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angryandy

Housing Benefit Dispute Advice Asap Please

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Alright again guys.

 

Need some advice pretty urgently please.

 

I have disputed my housing benefit overpayment for last year and it looks as though it is going to an independent tribunal some time in the next few months.

 

However the council are taking money from my new housing benefit award to 'claw back money from last year'.

 

I have recently been made redundant so have no income other than JSA coming in but the problem is all of my rent is now not getting paid because of the council's 'claw back'.

 

I will now have to find nearly £50 a month out of my own very small pocket to pay the rest of my rent. I have two children under 4 years old to feed and could not nearly afford this.

 

On to my question then.

 

It was my understanding that if you put in a dispute, and i have based off the council's sheer lack of regard for my income last year, the overpayment should be put on hold like any other debt. Could somebody or a few of you let me know where i stand on this as the council are refusing to stop taking payments out of my benefit.

 

I literally can't afford this so please help.

 

Thanks again for your support in advance people

 

Andy...


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

Firstly I recommend you look at section 13 here:

 

The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

 

Then write and complain to the Chief executive of the council you are with. Don't bother with the minions as they are following orders.

 

Try to keep you letter short and sweet. The chief exec probably won't see the letter but one of his/her assistants will and throw the problem down the chain to the relevant person who will act as an order from up high has more importance than one from you.

 

I have seen it somewhere that while an overpayment is being disputed, they shouldn't be collecting the arrears without your permission. Whether that is law, I'm not sure.

 

Have you formally complained to anyone?

 

fox


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Hi Silverfox.

 

I am going to go to see the council now as this is my second dispute.

 

My first dispute letter was given in 6 weeks ago and i had a reply to it stating that they did not believe my income so they will estimate it for me and take that as my actual wage:confused:

 

I have give my second letter of appeal in on the 10th July which states that they can't estimate my wage when they have my full financial accounts in front of them according to the housing benefit regulations 2006.

 

When i phoned the council just a few hours ago they said they will continue to take the alledged overpayment out of my new payments until it is proved i am right and they are wrong.

 

May i just point out i have had no less than 18 letters in the last two months asking for payment of overpayment which i class as harassment and have near enough been called a liar as to my accounts not being to their liking.

 

I have stated in my second dispute letter that i will be seeking damages for stress, harassment and slander based on everything that has happened to me so far.

 

Sorry about the long thread just thought you might like to know more


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By the way just looked at section 13 and i can't see anything that states anything about it being in dispute. Maybe you could help?


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Like I said, I have seen it somewhere but I don't know if it is law or not.

 

Have you got your MP, MEP and local councillor involved yet. If not, it can't hurt to do so. I'm not sure if it's time to involve the ombudsman yet as you need to explore all complaint avenues first.

 

Another thought, do a search on Notional Income. Councils use this but they have to be careful how it's used.


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Dont have anyone else involved yet-as you say, we need to explore all avenues first which we are trying to do.just had a look at national income info, and am i right in gathering that this is some sort of income calculator ie, defining my income in accordance with the average national?

also has just struck me that while they are trying to claw back out of my new benefit, we are recieving threatening letters asking for payment in full or referral to bailiffs!!!! its all weighing up to look like we have some good evidence to claim harrasment though.

Thanks very much, Andy


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I too cant find the bit of legislation about not having to pay back an overpayment whilst it is in dispute, but will check in my CPAG book tomorrow..

 

Have you tried your MP, they are usually pretty good.

 

Otherwise the Local Government Ombudsman

 

And First–tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) , also deal with HB, worth giving them a call I think!

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Thanks for your input then guys and if you find out about this then please let me know.

 

It seems to be a bit of a sticky subject where no body seems to know what the regulations are.

 

Again if you find out then i would be most grateful to keep me informed

 

Andy...


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There is nothing in the regs re not recovering during a pending appeal. That is because although it's perfectly legal to recover the overpayment it is seen as good practice not to whilst an appeal is pending. Commisioners take a dim view of recovery continuing whilst an appeal is ongoing. This not only helps for HB but for any benefit. I'm trying to find some case law for you which has been sucessfully used. Bear 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

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CIS/2654/99

 

R(s)2/74

 

and

 

R(SB)5/91

 

see here: CIS/2654/99 - Google Search

 

and here: http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/rs/2_80.pdf

 

and here: Social Security & Child Support Commissioners

 

Hopefully you can use these as a reference. I'd strongly recommend getting a Welfare Rights officer to look into this for you. Mention the above to them and they'll look into it and get a letter in.

 

They have been used as "case law" in appeals brought at later datesconcerning all sorts of benefit, for example:

 

Aha, here we are. Scroll down to the yellow highlighted area: Commissioners Decision

 

 

More info: http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/HB_CTB_A13_2006.doc


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 Erika and thanks again.

 

I have scrolled down to the yellow area but can't seem to work out what it means.

 

It seems i think to be stating that they have got to pay me benefits while an appeal is lodged. I am still getting benefits but they are reducing them to claw back their so called 'overpayment'. This is leaving me roughly £50 a month short towards my rent which by no means can i afford.

 

I went to my local council yesterday in person to explain my situation but all i got off them was 'if you are right you will get your money back'.

 

This doesn't seem right as i haven't got the money to give in the first place.

 

You mention the commissioner and local MP or Welfare officer and to be honest i would not know how to get hold of these sorts of people.

 

Any advice on how to go about getting hold of these people and what to do when i do get hold of them would be very appreciated.

 

Also if i win my appeal i will seriously be going for damages as i feel my family and i have been subject to harassement, slander and have been horribly stressed in this whole ordeal.

 

Can give you more info on that if you want but that might be for another day.

 

Thanks again people

 

Andy...


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Morning,

Go on to your councils website and that should give you some ides of how to find your local councillor and welfare rights officer but also go here:

 

UK Parliament - Search (Find Your MP)

 

tap your postcode in and it will tell you who your MP is and give you a link to contact them


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

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Thanks Silverfox.

 

What should i say when i get hold of them. Am i just mentioning my housing benefit dispute or everything else that has gone with it? ie All letters i have had off council (harassement), slander (they do not believe my income and have told me such), letter stating i had 14 days to pay up or legal action will be taken or sent to bailiffs (went council yesterday and they said that letter had now been cancelled) i haven't recieved a letter to state this and even if i did the damage has already been done, and finally all the stress they have caused me and my family.

 

Again your help is very welcome

 

Andy...


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A relative of mine is a local councillor and the council hate it when they get involved. The councillor relies on your vote and will do their bit to help (if they can). Councils hate it even more when an MP gets involved :) As the European elections are just over, your MEP may be willing to help as well.

 

A little aside here. Back in the 80's I claimed HB but didn't claim Family credit as that would cause me confusion. The council said I had to claim FC or they would use Notional Income to assess my claim. I refused so they did. I contacted everyone, MP,MEP,Ombudsman and my local councillor and in the end I won because the rules said they "MAY" not "HAD TO" use Notional income.

 

Either way, just write giving a brief synopsis to your councillor/MP/MEP and let them contact you.

 

Whenever you visit the council offices, make sure you get a receipt showing that you have visited and stating the reason why you have been there. Some council staff will forget about you as soon as you leave/put the phone down. Sad but it does happen. I have had both sides, both brilliant staff and useless staff.


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Shall i E-mail them or write a letter to them.

 

Also as we speak now the postman has just been with-yes you guessed it two more letters off the council dated, one the 8th July and one the 9th. The one dated the 8th is stating that i owe £738.65 and that they will take £9.25 per week out of my new entitlement to pay it back.

 

The one dated the 9th is stating my new housing benefit award telling me again they will be taking £19.50 a fortnight to recover the so called overpayment. This will leave me £40 short every month for my rent.

 

On another point though i seem to be working one step ahead of the council as i had my letter of appeal in last week and this letter also states i have one calendar month to appeal this decision.

 

In my opinion this is just another way to harass me further. The post around here is always pretty good when it comes to delivering letters the following day but it always seems in the councils case that they take over a week to reach me. I had one last week that took 'apparently' ten days to get to me according to the date of the letter and the date i finally recieved it.


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Email is fine to your MP/MEP but check to see if your councillor has email contact. You should get an automated reply followed by a letter a few days later asking you to ring one of the assistants helping the MP/MEP.

 

Make sure you print off any replies and emails you send.(don't always trust your PC)

 

From reading your posts, you are either with a housing association or a private landlord. Have you kept them informed of your issues with the council?


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

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Thanks Silverfox.

 

I am with a private landlord who luckily i get on well with.

 

I have obviously kept them informed on the situation as their rent is now two weeks late. I am getting the money tomorrow for their rent off the council.

 

What i haven't told them though is about the £40 shortfall there will be each month (hope to have it sorted by then). I am getting enough tomorrow to cover the rent though as it is getting back dated to the 8th June.

 

This is another question though. I was made redundant on the 2nd June so why is it not getting back dated to the 2nd.

 

It just seems to me they want you to struggle and that is what i am doing.


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This is another question though. I was made redundant on the 2nd June so why is it not getting back dated to the 2nd.

 

It just seems to me they want you to struggle and that is what i am doing.

 

 

Your HB claim was made on 2nd June, yes?

 

All HB claims are paid from the monday following your claim unless the day you claim is a monday. the 2nd of June was a Tuesday. I suspect that is why you didn't get it backdated.


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

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Yes the 2nd June.

 

One more point if i can.

 

The council have told me that my hb claim is always paid two weeks in arrears. My next payment is on the 30th July for £193. My rent is due on the 1st August. The council know this. This will leave me £230 short towards my rent.

 

What can i do to sort this out?

 

Do i have to tell my landlord they will be getting paid 2 weeks late every month as i haven't got £230 out of my own pocket.

 

Just to clarify then i can get my MP/MEP off my local councils website? I can send them an e-mail stating all of the problems i am having with this council.

 

Thanks for your support Silverfox

 

Greatly appreciated


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silverfox has advised how to locate your MP. Your local welfare rights officer can be found through your local authority. You can ring up and ask for the "Welfare rights representation unit" however, generally speaking an MP will carry far more clout than a WRO.

 

What I posted in short means that although legally they can recover the overpayment from benefit whilst appeal is pending, it is not good practice and tribunals/commisioners take a dim view of them doing this, even when the case has not turned out in favour of the claimant.


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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Thanks Erika.

 

Hopefully then it all looks good for me but you never know!

 

I have a thread in the Utilities forum that you answered yesterday so would be very grateful if you could take another look at that one please.

 

Everything is just getting on top of me at the moment

 

Thanks again Andy...


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Sorry Erika it wasn't you.

 

Thanks anyway


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Maybe some use as I'm one of those people on HB (eventually!). My story is that I was made redundant at the end of August 2008 and the cash ran out in January 2009. My JSA ran out in March. My wife (past retirement age) is still working full time plus she gets a small pension from other employment.

Okay the Housing Benefit saga etc. Before I explain remember that in these days of Computers, Nanny state and Big Brother 'they' have ways of 'catching you out'.

The Housing Benefits Officer will require 'all' payslips, bank statements and the such going back 3 months. They want to know all about your savings (as dependant on the defines benefits). JSA by the way is 'income' and goes towards taxable income. Unlike commercial companies they have a specific agenda to work from. They will want proof of rent as in the agreement (or morgage data). They are not interested in much else and believe me they pick over and up on everything.

You will never get 100% of rent if it's a private landlord and if I recall is limited to a maximum of 65% of market value. Your council normally have details of what this is within their web site. The Benefits officer will now do a calculation regarding 'only' Rent, Mortgage (interest only I think) and council tax. From this they will 'eventually' send you two letters and all the work for most councils is NW England based and not in your local office. The letters will show any back payments (in the case of over retirement age I believe will allow 6 months rather than the standard 1-3 months. The letters will show what they will pay on specific dates to you/your bank account and is normally forecast for a year ahead too.

If you think their decision is incorrect (and normally it's right!) you will have to prove the problem. Housing benefits cover exactly that and not utilities such as gas or electricity nor water rates. Whilst I hate the fact that my whole private life is now an open book to so many they will only work on facts. The real thing here is to be open and honest. If you try and 'get one over' it'll only be short lived and they know all the tricks in the book.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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I have only just read your thread and my daughter who is a housing benefit contractor as said the following

 

Im sure they can't recover whilst you are in dispute - however I have read the Housing benefit book and cant find anything at the moment - If they are insiting that you have on going recovery from your HB payment then write to them with you income and out goings and offer them to pay it back at a £1.00 week - and state that even though you do not agree with the overpayment - you have no option but to request reduced recovery rate due to your financial situation.

If she finds anything further out for you I will let you know.

 

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Thankyou Informed searcher and Surprise.

 

Informed searcher i think you might of missed the point a little bit here.

 

Firstly i am or should be getting all of my rent paid due to me being on JSA but the fact is that they are taking some of it for an 'apparent' overpayment last year. This is leaving me roughly £40 short per month which i now have to find out of my JSA. I honestly can't afford this.

 

Secondly, the 'overpayment' is based off them estimating my income rather than them taking my accounts seriously.

This is where my dispute lies.

 

Anyway i think i will take your advice surprise and write to the council asking them to reduce the recovery of benefit as i cannot afford to pay the extra £40.

 

Again if you can please keep me informed i would be most grateful.

 

All advice is welcome even if it seems i do not always agree with it but thanks again people and thanks for taking the time to read m thread.

 

Andy...


Andy...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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