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Housing Benefit Fraud allegation - IUC, where to go from here?


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Hi, im a first time poster on here and hope i can get some advice!

 

Six months ago, i notified the benefits agencies, via letter,that i was moving in with my partner and therefore no longer wished to claim HB, CTC,IS and all the other things that were on my list as a single mum and informed them of my change of address. The same letter was sent to all agencies and i called all agencies except Housing Benefit as their literature said this was not enough, and a letter was required.

 

The payments all stopped and some overpayments were recovered as expected as these things often take time to process. Housing Benefit, however, continued to be paid. Every month i re-sent the original letter, until after 4 months, i was very worried and wrote them a frantic letter with the original attatched. I had not sent any of the letters recorded delivery, much to my current regret. They responded to this, and a repayment schedule followed, the first installement of which i paid immediately.

 

Imagine my suprise when a day later i was invited for an interview under caution! I went throught the usual rigmoral so often outlined on this site of calling them, not knowing what it was about, searching for advice online, and decided to attend as a gesture of good faith with a statement prepared should i panic. Sure enough i panciked and read the statement, which basically said all thats written here, and that i guessed the allegation was i hadnt written the letters which i had, and that at no time had i attempted to defraud the benefits agencies. I then ended the interview and told them id like time to get legal advice.

 

 

I was then asked by the investigators "where do you want to go from here?"!!!

 

Im baffled and am seeking a lawyer (which i cant afford as we are just over the legal aid limit), has anyone else faced this and can offer advice?

No charge has formally been made but they seem to want to push on with the allegation which is scaring and confusing me no end. Is it possibly becasue the money overpaid was over a certain amount?

Surely there is a very clear case for human error rather than fraud - they could have lost the letters / they may not have been processed by the council offices correctly / i may not have labelled them clearly enough etc?

Why is benefit legislation so different from criminal law proceedings - im interviewed under caution and given absolutely no idea what im being interviewed about-?

Anyone know a good lawyer in Bristol?

Anyone won a case like this?

What happens next?

And (finally!!) does anyone get a whiff of the government reclaiming all the admin fees they spend each year reclaiming benefits that they overpaid in the first place through their error, clearly outlined in the disclaimer all new benefit claimants have to sign? Im finding the whole thing pretty shocking and dispicable, and upsettingly more people instantly assume im guilty in the current climate.:(

 

 

Sorry for all the questions!

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Unfortunately we are unable to recommend a solicitor for you (the site rules forbid these types of recommendations). You can find legal advice specialising in Welfare by searching here. Once you have found some names, type their name into google followed by the word "review" to read other people's experiences with them.

 

In regard to the overpayment being over a certain amount, yes they do have to refer for prosecution where the overpayment is in excess of £2000. But only where the overpayment was a result of fraud, and that is clearly not the case here.

 

The officers who perform the IUC will not be the same officers who make the decision on whether or not the claim had become fraudulent. Was the interview completed when you left? Are you expected to return for another interview at a later date? Have they advised of when you will next hear from them, or what they plan to do next?

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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After a quick call to Community Legal Services, i have found a solicitor who handles these cases and am due to meet with them tomorrow.

 

I ended the interview before it was completed as i was getting no clear information form thema s to what the allegation actually was, and was worried that what i was saying may not have helped...i just felt uncomfortable.

I have recieved another letter requesting i attend another interview, and told them id contact them once i found a lawyer, which took some time! Im also having to pay for all the legal advice so i have had to source a means of payment/ find the cheapest lawyer possible.

So overall, no formal allegation has been made, so ill have to see what the lawyer says and keep you posted.

 

Thank you so much!

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Your legal advisor should be able to get disclosure immediately prior to the second IUC which will shed a little more light on matters - hopefully.

 

Best wishes

Erika.

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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