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ESA WRG To Support Group = Big Council Tax Bill


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I was on ESA income based in the work group.

 

Then after going for a medical was placed in the support group from 30th July 2013, as my medical conditions have deteriorated. .

 

The letter from DWP says I have been moved from the work group to the support group,

but does not mention that I have been moved from Income based ESA to Contribution based.

( I thought you could only get contribution baseed ESA for 12 months, which I have in the past)

 

As far as I knew I was getting Income Based ESA in the the support group.

 

The first I knew was on Christmas Eve was a letter from the council saying that I owe £390 in council tax from 30th July,

which has tyo be paid by 2nd Feb as based on my income I only get part council tax relief.

 

I went into see them as I have dont have this much money, or anything like.

I have asked them for time to pay but they will only consider an agreement if the council tax is in default

and a summons has been issued ( which cost £60).

 

I have tried ringing DWP but just get passed from pillar to post.

 

If I had not been moved to the support group I would not be in this situation

 

I am at my wits end with what to do...............

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Which council is this?

That statement about only entering into an agreement if they issue a summons is ridiculous, I would be complaining to your local MP and councillors about that and get in touch with the LGO.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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You need to ask the council where this £390 came from.

 

I suspect the DWP have informed the council concerned that there has been a "change of circumstances" of the OP. The council may have decided that this means ESA is no longer being paid so CT relief is no longer applicable.

 

I would recommend sending a letter in asking how this extra £390 has been calculated and lodge a formal appeal - The council may argue that as the "change of circumstances" took place in July, an appeal would be out of time. If it has taken six months for them to send out a demand, then it would be reasonable to expect them to accept an appeal this late in the day.

 

Failing that, go with Bazooka Boo's advice and complain at a higher level.

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The 12 month limit for ESA© does not apply to those in the Support Group. So possibly what's happened is that the council sees that means-tested ESA is not payable from 30/07/13 and so passported entitlement to CTR ended on that date.

 

That doesn't mean that no CTR entitlement exists, though, simply that it's independently means tested and will be based on the particular CTR scheme the relevant council has introduced since the regs changed and CTB was abolished earlier this year.

 

OP, it would certainly help to know which council we're talking about here.

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Thanks for all the comments

We are talking about Lancaster City Council. The letter sent along with the bill states that weekly council tax before benefit is £22.36 and that the benefit is 11.97p so I have to pay £10.39pw which is backdated to 30th July, hence the large sum.

I honestly have no idea if I am on income based ESA or contribution based ESA, every time I phone DWP I get a different answer from them. I have asked them to put it in writing which I am getting but no letter. I wrote to them asking them to let me know which one, again nothing from them.

Asking me to pay £10.39 pw is one thing, asking for £390.64p in one lump sum is another.

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Asking me to pay £10.39 pw is one thing, asking for £390.64p in one lump sum is another.

 

I'm also in dispute with my local council regarding the level of CT. Initially, they had been asking for five payments of £130 and after doing a reassessment, this has changed to four payments of £170. I will be off to their office later today to advise of a change of circumstances and instruct them as to the number of payments - As long as the final bill is settled shortly after the end of the tax year (April 5th ?), I don't expect any problems.

 

In your situation, I would appeal the backdated claim and inform them that you can only afford £25 p/w - You may have to visit their office and speak to a benefit adviser face to face. Take along supporting evidence (bank statements, DWP award letters, etc) and insist on favourable answers before departing.

 

If the council drag their feet, put £25-30 p/w to one side so that you have a lump sum to settle the bill come April.

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I have tried going in and have told them that if I do owe it, then yes it needs paying and have offered £20 PW. They just keep saying that they will not enter into an agreement till after a summons is issued, which will cost £60.

I say if I owe it, its just that I dont know if I am on Income based or contribution based ESA. Seems like DWP dont either, every time I ring I get a different answer, I ask for it to be put in writing and all except one have said they will, but the letter never arrives. The one who said they wouldnt, told me that they are not allowed to!

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With regards the DWP intransigence, time for a formal complaint - They should be able to put it in writing as to what type of benefit(s) you are claiming. How else would they know if they are paying the correct amount !

I'd also suggest sending them a Subject Access Request (see DWP - Subject Access Request From (SAR) for details). The DWP do not charge the usual £10 fee, so make the most of it.

 

If the council refuse to set up a payment plan and still insist that the money is owing, either pay what you can afford each week through the Post Office, or put the money to one side and pay a lump sum later in the year.

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Have just filled in that subject access form and will get it sent off to them this afternoon, thanks for that.

My concern with the council is that they have said if they dont receive the money in full by 2nd Feb they will add another £30 to it for a summons cost.

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If the people you have contacted at the council are failing to help, I'd suggest calling your local CAB office - Perhaps they have a more reasonable contact within the council.

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Exhaust the councils complaints procedure http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/comments-complaints/complain/

 

Then you can escalate it to the LGO, it is ridiculous of them to suggest that they will only enter into an agreement when

they have further added to the cost and issued a summons!

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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