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Child Tax Credit Stupidity...


Psychoduck
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Hi there,

 

First of all, over the last year I've used this forum a lot and gotten help either in threads i made, or ones i read, and since everything is still ongoing, i've not closed my threads and said thank. So thanks now to everyone who has helped me, and anyone else, your work is greatly appreciated.

 

Anyway, on to my issue.

 

Me and my wife have no money. We both claim ESA. We have about £5 a month to spare. However, after personal growth within the last two years, we decided we wanted a child. It looked like I was getting back into work and everything was going fine.

 

By the time the baby came, my mental health had declined a little, and work was no longer on the cards. So we're still on ESA, and now child benefit too, and meant to be on child tax credits. (make no mistake, I fully intended to be in work by now, this wasn't meant to be all we had)

 

However, here is the issue. We made our claim on May the 5th. May 19th, our bank closed down (hsbc) we told HMRC and they sent us giros for the next two weeks. However, the two weeks from the 5th to the 14th, were paid to HSBC and we needed to wait for that to be refunded before we could get it.

 

After the two weeks of Giros were sent (June 1st) I phoned up to have an update on our account, which should now have been changed over to our building society (Brittania) I spent over an hour on the phone with the guy, and it costs me in excess of £8 (I used skype, so i can see the cost, and because it's cheaper than our virgin phone)

 

Throughout this time, I'm told our account was suspended as suspected fraud due to the sudden change of details 3 times. I explained we only changed once (from HSBC to Britannia... it was there choice to do the giros). But for some reason they had it down that we were giros, changed to hsbc, took two payments, went to giro, and then changed again to Britannia. So they think we're paying it to multiple peoples accounts. We were told now it was security cleared, it would take upto 30 days for our payment to change over.

 

However, the 30 days that the swap over takes, and the two payments still owed would not be payed to us. Instead, because it would be over 200 pound, it would be added to our payments throughout the rest of the year, at a rate of £4 a week.

 

This was no good, I'd borrowed £50 from my father who needed it back, and we'd sold some stuff to get money to pay for stuff we needed, which if we had gotten our payments of £62 a week, we'd have payed easily been able to have £10-20 a month set back in case of any emergencies. Due to illness me and my wife rarely go out, so nothing lavish was planned with any money. It's there for the baby and thats all.

 

I explained this, and was told if i'm lucky, I can get a hardship payment. Go into the Enquiry office and ask, I'll need to take my NI number.

 

So i made the 9 mile walk (would take 2 buses to get there, at £3.80 a pop for returns... and taxis would be £6 each way) and went to the centre, only to be told I need all manner of ID i was told I didn't need. So that was a waste, I do have an appointment with them tomorrow, but was told I may receive 10% of what is owed to me.

 

Today however, we got a letter. Our accounts had been switched over within the week, and we wouldn't have to wait 30 days, and one payment had gone in, along with money owing from before. Great!

 

And then i see, that despite me saying 100 times that it's a Britannia account, they have it down as Natwest. *facepalm*

 

So I've phoned them up, and have now been told that their systems have my sort code as a Natwest account. I explained it's not (and that child benefit pays it easily enough) and got told that as it's an error on their computer, they will issue more giros as their payments were refused to that account (as it does not exist) But they will need to change it on the system, and this time it WILL take 2 weeks. Possibly 3 if they're busy.

 

I asked about the hardship payment, and was told that I could try, but I'd be looking at a tiny sum of what is owed, and as their computers show they payed me what they owed (even though it says it was refused) and payed me this last weeks too, it will show they owe nothing, so I may well get nothing unless it updates over night :\

 

We're in quite a mess now though. We have no ESA until next thursday, we have food to last until Sunday, nappies til Friday, and thats it. No more money. We have electric and gas to pay, food for next week to get, nappies for next week, other bits and bobs. And if we'd had the £60 for last week and this, as we should, we'd be fine. But thanks to multiple cock ups at their end, we're incredibly stressed out (not good when we both have stress and anxiety disorders) and worried about what will happen tomorrow at the Enquiry Office, which seems like the only place where we'll be able to get any of the money.

 

 

So yeah, that was a full account of the issues we're having... i think... my question now is; has anyone dealt with an Enquiry Office before for hardship payments, and how did it go? what were you entitled to? and how understanding are they?

 

Cause I don't fancy a 9 mile trek tomorrow to be told "Sorry, we have nothing showing as owing. bye"

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I can't help with the tax credit side however if you don't have any luck with them in securing money, you can ring DWP for a crisis loan if you are without essentials such as food, nappies, gas/electric and have no other resource. It's a freephone number (the number varies depending on where you live) and you will get the decision the same day. If you are awarded, you will need to go to your nearst jobcentre with two forms of ID to collect the giro and can cash it straight away at your nominated post office.

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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Please keep us posted Psychoduck. This reads like a Kafkaesque nightmare, I suspect that getting if/when you ask for a Crisis Loan the nightmare is going to intensify. Let us know before you phone for a CL so I can give you some tips to help your chances of success.

 

Regards and good luck,

Paul.

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Ok I just got back. Appointment took just about 90 minutes.

 

When i got there, I had the usual issues with I.D. Not having a driving license or a passport, i need bills and birth certificates. As this is a joint claim, and referencing my son i took the following.

 

My birth certificate.

My wifes B.C.

My childs B.C.

Our marriage certificate.

A letter from J.S.A (addressed to my wife)

A letter from the council addressed to us both.

 

They refused to look at my wifes info, since she was not there. The baby proof did not matter, as he was not able to look at the info anyway. So that left me with my BC, my Wedding Certificate, and the council letter.

 

The council letter was dated May 7th. Being June 6th, it was 3 months and 3 days old. They refused to accept it as it needed to be newer that 3 months. After much arguing, they finally accepted just the wedding and birth certificates.

 

I explained the issues I had (as mentioned in the first post). The man i spoke to then got on the phone to the head office to try and get help. The passed him on to someone else. Who passed him on to someone else. Repeat that no less than 5 times (not even exaggerating there)

 

He finally got hold of someone who could help him, who put him on hold. At which point he looked at me like this was a difficult phone call for him, bear in mind each time he called he got through immediately. I often have to phone these imbeciles and wait 30-45 minutes to get through, and then get told to try someone else. So I had no sympathy, and told him so too :p

 

After much more faffing, we got the explanation that Natwest are the sorting bank for Britannia and thats why they show as the bank. I explained that just because they're the sorting bank, that doesn't mean you pay in to them. I cant go into Natwest, give them my Britannia details and draw out or pay in money. It doesn't work like that.

 

He didn't understand this, so i explained again, slowly. Still didn't get it. He got back on the phone to the man helping him, who promised to go in to the system and reprofile my specific payments so it goes to Britannia and not Natwest. This will take another 7 days. Giros that were due will be cancelled. All monies owed should come at the same time. I bet they dont though.

 

With regards to the money i've had to borrow to make up for not getting payments, they did offer the hardship payment which was 10% of what was due to me (they worked it out at owing me £167 as a giro was in processing) £16 would be nice. But it wont help me enough. I explained that, and he vanished to an office.

 

The manager then came out, apologised on behalf of the HMRC for their cock ups, and gave me the maximum they can offer which is £50. Which i took.

 

So after much messing around, I have my £50 to help me, and now hopefully next week I shall have a payment in my account as well... whether it's a full payment with the outstanding amounts as well remains to be seen.

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