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Council tax benefit help please

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I will try to be as brief as possible. I am self employed. I own my home outright. Due to a variety of illnesses and disabilities and the ecenomic times we are in I have been struggling of late and decided to apply for council tax benefit as my income is well below the required threshold and I have next to no savings anymore having tried in vein to just pay the council tax anyway and am currently up to date.

 

I had no idea how difficult and frankly discouraging the local authority could be. They are asking me for audited accounts. I do not have audtied accounts, it is just me as a very small time sole trader. If I could afford audited accounting, I would not need help with council tax!

 

But today I received a letter telling me that 'an officer needs to see you at the property...'. meaning my home. I am not a council tenant and am not at all happy to have a council employee in my home at all. I have provided proof of me, my address, utitility bills, bank statements, they know I live here because they send me the council tax bill!!!!

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction please?

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It's probably a residency check and nothing to worry about.


Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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Yeah, this is routine. I mean, I realise it's not great - who wants council folks showing up and asking to see paperwork? But it is one of the things you occasionally have to tolerate when you claim benefits.


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Thank you both. That is appreciated. I have multiple medical conditions including autism and phyiscal diabilities. If they simply want to see where I live I suppose that is understandable.

 

Now, when I said they seem to make things difficult I was not joking. I pay for my Council tax by direct debit. I have paid every month on time without exception, including this month (leaving December, January, February and March to pay. Yet, 3 days after submitting my claim they send me an ammended bill in which they demand the rest of the years money in two payments, effectively doubling what I just told them I could not afford. So December 1st will be more than double what I would have paid if I had not made a claim!!!!!

 

Is this actually designed to cause alarm and distress? Before applying I was struggling to pay, but did pay. Now I am in limbo and now have the increased stress of dealing with this council on multiple angles.

 

I cannot help but think this is designed to meake me give up and go away.

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cld try and get hold of your local council tax office (not the call centre) for an explanation?


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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I have just looked closer at the new bill. It states Demand reason: Payment Method Change

 

Being in a position where I can no longer afford to pay council tax and having made a vaild claim after paying at the beginning of November, I cancelled the direct debit to prevent further payments being taken in the belief that I would no longer be liable to pay. I did not expect the council to literally pounce like a hungry lion.

 

I must say that on visiting their very nice offices last week to take evidence in, I noted the very high quality of the keyboards they type on, the huge monitors, the luxury chairs and when I commented on how warm it was was told they have underfloor heating. No wonder they pounce for more money!

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I cancelled the direct debitlink3.gif

that explains the adjustment bill. you shld've left it whilst the claim was in. if ended up entitled, they wld've done an adjustment re.


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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I have just looked closer at the new bill. It states Demand reason: Payment Method Change

 

Being in a position where I can no longer afford to pay council tax and having made a vaild claim after paying at the beginning of November, I cancelled the direct debit to prevent further payments being taken in the belief that I would no longer be liable to pay. I did not expect the council to literally pounce like a hungry lion.

 

I must say that on visiting their very nice offices last week to take evidence in, I noted the very high quality of the keyboards they type on, the huge monitors, the luxury chairs and when I commented on how warm it was was told they have underfloor heating. No wonder they pounce for more money!

 

The offices might be rented...

 

If you lapsed your D/D the council tax team would not know that you had made a claim- it's a separate department. Hence the demand.

 

Have you looked into what other benefits you can cla ?


Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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Thanks you all so much again. What a shame you are not the people I have to deal with.

 

I get the higher rate of DLA mobility anyway but really cannot be doing with the stress levels of something so fundamental as claiming council tax benefit that I am completely entitled to do. I had no way of knowing that stopping the direct debit would trigger a panic at the council. I am not in arrears one penny. I am so tempted to just pay it off for the year and forget the whole claim - which is what I think they would like.

 

I have never had to deal with them before and never truly appreciated it when I hear of horror stories and people getting so upset. But am beginning to understand why. I realize they have to protect the public purse against fraud etc, but to tar everyone with the same brush - or that is how it feels - seems just the wrong way.

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I had no way of knowing that stopping the direct debitlink3.gif would trigger a panic at the council

thats how it is unfortunately, all automated and contracted out (to capita).

if you can, try speaking direct to yr council (even though capita are now inhouse) rather than the call centre.

the adjustment bill shld have an option for dd. cld just do that again. then see how the claim goes in the mean.


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Previously you were on a 12 monthly payment scheme and they've defaulted back to a 10 month - unless you've requested this then they have no legal powers to change the payment plan. The choice of whether you use a 10 month or 12 month plan is yours (unless you've lost the right to pay by instalments).

 

http://lgfa92.co.uk/council-tax-paying-over-12-instalments/

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(unless you've lost the right to pay by instalments).

 

does the dd cancel not change things?


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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Thanks you all so much again. What a shame you are not the people I have to deal with.

 

I get the higher rate of DLA mobility anyway but really cannot be doing with the stress levels of something so fundamental as claiming council tax benefit that I am completely entitled to do. I had no way of knowing that stopping the direct debit would trigger a panic at the council. I am not in arrears one penny. I am so tempted to just pay it off for the year and forget the whole claim - which is what I think they would like.

 

I have never had to deal with them before and never truly appreciated it when I hear of horror stories and people getting so upset. But am beginning to understand why. I realize they have to protect the public purse against fraud etc, but to tar everyone with the same brush - or that is how it feels - seems just the wrong way.

It's not so much a panic attack as computer says no.. most councils have these letters triggered automatically.


Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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But can you imagine the distress it can cause someone with certain medical conditions? I do not WANT to claim, I NEED to claim. I am not doing anything wrong by doing so as I am completely entitled to do so. But when you claim thinking that they will reduce or cover the remaining council tax bill, they then send you a demand for more than double what I was paying, it causes alarm. The wordiong on the back fo this new bill is entirely about different methods of how you can pay them as well as a warning that failure to pay can result in prosecution etc.

 

Nice to know that the very people I have been paying for for years, are the people who will not help when I need it.

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I get where you are coming from. I needed to change direct debit date due to a change in job last year. I rang and explained to them what I was doing and why (change of pay date) and still the lapsing of a d/d caused a deluge of letters. The wording is pretty strong as they don't differentiate between the evaders and the genuine.

 

That's the problem of automated systems.

 

I know none of that helps you

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Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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does the dd cancel not change things?

 

Not unless it has lead to either you failing to pay an amount on a reminder within 7 days of it's issuing or a final notice within 14 days of it's issuing.

 

Cancelling a direct debit in itself does not change your payment plan - they likely would revert it to a cash plan but the right to determine the 10/12 month plan is yours alone (unless you've lost the right to instalments)

 

Craig

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Not unless it has lead to either you failing to pay an amount on a reminder within 7 days of it's issuing or a final notice within 14 days of it's issuing.

 

Cancelling a direct debit in itself does not change your payment plan - they likely would revert it to a cash plan but the right to determine the 10/12 month plan is yours alone (unless you've lost the right to instalments)

 

Craig

 

I wasn't aware I could opt for 12 months. Good to know.

 

Though I enjoy my two "free" months in feb/march to come away from 10 months. The extra £140 a month is nice :)


Please do not ask me for advice via PM as I will not reply.

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Not unless it has lead to either you failing to pay an amount on a reminder within 7 days of it's issuing or a final notice within 14 days of it's issuing.

 

Cancelling a direct debit in itself does not change your payment plan - they likely would revert it to a cash plan but the right to determine the 10/12 month plan is yours alone (unless you've lost the right to instalments)

 

Craig

cheers, thats what i meant. following just a dd cancel, it gets auto adjusted to back to cash. but, there shld still be an option on the bill to go back on instalments, albeit maybe adjusted to reflect the last missed dd (provided as you say its not in collection.) if that makes sense :)


IMO

:-):rant:

 

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cheers, thats what i meant. following just a dd cancel, it gets auto adjusted to back to cash. but, there shld still be an option on the bill to go back on instalments, albeit maybe adjusted to reflect the last missed dd (provided as you say its not in collection.) if that makes sense :)

 

They can change the payment plan back to cash payments (which is actually sensible if a DD has been ended) but they have no right to change whether someone is on the statutory 10/12 month instalment plan or not - if you were on a 10 month DD then they can could change it to a 10 month cash plan (and give you whatever available instalments are left in the year) but they couldn't just change it to a 12 month cash (well, not without permission from you).

 

Just because the DD has ended doesn't lose the right to pay by instalments - the right to pay by instalments can only legally end with a default on a reminder or final notice.

 

Unless a person has legally lost the right to pay by instalments then they have the right to swap between the 10 & 12 month plan at their own discretion, the council have no say in the matter.

 

Craig

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