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Overpayment of Housing Benefit

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Hi Everyone ,

Am a long time lurker , great forums that have helped me without the need to register so far but here I am with an issue Id like advice on if possible , Id be very grateful for any advice so thanks in advance .

 

 

Basically I am claiming JSA but only get my NI Contributions paid for me , which I am grateful for , as my partner has an income which is deemed to be enough to live on for the two of us , but here's my query ,

We have been claiming HB and were paid a said amount each month , back in April my partners income went up a little , we had confirmation of the amount at the beginning of May 2009 , we therefore told the HB offices of this change and were told to wait for the outcome .

I have recieved a letter today dated 29th June 2009 explaining that our entitlement has gone down by £8 a week . Fair enough . But they are saying an overpayment has been made to the amount of £83.50 ? ?

 

I know I can appeal this decision and I will , as we informed them on the 5th May 2009 that a change had occured as from April 2009 so fair enough we are liable for a months worth of overpayment , we accept that , and that amounts to around £33, but as we informed them of the change on the 5th May 2009 surely we are not liable for any further overpayments since then .

 

Notice how long it has taken for them to come to this decision aswell , 5th May 2009 we informed them , the letter I recieved today is dated 29th June 2009 ? ?

 

I have argued that we were not to know of any overpayments that may have been made , we told them , allbeit a month late of a change in income but they are saying they will recover the overpayments via our HB payments .

I hope this all makes sense , I have tried to keep it as simple as possible.

Any tips on what I should say in the letter of appeal to them please ?

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Yes it makes sense, don't worry they are in the wrong.

First thing they 'should' have done when you informed them of an increase to your income, is to have suspended your HB, so whilst they were re-calculating your new entitlement the actual money they can recover would have been minimal, £33 like you say.

 

You clearly have grounds to appeal this decision, and should do so. The best and most immediate solution is to ask for an appointment with them and turn up at the LA with all the relevant paper work, 3 months bank statements, other income JSA etc.

 

Then sit down with them and go through the whole process, and you can argue there and then that the figure they claim to be able to recover seems incorrect, and how have they arrived at that figure?

 

And yes, the argument that, they were in receipt of all of the relevant information and you can not be held liable for any overpayment, as you can not be held responsible for their failure to act upon that information.

 

I have used that line on three separate occasions with my LA over their 'claim' of alleged HB over payment!;)


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Any tips on what I should say in the letter of appeal to them please ?

 

True to form, I only half read the thread at first, now just re-read it again!

 

Depending on how far away your LA is (Local Authority-council) then I would try to speak to them face to face, as I have found this normally negates any confusion.

But write also, to get a paper trail of evidence, just use the line that you cannot be held responsible for their failure to act upon the information you gave them, also question them as to why they didn't suspend your HB whilst they were making a decision:rolleyes:


Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Appreciate your response Boo , thank you.

 

As far as I am concerned , and I maybe wrong, but I informed them of the change once we knew how much the increase would be and had it on paper to prove aswell , I admit we have been ovepayed by one month but like I said we gave them the info nearly 2 months ago and only now they have responded , they claim it took so long becuase of the high volume they have been getting but Like I said " Not my fault "

 

I will draw up a letter and take it into them asap .

 

If in the meantime they do take any overpayments can I claim them back ? I only ask because by the time they look at my appeal they will have taken some of it back .

 

Thanks again :)

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So long as you notified the LA within 1 month of the change occurring then you will be able to appeal their overpayment decision. The appeal has to be in writing, and I would not bother going to see the LA as

 

 

  1. They probably won't do anything
  2. There will be no paper trail of your visit and what was discussed

In your appeal I recommend that you refer to the regulations regarding overpayment

 

The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

 

Recoverable overpayments

100
- (1) Any overpayment, except one to which paragraph (2) applies, shall be recoverable.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4) this paragraph applies to an overpayment caused by an official error where the claimant or a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the payment is made could not, at the time of receipt of the payment or of any notice relating to that payment, reasonably have been expected to realise that it was an overpayment.

(3) In paragraph (2), "overpayment caused by official error" means an overpayment caused by a mistake made whether in the form of an act or omission by—

(a) the relevant authority;

(b) an officer or person acting for that authority;

© an officer of —

(i) the Department for Work and Pensions; or

(ii) Revenue and Customs,
acting as such; or

(d) a person providing services to the Department for Work and Pensions or to the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,

where the claimant, a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the payment is made, did not cause or materially contribute to that mistake, act or omission.

(4) Where in consequence of an official error, a person has been awarded rent rebate to which he was not entitled or which exceeded the benefit to which he was entitled, upon the award being revised any overpayment of benefit, which remains credited to him by the relevant authority in respect of a period after the date on which the revision took place, shall be recoverable.

And the Council Tax Regulations 2006

 

Recoverable excess benefit

83.
— (1) Any excess benefit, except benefit to which paragraph (2) applies, shall be recoverable.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4) and (5) and excepting any excess benefit arising in consequence of a reduction in tax or substitution to which regulation 82 refers, this paragraph applies to excess benefit allowed in consequence of an official error, where the claimant or a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the excess benefit is allowed could not, at the time the benefit was allowed or upon the receipt of any notice relating to the allowance of that benefit, reasonably have been expected to realise that it was excess benefit.

(3) In paragraph (2), "excess benefit allowed in consequence of an official error" means an overpayment caused by a mistake made whether in the form of an act or omission by—

(a) the relevant authority;

(b) an officer or person acting for that authority;

© an officer of—

(i) the Department for Work and Pensions; or

(ii) the Commissioners for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,

acting as such; or

(d) a person providing services to the Department or to the Commissioners referred to in ©,

where the claimant, a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the payment is made, did not cause or materially contribute to that mistake, act or omission.

 

(4) Paragraph (2) shall not apply with respect to excess benefit to which regulation 82(a) and (b) refers.

(5) Where in consequence of an official error a person has been awarded excess benefit, upon the award being revised any excess benefit which remains credited to him by the relevant authority in respect of a period after the date of the revision, shall be recoverable.

 

This is a statue instrument and is law. Too often LA's will try and recover overpayments caused by their error and too often people will let them do so.

Edited by installspark
typo

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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Cheers Installspark ,

I have done exactly that and inserted those laws

 

Cheers again.

We shall see .

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Sorry to hear about your problems.

 

I am going through a similar experience, i would try and sort it out with the LA, if that fails then start the appeal process.

 

If you intend to start the appeal process make sure the recovery of overpayments are put on hold until the appeal process has finished, the LA know that this is good practice but are reluctant to do this until asked.

 

Hope you get things sorted, keep us informed.


The retailers worst nightmare !

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Thaks Big Boss Man , will certainly ask them to do that.

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