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Fenris

Housing Benefit Overpayment Advice Needed Please

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Hi all,

 

I've been trying to deal with this issue myself,

helped along by other people's problems with alleged overpayments,

but I think I need some direct advice please.

 

Background: In April 2012 my Mum and I rented a house for 12 months.

I didn't know I was entitled to Housing Benefit until I was talking to a friend who said I should apply, which I did in May.

 

 

I explained to the HB people that I didn't know I could apply for HB and asked if I could back-date the benefit to the day we moved in, which was was agreed to.

 

 

The HB should have been paid from 16th April 2012 (moving in) to 23rd April 2013 (moving out).

 

 

The first payment I received was in August 2012, the last was in May 2013, all payments made in arrears.

I notified the council that I was moving out of the property on the 23rd of April 2012 and provided my new address.

 

This is where things get messy.

I was paid a final amount on 13th May 2013.

I believed that this was my final payment in arrears.

 

 

However, in late May 2013 I received a letter from the council stating I had been overpaid by £146.00.

They said that this was overpayment for the period 23rd April 2013 to 12th May 2013.

 

I sent them a letter on 10th June 2013 stating that I did not agree with their calculations and that they owed me £150.00.

 

They responded in late July stating I wasn't entitled to the back-payment

(that had been agreed to in the office when I applied) and that the overpayment still stood.

 

As I was also fighting a cut in my ESA at the time, I didn't respond to this letter; I just couldn't face another fight.

(I know this wasn't the best idea, but I suffer from Clinical Depression amongst other illnesses and I just wasn't in the right mental state to deal with it.) And that was the last I heard...

 

Until a few weeks ago when I received a "Final Demand"! Three years after the original letter, they'd started this up again!

 

I replied again stating I was not going to pay this alleged overpayment as I believed it was my final payment in arrears.

I also stated the following:

 

“Recoverable overpayments

100.—(1) Any overpayment, except one to which paragraph (2) applies, shall be recoverable.

(2) Subject to paragraph (4) this paragraph applies to an overpayment caused by an official error where the claimant or a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the payment is made could not, at the time of receipt of the payment or of any notice relating to that payment, reasonably have been expected to realise that it was an overpayment.”

 

As I stated, my HB was always paid in arrears so I reasonably assumed the last payment was my last payment in arrears. Which I told them in the letter.

 

However, they responded with a bundle of letters they say they sent me in 2013,

one "invoice" they allegedly sent in October 2015 and the most recent letters from this year.

They completely ignored the paragraph above though.

 

 

They also said that the letter I responded to (10th June 2013) said I could appeal the backdating decision within one month of the letter, which I thought would be done upon them receiving my letter (10th June 2013), but seems it wasn't!

 

I really don't know what to do right now.

They say I owe them money, I say they owe me and never the twain shall meet!

 

Can anyone suggest what I should do now?

 

Cheers,

Fenris

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Hi Fenris,

 

Sorry it's not something I can help you with, the forums are quiet at the weekends so you may have to wait a bit longer to get some advice.

 

Regards,

 

Scott.


 
 

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

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@ Scott: Thanks for the response anyway. :)

 

Is there anyone that could help? Really need to get this sorted as I can't afford for them to be taking chunks of my ESA; it's the only benefit I get!

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Who is your LA (Local Authority)?

 

I had this every year, when I was in receipt of HB, each and every time, they went away with their tales between their legs and a flea in their ear!

 

Have you got what they said they would pay you each week?

With dates they would start and stop?

 

Have they provided a written statement of reason?


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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Hi

I think that you are going to need the first award letter. This should state when the benefit start date was. If you don't have it, you could send the council a SAR for all the data they hold.If you were a private tenant I would also get bank statements for the same period (assuming the benefit was paid to you via BACS)

 

as the council are saying you were not actually eligible for the back dated payment after being allowed it back in 2012, this would suggest to me that an official error has taken place and you wouldn't have been aware of the error. 'IF' that is the case ( you will need paperwork to prove it) you may be able to get this written off.

 

If you haven't raised a formal complaint with the council, please do so and keep everything filed in date order.


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Thanks for your replies!

 

Who is your LA (Local Authority)?

 

I had this every year, when I was in receipt of HB, each and every time, they went away with their tales between their legs and a flea in their ear!

 

Have you got what they said they would pay you each week?

With dates they would start and stop?

 

Have they provided a written statement of reason?

 

It was King's Lynn CC, but I moved after the tenancy expired and now live in Lincolnshire. I've not claimed any HB since we moved as my Mum bought the house we're living in outright.

 

I don't believe I still have the award letter, I'll double check, but pretty sure it's gone. I know I was only getting £50 per week paid four-weekly in arrears, starting 20th August 2012 and finishing on 13th May 2013, the tenancy ran from 16th April 2012 to 23rd April 2013. You see why I assumed the payment on 13th May was for the previous four-weekly period?

 

I'm not sure what the written statement of reason would be? Could you elaborate please?

 

Hi

I think that you are going to need the first award letter. This should state when the benefit start date was. If you don't have it, you could send the council a SAR for all the data they hold.If you were a private tenant I would also get bank statements for the same period (assuming the benefit was paid to you via BACS)

 

as the council are saying you were not actually eligible for the back dated payment after being allowed it back in 2012, this would suggest to me that an official error has taken place and you wouldn't have been aware of the error. 'IF' that is the case ( you will need paperwork to prove it) you may be able to get this written off.

 

If you haven't raised a formal complaint with the council, please do so and keep everything filed in date order.

 

As I said above, I don't think I still have the award letter. I'll have a look later today and see, but I'm pretty sure I don't have it anymore. Am I right in thinking issuing a SAR to a council should cost me nothing? Think I read that in one of the threads here. I do have bank statements though, so that's one less thing to worry about!

 

The problem I have is that I only had verbal confirmation from the lady at the council office, I had nothing in writing as far as I can remember. Payments just started after a few phone calls to find out why it was taking so long to get going. If I recall correctly they had a back-log due to computer issues at the time, so I ended up getting a large payment of £500.00 on 20th August 2012, then another £200.00 a couple of weeks later on the 3rd September 2012 and after that every four weeks until we moved.

 

Is there a template I should use or is it just a case of writing to them as I normally would but add something like, "I'd like to make an official complaint"?

 

Thanks!

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Normally a SAR costs £10 and, as far as I am aware, I haven't seen where a council does it for free.

 

If you included a mention about this in your complaint letter, they may just print you a copy of the original award letter. This would negate the need for a SAR.

 

Most councils have two or three stages of complaints processes before you can go to the LGO but I feel it's always worth it. In my long and (very) distant past I have had my then local council crawl back under their stone, just by complaining and using their words against them.


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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Hi

If you are sure of your grounds then I would take it to the chief executive of the council. I did this when they incorrectly stopped my HB , it was resolved in a matter of days.

 

Have you got bank statements, or access to them - as said - assuming you were paid by BACS for 2012. If so , was the first payment appropriate for a claim starting when you moved in or from when you claimed.

 

I know my HB is paid on a friday for the two weeks that end that Sunday but i don't live in Kings Lynn


Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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