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Student loan and universal credit

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Hi all I'm in desperate need of advice.

I have some mental health issues please bear with me.

 

I had a debt relief order approved, however I was somewhere that if you have student debt it has to be declared even though it is excluded from the DRO.

I log into my student loans account to see how much I owe.

 

Looking through the old correspondence online i spot a problem with student loans and benefits.

I moved back to my home town last year as was kicked out by ex partner and was homeless staying in various sofas.

Months beforehand i was considering doing a masters degree but wasn't sure.

 

In the end I went and enrolled and received £1500 student loan.

A few days later I realised I was homeless, mental health deteriorating and in debt.

I was in no position to continue so I withdrew before classes even begun.

I thought they would be in touch about repayment but no.

 

in the meantime the money is eaten up by my debts\buying food to eat then throw up and I had totally forgotten about it as my health had gone downhill, I d isn't know if I would have anywhere to live. Once I moved problems in my new place sorting out the debt,

 

. I went to the CAB who said explain everything to the jobcentre so I made an appointment for a few days time.

I know I have to pay back the money but what else is likely to happen?

The period the loan would cover (although I was only enrolled a few days) would mean paying back 5 months U C (No housing element at that time).

It's no excuse but the past year it's been one th ing after the other and I haven't been coping mentally (I'm in the work prep group).

 

I want to try and focus on dealing with my bulimia depression and anxiety but can't until this is sorted.

 

Also, this prompted me to look back through my whole journal online.

When I first claimed U c they asked about previous earning s and ex partners earnings.

I misread it and ticked we got less than £430 a month.

 

They asked about ex partner as I live d with him for 3 months (only claimed benefits once he kicked me out( surely that doesn't matter as I wasn't living o r with him when I put in the claim?

 

do I mention this also?

For 9 of the previous 12 months before I put in the claim i was a student and living alone, then for 3 months i lived with ex partner, and worked for 3 weeks before I had to leave due to bad mental health and being kicked out.

 

Which brings me to my final query.

I ticked that I wasnt expecting any more wages from previous employer.

 

4 days after I submit my claim online I got a final wage of £400, but was paid during the first 7 days of my claim, and online those waiting days were not included in the assessment period.

Do I need to declare that too?

 

I've never been in trouble in my life and oversights like this is unlike me But this last year has been the worst of my life.

I'm desperate but have to put on brave face.

 

I am having CBT for the eating disorder but how can I begin to recover with all this going on? I know I'll be a year late in declaring these changes but hopefully because i n not just leaving it hoping they won't find out will work in my favour?

That I want to sort out the repayment?

 

When I got my flat me misunderstand invest I'd had to resulted in my payment being delayed, so hopefully they will see in not making this up. I

'm barely functioning.

 

If anyone has any advice please i would be so grateful:help:

Edited by dx100uk
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Hello and Welcome to CAG.

 

 

I'm sure people will be along later with advice for you, but you've posted at a quiet time of day [night] and they're not here yet. Please bear with us. :)

 

 

Best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you for your reply. I apologise, I was just up most the night having a bit of a breakdown and am desparate. If it wasn't for the DRO i would have looked through the student loan stuff and subsequently went back over the details of my original claim. This could have laid dormant for years until the job centre found out some other way

 

. Hopefully as I'm telling them i messed up, they will let me pay back without a crimson record. I have always been in a bit of denial about my illnesses, ive realised I am actually unwell. This chaotic last year and and leaving an horrible relationship has broken me , plus these oversights would never have happened s few years ago. I've gone downhill so fast, when I thought finally completing my degree meant I could start to try and pay back into the system and I had a chance of leading a normal life.

Edited by honeybee13
Unwanted last sentence removed

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Hi. No need to apologise, it's obviously getting to you.

 

 

If you're volunteering that you've been overpaid, then it would seem unfair for them to pursue a criminal case, given the amount involved.

 

 

Who is your meeting with?

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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My 'work coach'. I think the job centre would probably prefer to me to ring them or do it via the online journal but I just cant.

Everything would be all jumbled and vital information not put across well.

The work coach has been very understanding as he knows a little about what I've been through and hasn't got me to do any work prep activities as yet.

I'll be sick with worry until then but it has to be done.

 

My CBT therapist and the lady i saw at the CAB both felt I was in the wrong group for my illnesses but I already did a mandatory reconsideration last december( stupidly didn't seek advice) . Also if I was moved to the limited capability for work and work related activities group, the extra money would mean my DRO is revoked, unless the job centre took all of it to recover the overpayment.

Edited by dx100uk
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I think you should take one step at a time, focus on the meeting in a few days. :)

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Mental health/anxiety can play tricks on the mind, so things that are straightforward seem like a problem, when they are not.

 

UC ask about previous earnings in 12 months before claim, to get an idea of pattern of earnings and possible monthly amounts going Forward. Some people work seasonally or work in many different jobs with gaps in between. So don't worry too much about what you said. You completed the information as it was asked of you, so no problem.

 

Just take one step at a time, complete the to-do actions on your UC claim when they appear and work with the Job Centre Work Coach. Don't miss any Job Centre appointments. You can phone Universal Credit and change appointment dates/times.

 

If you receive any backdated LCWRA award and have any debts with Government, you can ask UC to use the money to pay off any of the debts. Just tell UC or Work coach.

Edited by dx100uk
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UC is new to most staff at the DWP and what does and doesn't affect it is a nightmare.

 

 

Get ahead of your concerns by writing out what happened in word or something similar and then when happy with it post it to your journal for the case manager and/ir work coach to action. Make sure you scan/upload any relevant documents you may have so that an potential overpayment can be calculated.

 

 

 

Verbal notification isn't going to work as UC is not setup like that and your work coach may miss something if they try and type it up for you.

 

 

Yes there may be an overpayment however as you have admitted the error this would go in your favour and it would be very likely that all you would get is the overpayment and maybe a civil penalty for not declaring it. The longer you do nothing the more chance it has of being flagged for fraud intervention, which could result in further action being taken.

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I know, I have a tendency to over think and catastrophise unfortunately. My bulimia has been awful since I discovered these mistakes, plus for the past month all day every day I've been googling cancer stuff because of my family member.

Edited by honeybee13
Unwanted thoughts.

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I think writing this down for the UC people could help you to focus on this. It seems to me as well that you're overthinking this, which is never helped by lack of sleep of course.

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for your advice.

I'll spend the next few days writing everything up, will the work coach be able to upload the documents for me?

Will I need bank statements as back then I had another account which was included in the DRO and since yesterday I can't seem to access online statements.

It's only because after the DRO was approved i was googling and someone said although student debt is excluded you still have to declare it, so the insolvency service asked how much I owed*.

 

Then I logged into student finac e and reviewed the details and saw the bit about it being classed as income and may effect benefits.

Which then led me to scrutinise my journal and picked up about the other stuff.

At least this all occurred before I claimed the housing element otherwise I would owe a lot lot more.

 

* It turns out I owe a lot, over the past decade I've tried further education a few times, plus a mental health nursing course for some God forsaken reason, but due to my mental health always had to leave. Before my degree i was on ESA for years. I just want the chance to really focus on improving my mental health and have something resembling a normal life. Going tovwork, paying into the system, having conversations with collegues.

 

I guess that's why I enrolled in the masters. Although I always felt awkward and anxious at uni, and missed a lot of lectures, the support i got from the disability team was amazing, and the closest ive ever felt to bbeing 'normal'. Then I go from that to hands down the worst year of my life

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Hi, should I mention the previous earnings and the final wage from the job I started and had to leave before I claimed as well then?

I just don't want something else to come up later

It will be impossible to know ex partners earnings as I can't contact him and he might lie to be vindictive (abusive relationship) i lived with him 3 months of the last year before I claimed and in that time he wasn't working the whole time or claiming benefits for any of it.

 

I only worked for 3 weeks and didn't claim anything then with him as I was living off credit cards and overdraft.

Plus he is nothing to do with my UC claim as I was no longer living with him when I signed up online.

Was homeless then and splitting my time between 3 places.

 

Also say I submitted the claim on the first of the month, and I got that final wage on the 4th, does that effect the amount of UC As online it said i could not receive anything for the first several days, and that assessment period ran from 6th to the 28 days after that.

 

Thank you so much for your help

Edited by dx100uk
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My opinion is you should tell them all the financial information and they can fillet out the bits they think are relevant.

 

 

Personally I woldn't go into detail on your mental health problems apart from mentioning you have a history of them, hopefully the work coach can summarise that for you.

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Ha, just thought of something.

When I finally got somewhere to live i made an appointment with the job centre to show them my tenancy agreement etc.

When I got there they said because I'm housing association i had to declare it online and didn't need to come in and see them.

i was unaware of this.

I completed the housing costs and detail bit online.

A month later i didn't reci Eve the money so queried it.I

 

Apparently I had to change the address on another part of the site and because it still had my c\o address on there they couldn't verify my housing costs.

I think because I get So anxious going to the job centre i dont really take in what is being said as I'm concentrating on getting out of there.

 

For the future i need to tell my work coach how i feel as don't want to miss anymore vital information than I have done already.

Had to stick a months rent on my credit card otherwise if would have been in arrears so early in my tenancy.

After that I could no longer juggle my debts around as I was reaching my limit on everything, hence the DRO.

 

What a catalogue of errors the last year has been.

I have no more years left after my breakdown at the CAB yesterday, so I guess I have to laugh instead

Edited by dx100uk
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My opinion is you should tell them all the financial information and they can fillet out the bits they think are relevant.

 

 

Personally I woldn't go into detail on your mental health problems apart from mentioning you have a history of them, hopefully the work coach can summarise that for you.

 

 

HB

 

Ok thank you. Just realised I didn't even reciev e a p45, it probably went to my old address and ex threw it away. I can't really tell them anything about my ex partners earnings as I have no idea. But I can show them my undergraduate student finaonce and the pay slip from the job I did for 3 weeks and that would cover the 12 months prior to claiming. I had no capital that I got rid of in order to claim benefits or anything like that so hopefully be ok.

 

If I redact/ change some info on my statement is it possible for one of you helpful people to have a look at it before my appointment next week please? As you may have noticed i ramble and I want everything to be crystal clear so they have all the information needed to calculate the overpayment. Hopefully I'll have enough evidence but because I was staying at various places before I was housed some paperwork and other things were lost

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Yes, we'll do our best to help.

 

 

Maybe you could help with a timeline in date order of what happened about jobs, claims, DRO and so on. If we could see the bare information without all the reasons, hopefully we can flesh it out later.

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you so so much. I was hoping the Work coach would have helped me organise it, but as a previous poster said, everything is done online now. The CAB said I only go back to them I've told the job centre and they have sent out the next steps. Will get a timeline together shortly. Is it best to send by private message or post on here? Hopefully work coach will be willing to provide some sort of background to the decision maker about my health et c

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Best to post it on your thread, PWF. Just leave out names, addresses and stuff. :)

 

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Here is a quick draft i written, I'm going to try and recover deleted emails and texts to see if I can find the one where ex sent a picture of my stuff outside his flat.

I really hope they don't contact him as I wouldn't put it past him to try and cause issues for me.

 

This statement is to inform yourselves of a possible overpayment of my Universal Credit.

August 2017 when I first claimed I was asked online about previous earnings in the 12 months prior to my claim, I put my partner at the time and I were earning less than £430 a month.

I must admit I should have checked the wording of everything properly.

 

In the 12 months prior to my claim I was a full-time student at university with full student loan and grants.

This covers the period August 2016 to 20th July 2017. I lived alone at ......... from 2011 to late May 2017.

 

I had to leave as my ex-partner kicked me out of his home (only he was on the tenancy) and had to come back to .... as I had nowhere to go.

I needed an address for my mail to go to and to register for a doctor et c so I put ....as a care of address.

Could only stay there a couple of nights a week as ....has mental health issues too, and no room for me, so I spent the rest of the time on friends sofas.

My mental health had deterioted badly by that point so unfit for employment.

 

On the initial claim I also ticked that I wasn’t expecting any future wages, I wasn’t because I had to leave the job in a hurry.

I don’t have a p45, I assume ..... sent it to my old address but have asked for a copy to be sent to me.

 

On 18th August 2017 during the ‘waiting period’ of my claim I received about £440 for my final wage.

As my first assessment period was from 20th August 2017 I assumed this wasn’t relevant, I should have double checked and was my error.

In December 2017 I paid ......back around £85 of this as they had overpaid me.

 

At some point in June/July I applied to study for a Full time Masters at the same university I completed my degree.

I was in two minds about it so didn’t accept the offer at the time but applied for a postgraduate loan, so everything was in place should I decide to go.

I changed the course to part time as the goal was to try and work alongside it.

 

On 26th September 2017 I go and enrol on the course start date 2nd October 2017.

As soon as I got back to where I was staying I realised what a mistake I made.

 

I was homeless, in debt, and my depression, anxiety and bulimia had worsened signifcally following the end of the relationship and being evicted.

I had nowhere stable to stay and didn’t know if I would ever at that point as the local authority were still deciding whether I had a right to be housed.

I was in no position to think about work and study.

I withdrew from my course a few days after enrolling, the official date was 9th October 2017.

I wasn’t liable for any fees as withdrew during the cancellation period.

 

I received £1,697 in student loan to cover 2nd October 2017 to 28th February 2018.

I thought the Student Loans company would be in touch to take back the loan but did not hear from them.

From then until now the money was swallowed up by my debts and costs associated with my eating disorder.

 

During October 2017 until now life has been very chaotic.

The stress of being homeless, strained relationships with family and friends arising from having to sofa surf, assessments for my mental health, problems in the property I signed for on....March 2018, and finally getting help to deal with my debt has taken its toll.

 

I completely forgot about the loan as I was dealing with so much and trying to get through each day as it came.

The period I’ve been claiming the housing element for does not overlap with the period covered by the student loan.

 

The Citizens Advice Bureau helped me with a Debt Relief Order, and this was approved in 2018,

however the, 4th September 2018 I was reading online, and someone said although student loans are excluded, they still had to be declared.

 

I contact the Insolvency Service, who made a note and asked how much I owed.

I didn’t know I logged into my account and found out.

 

Following this, I looked through the correspondence stored online, and see that on the withdrawal letter it states the student loan may affect benefits and should let the office know.

Once again, I look online and see that its classed as income and should have been declared.

I couldn’t take any further action from then on .

 

On the 6th September 2018 I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau as I was hoping someone would help me put down everything in coherent manner so I could explain the situation and pay back anything I owed. They said I had to do it myself but said afterwards they will help further. They also signposted me to The Samaritan’s.

 

That same day I made an appointment to see my work coach to explain everything, this was booked for 12th September 2018.

Someone said I had to report it via online journal, so this is what I am doing in addition to telling my work coach.

 

This is all my fault and I accept responsibility for not declaring all this at the time.

My anxiety means when I go to the jobcentre I don’t really take in information properly, as I just concentrate on when I can leave, but I should have told my work coach, who is aware of my mental health issues.

 

Because of shuttling between places when I was homeless, plus my health conditions, I didn’t keep on top of my paperwork as I should have.

Things have been lost in transit or forgotten about.

For this I can only apologise and hope this will all be taken into consideration.

 

I accept there will be an overpayment to pay back, but I’m glad this all came to light now rather than further down the line.

I have attached all the documentation I have including;

Student Finance Letters

Payslip

Emails between work and I

Emails between The University and I

Email from DRO advisor from Citizens Advice Bureau

Withdrawal form from University

I am also hoping to get a letter from my doctor or CBT therapist detailing my health issues and how they affect me.

 

i finally have some sort of timeline, i've tried not to add unnecessary things.

there may be slightly different dates etc as unfortunately i deleted a lot of stuff last year, plus cant find some documents at all.

I just neglected everything as was feeling so low and the focus was on getting somewhere to live.

I might see if i can recover deleted files from my phone and computer somehow though.

 

August 2016 -July 2017 - Income purely from student loan and grants for undergraduate course

2011- May 2017 – Lived alone in home town

24th July – 10th August 2017 – employed, wages paid weekly In arrears. Last day of work 10th august, but official resignation 17th August.

14th August 2017 – submitted universal credit form online , see previous posts for those errors

18th August 2017 – 440 wage from job

21st August 2017-20th September – assessment period for first UC payment

26th September 2017- Enrolled on masters

2nd October 2017- received 1,667 student loan to cover from now until 28th February 2018

9th October 2017- Withdrawal from course processed by university

At some point between October and November I have my medical assessment and placed in limited capacity for work group

December 2017- Paid back overpayment of 85 to previous employer

...March 2018 – Sign tenancy for housing association flat, housing element of Universal Credit added from here

4th September 2018– Saw online about Student Loan having to be declared although excluded from DRO so inform Insolvency Service and check student loan balance online. Find out that classed as income and should have let UC know

6th September 2018 – Got advice from CAB signposted to Samaritans and Womens Aid. Made appointment to speak to work coach at Jobcentre in a few days. Decide to check through journal to see if there was anything else I missed, got wrong and found the 12 months prior to claiming and if im expecting any other wages errors.

 

Note: from 12th August – 5th March was sofa surfing so didn’t claim housing element then, was just basic UC

Edited by dx100uk
merge & tidy re reported post

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Driving myself crazy with worry.

Can't cope with this.

Can't call the crisis team as that'll delay telling the jobcentre.

Feel so lost and tired.

 

3 different things it seems I was careless with.

The earnings in previous 12 months,

the final wage from job,

and the student loan.

 

What if they say it's fraud?

Interview under caution?

Court?

No matter what I always maintained in life that there's a glimmer of hope things could get better.

That's gone now

Edited by dx100uk
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stop fretting its not fraud.....

no court

stop worrying so much..

 

dx


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Thank you for your reply it helps to know I'm not totally alone.

 

For the last few days I've spent all day every day looking up uc overpayments, the past month googling cancer and the month before that debt relief order s.

 

I've always had mental health issues but they were fairly manageable.

The past 12 months my anxiety is sky high, I find myself obsessing over things and feel like I'm having a mental breakdown.

 

For anyone reading this , mental health problems are exhausting.

I hate my life and being like this.

Last July i got a degree, something I thought I'd never be able to do.

Now look at me.

How did I go downhill so fast?

 

The lady I saw at the CAB asked her supervisor and said it could be viewed as either an overpayment or benefit fraud.

And that was before I went back and saw the last wage from work and previous earnings errors.

Convinced it's going to be fraud .

Just like I'm convinced family member has cancer

Edited by dx100uk
spacing..swearing

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Suggest you concentrate on your health and recovering from your current issues.

 

The issues you are have posted about are not that important.

 

Yes there has been a overpayment taking into account student finance. But given your health, the likely outcome is there would be a small debt with no civil penalty applied. And the debt would not be as much as you think, because there is a £110 disregard for student finance per Universal Credit monthly Assessment period. So from my rough calculation £550 would have been ignored anyway.

 

If you want Universal Credit to calculate any overpayment in regard to the student finance, then speak to the Job Centre Work Coach about this and provide them with any student finance document you have. Explain that your health and problems you experienced caused you to not mention the student finance at the time,

 

Once Universal Credit have worked out the overpayment amount you owe, you would simply contact a DWP department and arrange to pay it back over a period of time.


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Thank you For your reply. From what I've read because I'm not in DLA i woulden't have been entitled to universal credit whilst studying in a part time masters anyway, so would that amount still be disregarded?Although I was only a student for a few days.

 

Guess the job centre thought I wasn't severe enough for DLA or PIP as it's never been suggested to me, only my therapist and the person I saw at the CAB said I might in the the wrong work group.

 

 

To be honest if it was just that one issue i wouldn't be freaking out So much....But the last wage I didn't declare because it was received in the first 7 waiting days, plus the ex partners earnings thing is cause for concern.

 

Will they contact him to ask? I don't fullybtrust that he would tell the truth. Just puzzled why that question was asked as I was not livingg with him when I put in the claim, but when asked about my previous address (before being kicked out and putting in my claim) i said I had lived there with a partner. Was only for 3 months though and in the year prior to my claim i only worked for 3 week. The rest of The time I was a student or living off my credit.

 

I hope they will be understanding as I'm a year late telling them, it's my fault really, with all the upheaval going on i was neglecting so much stuff. Only attended uni one day and thought they would ask for the loan back. I guess if I had a healthy bank account i would have remembered, but within a couple of months the money was swallowed up by my debts. Its been one thing after another and a lot of things were neglected, including e my health.

 

The medication in on seems to be doing nothing for me so I guess I should go back to the doctor s and see what else they can do. I have a feeling when I see my CBT person for the eating disorder, he will say to put everything on hold until my mood is more stable. Then I'll have to go through the entire drawn out process again.

 

Thank you all again for putting up with my ramblings. I am just terrified by what I've read online about interviews under caution and needing lawyers. The money i have to pay back isn't a issue. Was my error so I have to put it right. Just pray it doesn't effect my DRO otherwise that's another problem to add to the pile

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The student finance is just an overpayment calculation. You had the finance but did not attend.

 

The wages you had at the start of Universal Credit should have been considered by Universal Credit, as the employers send the wages data to HMRC and UC receives this data. So it might not be an issue. Even if there was an overpayment because the wages data was not received, then the assessment period is recalculated, to see how much is owed.

 

in regard to income in previous 12 months to Universal Credit, this is just for data purposes. As explained before, this is so Universal Credit computer understand possibility of not receiving earnings information some months. E.g. Seasonal workers, people who don't work every month of the year.


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