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Government claiming "debt" back that is ex-wifes?

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I'm sort of asking for advice on behalf of my mom. I'll start from the beginning so I'm sorry if this is long!


My mom is with her partner- he is divorced from his ex-wife. Her partner is her carer, they receive DLA, carer's allowance, a small bit of income support (which is his) and incapacity benefit (which is my mom's). Her partner has always been a hard worker until he had to care for my mother as her health has deteriorated, they put in a claim for income support to help pay the rent etc. Not long after they sorted the claims out, the Government contacted them and said they would be taking X amount each week (I think it's £7) to pay for a debt- claiming he had claimed income support back in 2000 although he was working. He says he hasn't done this and never would- he did work but it wasn't a cash in hand job or anything, so how would he be able to claim JSA and work at the same time?


He's asked for proof of his signature numerous times but they have never sent them any information. This has been going on for the past few years and by now they should have paid the debt off. They phoned up today and the first person said they owed £700+ and my mom said they were wrong. They passed them around to different numbers- 2 different people said there was no debt but then the last which was the Government debt collector's- they said it was over £2000!


Now when they were first trying to sort this all out, the only way they could access the files was to have the ex-wife's NI number. The first question they asked was "If it's my debt, why would I need her NI number?" The government people didn't know. Then they said it was a joint claim. Then they told them that there were government loans taken out (about 4 of them for various amounts) but because their NI numbers linked from the first Income Support claim (when he was working) they said that he had to pay them back. Now when he and his ex wife were married, they had the same first initials so it would be Mr and Mrs J Bloggs... so if J Bloggs took the debt out, it could have been either of them.


So, today they were basically arguing the point that they still hadn't proof of what debt's they were (he really hasn't got a clue- he got up, went to work- he worked nights- and then came home to bed! He left all his wages upto his wife and she sorted the bills and shopping and that was it.) So they've asked for proof in writing, over the phone numerous times each, and they've visited the CAB and they've written letters for them- all of which have been ignored. Today on the phone the lady admitted that the signature etc would have been destroyed by now- the debts were taken out 2000 and before that.


So what I need help with is where do they go from here?! I'm sorry it's so long (and confusing!) They are writing in to appeal yet again. We're wondering (and planning on) CC'ing the letter, but we're not quite sure who to etc. Is there any help that you can provide us with? My step-dad (mom's partner) is adament he didn't take it out, he's adament he didn't claim income support and work- I'd say he's one of the most law-abiding citizen's out there, so I really do believe him.


Thanks in advance for any help. It's greatly appreciated.

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