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Housing Benefit Overpayment from 2003

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On the 20th August 2010 we received a letter from Bristow and Sutor saying that my partner had been overpaid housing benefit between January-March 2003. We have no documents from this time and I know he was unemployed in January but can't remember when he found a job.

 

This is the first we had heard about this debt, and we have always been on the electoral register.

 

We did a quick google and found a template letter. We sent this by Special Delivery, quoting the Limitation Act 1980 Section 5. However, yesterday we received a letter back, saying that unless the council tell them to stop, they will continue with the recovery action. Since then I have read that councils are actually exempt from the Limitation Act 1980 Section 5... (not sure if that is correct)

 

My partner contacted the council this morning and we are waiting to hear back.

 

Obviously if we have been overpaid we are happy to pay this back (but preferably to the council, not to some heavy handed debt collectors). The problem is, we can't remember from that long ago what the situation was, and obviously don't want to pay something that we don't owe!

 

I would just like to know, can they really demand payment after so long, when this is the first we have heard about this, and it is 7 1/2 years ago now!!

 

Thank you :-)

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Firstly, I don't have experience of bailiffs and I don't know if councils are actually exempt from the Limitation Act 1980 Section 5. Maybe someone else will chime in to confirm this.

 

Can your partner write to his previous employer to get the date he started work? The other suggestion I would make is tell the bailiff, bristow and sutor, you need exact dates of the overpayment they are collecting so you can match that to dates supplied by your partners employer.


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Social security benefits can become stat barred after 6 years,if a CCJ

has been obtained the council will have to apply to the court to restart the action.

Overpayments over 6 years old/5 in Scotland can be deducted from current

benefits.

I think the limitations does not apply to Council Tax debts where a liability order

has been made.

Housing benefit is a Central Government benefit.

 

This is my opinion based on personal experience.


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Moved to The Benefits Forum.


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Obviously if we have been overpaid we are happy to pay this back (but preferably to the council, not to some heavy handed debt collectors).

 

If you do owe the council money you might be able to pay a little at a time direct to the council and not the debt collector what ever mutual amount you've agree to pay back then you pay that together with your rent. When I went back to work some years ago after my 2nd child I couldn't afford to pay a month rent in advance so my council agree that I can pay my monthly rent and £10 extra toward the debt I've not heard of the council using debt collectors they usuaaly dealt with the debt themselves. Just ring them up or go there and discuss the situation.

 

hope it all work out for you.

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