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HB and Council tax over payment and Tribunal


Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 1072 days.

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Hello,

 

I lived in the Borough of Newham before i got married and until we had our first daughter.

 

Unfortunately since i hadn't worked for the company for a year i wasn't paid maternity pay and had to go to the council.

 

My husband was on an average income of slightly above £800 monthly.

All of this information was given to the council.

I also gave them documentation that with his job overtime and commissions could be earned from sales, but it cannot be predicted as this only available if the company requires it.

 

I called at various times to inform them and was told that because it was not regular or fixed there is nothing to update but they will be in touch if it needed to be reviewed of which it never happened.

 

One faithful day i went into the office in 2011 to let them know my husband was no longer working and is actively looking for another,

 

we were horrified to be slapped with a huge HB overpayment of over £10,000 and council tax of about £1,750.

 

They claim the overpayment covered April 2009 to April 2011.

 

I appealed and asked for the decision to be changed but never got a response

 

2013, i wrote again and heard nothing until

 

this year when i received A FINAL DEMAND from Newham council.

 

They confirmed that there was official error on their part despite the fact i provided the income details and also saying if i was underpaid i would have noticed.!

 

This turmoil has been ongoing for too long and now the council sent the case to the Tribunal.

 

I need help to get a legal representative and on what to do.

 

I have been to cab and was told they can't help once it has gone to Tribunal.

 

I left Newham Borough in 2011 and have lived in Barking till date.

Edited by Peace007
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This turmoil has been ongoing for too long and now the council sent the case to the Tribunal.

 

The tribunal is the only way to process if neither side is happy with the decisions which are made.

 

They can proceed with council tax enforcement if they so wish on the £1700 which is due - legally they can pursue recovery of the council tax even whilst an appeal is ongoing, any decision to hold action is purely at the council's discretion. Have they advised you what is happening in respect of this ?

 

Craig

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In terms of legal representation, can the CAB refer you to the FRU or Bar Pro Bono Unit?

 

In terms of the over payment of Housing Benefit, can you honestly say that you did not realise you were being overpaid?

 

This will be a very important point at the Tribunal.

 

In terms of your communications with the Council, you say you were 'told' stuff. Was any of it in writing?

 

I guess the Council are only pursuing you because they are generally cash strapped at the moment.

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Am very grateful for the time and advise i have received from Craig and Theronstar.

 

Craig at the moment they have deceided to wait till the tribunal is done.

 

Theronstar, unfortunately most of it was verbal and on the phone but they did admit in writing that there was official error on their part despite the fact i provided the income details and also saying if i was underpaid i would have noticed.!

 

My challenge now is finding a representative before the Tribunal sets a date so we can discuss and be prepared. CAB said since it is at the Tribunal stage it is out of their hands and i will need to find solicitors who handle such case.

 

My dilemma once again is where can i find a Representative to appear before Tribunal?

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I am thrilled that you have something in writing. I am well aware of how quickly 'the other side' denies something when they know that you do not have any evidence :!:

 

Are you still based in London? I live here. I am prepared to meet with you to see if we can plan your case for the Tribunal.

 

I have some London based friends who are currently studying law and are FRU qualified. I am sure they would say yes to representing you but my hunch is that FRU folk are quite limited in how they can help. You really want a solicitor/barrister and they are very hard to come by!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Theronstar,

 

I have been chasing the Pro bono unit and FRU, trying to get a referral and all...... going straight to the point both Pro bono and FRU as of this moment haven't been able to give me a representative or get advise on what or how to attend a Tribunal.

 

Can you still help please?

Peace007

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Hello,

 

I sent you a private message but it seems that you did not get it.

 

I researched the law around this area in case you did get back to me so I am prepared to help.

 

What I uncovered along the way is that 'benefits' law is an area of law with hardly any remaining practitioners. I am sadly unsurprised that you had a hard time in sourcing advice.

 

The government withdrew legal aid for appeals at the 1st Tier Tribunal because it felt that people can comfortably represent themselves. I would only agree with the government in the event that local authorities used lay representatives. In actuality, they can and do use lawyers.

 

Let me know how we take things from here.

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Ooo, tight time frame! Though no worry, it's enough time.

 

When works for you?

 

P.S. Our conversation is not inviting anyone else in the thread to respond to a question so it should shift to private messages.

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I am new to using this forum but here is the response i got when i tried to send a private message, "Sorry Peace007 you must have 30 posts in order to send PM's. Your current post count is 6."

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no its to stop people touting and offering to help where we cant see what is going on

advise by PM is not allowed

read our rules please.

 

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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Dx1000uk we have a problem.

 

I do not have an agenda to take this conversation away from this thread. It's just that nobody else is responding and I found it weird to continue the conversation in the open. I will continue to do so if that is what the rules are.

 

I am certainly not trying to tout either. If you are saying that I cannot help with her Tribunal, then that is fine.

 

I will read the rules as a matter of course. I am a a member of moneysavingexpert forums too and that is the reason someone gave in a forum there. I assumed the reasoning was the same.

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thankyou

simply keep things on thread.

 

 

what has the OP done to date to mitigate and collect information.

a free sar to the DWP to gander documentation might have been a worthy move

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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Just to jump in, if its a tribunal you can have anyone represent you there is no need for any formal qualifications, as long as they understand the matter at hand. Obviously is someone is a practitioner in the area this will greatly improve the odds of being successful.

 

I have been to a fair few of these tribunals and basically you will need to show to the judge that you provided the correct income figures when required and kept the council up to date with any changes in the prescribed manner and that you were then notified in writing of what your entitlement was based on the provided income figures.

 

Then you will need to explain that based on the award letters received following the provision of said documentation and the fact you had provided the correct income information, that as far as you knew/where concerned that the award had been calculated correctly by the council and that you had no idea you were being overpaid as you do not know how to calculate HB awards as that is the councils job.

 

Have you provided your bundle of evidence and received a copy of the councils bundle yet as this will show what they are using as evidence?

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Hello. Question to the O/P.

 

* did your HB change as a result of the information you supplied?

* was the advice given to you face to face or over the phone?

* did you get award letters & did you check the figures on them?

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

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  • 5 months later...

I stopped getting involved on these threads in June. I enraged the Site Team by suggesting to the OP that we have a Face to Face conversation.

 

I get that in an ideal world we would restrict our responses to questions on this page but there are circumstances where someone needs a Face to Face.

 

In the end, FRU / Bar Pro Bono Unit etc. did not help the original poster so she would have had to have dealt with this on her own had I not volunteered.

 

The Judge found that there had been an official error by the Local Authority but that the OP should have known about it.

 

I have advised the OP to appeal the decision on the grounds of perversity.

 

When finding the OP liable to repay the over-payment, the Judge had said that she had accepted the evidence of the OP in its entirety.

 

The OP had explained to the Judge that she could not understand the Entitlement letter that the Local Authority had sent her in respect of her benefits. This is where I think the perversity arises.

 

For what it's worth, I will say that persuading a Judge to prevent a Local Authority from pursuing an over-payment is nigh on impossible.

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good well post up the process as for every thread we have 1000 people that simply read cag not post...

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

 

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

 

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

 

 

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