her own right, the benefit payments are made and backdated.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Depends what you signed up to. The single person discount forms for Council Tax Benefit states within the declaration which a customer must sign, " I understand that if I give information that is wrong or not complete or fail to report a change which may affect my discount I may face a fine. I authorise the Council to check the information on this form and make any necessary enquiries to verify the information on this form. I have no objection to the council inspecting the property"

 

You raise an interesting point here, because if a person meets the conditions of entitlement and makes a claim they have a legal right to benefit. The council does not have the power to impose further conditions.

 

There is no special power to make home visits, but they can require information to be provided, and can draw inferences if there is a genuine doubt over entitlement.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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Like I said I don't know if that appears on benefit forms, but it certainly appears on the single person discount form provided by my local council - I've completeted it 5 times and am STILL waiting for my discount.

 

I'm completing one final form and if I don't get an answer within a reasonable timescale I will be taking it further. I've waited years for my discount and they refuse to back date it, stating the proof I have previsouly provided that I live alone is not enough - despite my providing solicitor letters detailing the breakdown of my former relationship, and despite proving copies of crime ref numbers and court citations against him. I don't know how clearer they want me to make it!

 

They have also removed my ex from the Council Tax Bill so they are perfectly AWARE I live alone. Yes I am in a relationship with someone else now but he doesn't live with me

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hi, i really would arrange an appointment as soon as possible. If you are doing nothing wrong then just do what they ask and then you can get on and not worry anymore.

My friend has this happen to her yearly where she has to show them her bank statements and any other financial paperwork. She says they are usually very polite and just do what they have to do then leave.

I realize why it's upset you but i think you are probably worrying about nothing. If they knock again and your daughter is semi clothed then just politely ask them to wait whilst you dress her.

 

Hope you get sorted and can forget about it then.

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