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Mystery Housing benefit overcharge repayment from benifits - query please help

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Last year my adult son came back home to live with me,

as he works he rightly so pays rent and council tax,

which meant that my benefits for both those were reduced,

i paid the amount requested and all went ok for 3 months,


then i got a letter stating i wasnt paying enough and explaining why,

i could see that they were right and arranged with them to pay off the arrears by increasing my monthly amount for the rent etc,

therefore paying rent etc due and reducing the arrears.


Then last month i went into my local office and asked them for a statement which showed all my rent payments,

and when it was printed off it showed that housing benefit were taking an amount from every payment i made,


after clearly stating to me that they wouldnt be,

as the overpayment was merely added as rent owed on my rent account,

i rang housing benefit and was assured i owed nothing,

and they werent taking any money,


i re-checked with the local office who said this was rubbish and they were,

the local office spoke to benefits and it seems nobody knows why this money was being taken and who authorised it or why, and bizarrely where its gone to.


They were meant to ring me back after sorting it out, after a week with no news i went back in the office, was told that they were

"looking for a way for it not to happen again, and i should get back any money taken wrongly, they would write and explain"

its now a week since then and still no reply or explanation.


Any ideas? i am puzzled.

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Hi ya, Ruby,


Although you do not say which department sent you the letter initially, my first suggestion would be to write a recorded delivery letter to all departments concerned.


Explain the situation as it has happened and supply each of them with full information as you have it, i.e. dates and names of whom you spoke with in telephone conversations as well as in person (if you have it) and what was said.


Ask them each to supply you with a full breakdown of the account including all payments made as well as full details of amounts being taken from the account and by whom. At the very least, you can demand the account be adjusted with the money put towards your arrears once you have received this information.


Even if they get in touch with you beforehand to your satisfaction, I would urge you to get a statement from them detailing exactly what money have been taken off the account and where it has gone as this will be your evidence in the event of something going wrong in the future.


Good luck, I hope my advice is helpful and please let me know the results.



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Hi understanding and thanks for your reply, originally it was the housing benefit office that wrote and informed me i had been overpaid, they state in that letter that the overpayment had been added to my rent account, i also had a letter from my housing officer telling me i had rent arrears for that same amount, as i was on reduced benefit while waiting for a tribunal hearing ( had my incapacity benefit stopped as atos thought me fit to work, despite proof to the contrary) i asked to pay the arrears off at the lowest possible rate, i had a letter from housing officer stating i could pay at £3.25 per week until it was cleared, all ok and been reducing ever since. It was just that last month i wanted to check the amount left and asked for a statement of my payments to date, and when this was printed out it showed money being transferred from my rent account to housing benefit, who say they arent taking any, i dont owe any etc etc, nobody seems to know who set it up or why or where its been going. Its now just over a week since my housing officer was going to be sorting it out and writing to me with explanation etc.

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Hello, Ruby,


So Housing Benefit wrote to you stating they had made an overpayment to your rent account and was seeking recovery for this amount?


Did they recover the amount of overpayment directly from the Rent Account in one lump sum?


If they recovered the money directly from the Rent Account, was it this action of theirs that led your Rent Account to be in arrears?


Are they now taking money from the Rent Account after they have reclaimed their overpayment?


If the answers to the above is ‘yes’ and Housing Benefit has already reclaimed the overpayment from your Rent Account and are now taking extra money from that account, then I would suggest you write a Recorded Delivery letter, keeping a copy, asking them to stop taking the money and start an investigation.


I would suggest giving them fourteen days as a maximum to respond to this letter in the first instance although it may take much longer for them to supply you with details while they do their investigation, they should stop taking any money from the account during this.


As with my initial suggestion, supply them with any details you have of the names of people of whatever departments you spoke with regarding this matter.


Ask them to supply you with a breakdown of full details of payments as well as deductions from both the Housing Benefit Account and the Rent Account for the period in question.


Once you have received the breakdown details of who is paying what and who is taking money from where, then you will be in a better position to dispute, if necessary, any missing money and ask for it to be refunded or to be put against the rent arrears.




Maybe someone more legally minded than me will be along to help further.


Best of luck :-)

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You need to involve your local Councillor as it appears each department is giving you the run around.



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