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(21 Posts)
LizG Wed 21-Aug-13 19:15:47

My daughter is due to receive a miniscule increase in Tax Credits - we are talking pence not pounds but because the Tax Credits people believe eroneously that she was overpaid last year they are cutting her payment by £150 per month for the first two months. We have proof of this and have been trying to get them to sort it out for several months.

Today she received a letter from the council saying her housing benefit will be stopped because she failed to notify them of the Tax Credit increase (mind you they received details on the same date as my daughter did and that was the weekend). She has been told that to have the housing benefit reinstated she must supply bank statements and wage slips. This process could apparently take several weeks.

It would seem once again that because my daughter left her husband because he got another woman pregnant she is yet again being stabbed in the back. The only money my daughter will get is her small wage for the 16 hours work she does and the paltry sum she gets from her ex.

Apparently the Government, Tax Credits and the Council are quite happy to see my daughter and her two children homeless and hungry. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE. And the letters they send make HER make her sound like a criminal.

I would like Ian D-S to try and survive on what they are expecting her to live on. This is not the first time the systems have made major cock-ups but we are now both pensioners and not able to take up the slack.

Mishap Wed 21-Aug-13 19:32:22

The benefits system is so very complicated that it is impossible for people to get it right all the time and then they inadvertently find themselves penalised. It really is a disgrace, as those applying for such benefits often have quite enough else on their plate anyway.

I am sorry that your DD is having these problems - CAB can often be very helpful in these situations.

nanaej Wed 21-Aug-13 20:24:54

Sorry that your daughter is having such a complicated time.LizG I think mishaps advice re CAB is a good one and would also have suggested it.

I really do not know why there cannot be one payment per family rather than being funded from different places who do not seem to ever know what the other is doing.

If it was agreed that a family of x adults & x children need £Y to live per week then you need only assess earned income and then the difference between earned income and £Y would be the benefit payment.

It would then be possible to have some reasonable regional variations as the £Y could be based on average rental prices.

If a member of the family had a disability/ additional medical need then that is an additonal payment to the 'basic benefit'

i am sure there a reasons why the system cannot be simple .....

absent Wed 21-Aug-13 20:28:24

I thought the egregious Duncan Smith was rolling all benefits into one.

nanaej Wed 21-Aug-13 20:32:46

Well there you go! it's taking time! I will look it up absent grin

nanaej Wed 21-Aug-13 20:41:25

In July 2013 Duncan Smith was found by Andrew Dilnot CBE, Head of the UK Statistics Authority, to have broken the Code of Practice for Official Statistics for his and the DWP's use of figures in support of government policies.[40] Dilnot also stated that, following an earlier complaint about the handling of statistics by Duncan Smith's department, he had previously been told, "that senior DWP officials had reiterated to their staff the seriousness of their obligations under the Code of Practice and that departmental procedures would be reviewed".

Duncan Smith's defence of his department was that " "You cannot absolutely prove those two things are connected – you cannot disprove what I said. I believe this to be right.".[41]

This led Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and former chief economist at the Cabinet Office, to accuse the Conservative Party of going beyond spin and the normal political practice of cherry picking of figures to the act of actually "making things up" with respect to the impact of government policy on employment and other matters.[42]

I cannot see any update on universal credit??? Anyone out there know what's happening ??

LizG Wed 21-Aug-13 21:04:31

Thank you for your responses. Sadly I think the broken marriages could cause the problem for your very sensible idea nanaej and which parent has the children and when. It is such a horrible situation to be in.

Also sadly when my daughter's marriage first broke up she visited the CAB and was seen by an elderly gentleman who obviously believed a woman's place was in the home regardless of the provocation. He seriously gave no help at all and I don't think I could persuade her to return. I went with her and couldn't believe the attitude of the volunteer. I feel if we could get someone who is sympathetic it would help.

The trouble is Mishap we havent got anything wrong, the mistakes are genuinely on the other side but when you try to sort things out they seem to take steps backward.

Thanks again for your comments, I really am worried and wonder just when all her problems will end.

grannyactivist Wed 21-Aug-13 21:17:32

LizG I suggest your daughter makes an appointment with her MP at his/her local office and take along whatever paperwork is relevant. When an MP gets involved things tend to be moved along pretty quickly in my experience. It is worrying, but I'll bet your daughter is very glad to have mum rooting for her. smile

LizG Wed 21-Aug-13 21:32:26

Thanks grannyactivist that is a good thought. I had started planning a letter (so I can sleep on it) but this may be a better option. And what a nice comment to make, its made me feel so much better.

bluebell Wed 21-Aug-13 21:35:25

Absolutely agree about going to see your MP - hope you've got a good one. Sorry about the CAB - do you have another town near you with one which might be better? I know that's a poor solution however. Good luck. Your daughters story might be food for thought for some GNers with very clear views on benefit claimants and the life of Riley they enjoy

shelby75 Wed 21-Aug-13 21:40:20

If not already doing so, it would be a good idea for your daughter to keep a diary of any telephone conversations she has with both the HMRC and the council. Note the dates AND times not just what was said. I've known others that have been on the receiving end of HMRC screw ups, one who kept meticulous records got her 'overpayment' reduced. Another who didn't, as she didn't believe the HMRC could tell fibs on the phone and when she tried to appeal via their appeal process and filled in their appeal forms, the HMRC just wrote backing saying she had no right of appeal. Keep records and as far as possible, keep everything in writing.

LizG Wed 21-Aug-13 21:45:57

Lots of excellent advice, thank you so much. I shall be passing it on to my daughter in the morning. Seriously, I am very grateful, you are helping me to see a way through.

bikergran Wed 21-Aug-13 21:50:21

agree with Mishap when my DD and her new husband both lost their jobs at the same time...the jobcentre and housing benefits were a nightmare, making them feel like scroungers,, they went and had to have an emergency payment (£33) ! they went to CAB whom said go straight back to jobcentre and tell them what I have just told you!.....the jobcentre then had! to sort some thing out as they knew by law they had! to! so yes...CAB as soon as.

Jendurham Thu 22-Aug-13 00:13:41

Article in the Guardian today by Liam Byrne says that the Labour Party will cut benefits even harder. I feel absolutely sickened by this.
Nobody to vote for now.

Iam64 Thu 22-Aug-13 08:45:53

Sorry to read how tough things are for your daughter LizG. I hope your daughter's MP can speed things up a bit. Your daughter is much more typical of those who qualify for some form of benefit than the "lazy scrounger" image that the government and some parts of the media portray. Jendurham -I hadn't seen the Guardian article - so many of us feel disenfranchised.

annodomini Thu 22-Aug-13 09:33:37

LizG, as a recently retired CAB volunteer, I am shocked at the attitude of the adviser you encountered. In my experience, this is entirely atypical and I suggest that you should complain about this to the Bureau manager. A letter to your MP would be a good start, but he/she is probably inundated with similar problems and it might take some time to reach a solution. I would urge your daughter to go back to the CAB - perhaps even another nearby Bureau - and ask for a different adviser.

KatyK Thu 22-Aug-13 09:45:36

LizG. This is awful but I am not surprised as something similar happened to my DD a few years ago. She was very surprised to receive a large cheque from HMRC with a letter attached saying she had been grossly underpaid Tax Credits. She telephoned them several times, speaking to a different person each time, and was assured it was correct and told to spend it, which she did. A while later she received another letter advising that this had in fact been a mistake and that she should send the money back which she was unable to do. So they stopped her Tax Credits completely and she hasn't had any for a few years now. I think contacting your MP is sound advice.

Movedalot Thu 22-Aug-13 10:23:55

So sorry to hear this Liz and agree with what the others have said. Just have one thing to add, as well as writing down what was said and the time and date, get the name of the person spoken to. It helps if you ask for their name at the beginning of the conversation as people tend to be a bit more careful what they say if they know you have their name. The audit trail will help her memory and be very useful in an appeal.

We have only gone to meet our MP once, years ago, and he was really good. Perhaps you could go with her?

Good luck

gillybob Thu 22-Aug-13 10:38:09

I totally sympathise with your daughters situation LizG. My son and DIL have three small children (7,5 and 3) they both work in fairly low paid jobs and rely and the little one going to nursery 3 days a week (I do the other 2). According to a letter they received last week they are having their tax credits stopped for around 3 months as they say they were overpaid during 2009-2010 !! Why has it taken so long? and how do they expect my DIL to continue working without any childcare? It is difficult enough for young families constantly juggling to make ends meet without this.

LizG Thu 22-Aug-13 21:53:11

Thank you again everyone. That is horrendous KatyK how on earth are they coping? It certainly makes our problems seem minor in comparison.

Gillybob, my daughter put in a request that they check her tax credits for 2009/10 because she believed them to be underpaid. It was my husband who did the work for my daughter because he used to be an accountant and knows his way round numbers. They have just come back to us to say request was too late and no payment would be made. What a shame we can't do the same thing to them but the rules don't work two ways. She was also underpaid for 2010/11 so it will be interesting to see what their response to this will be.

My daughter now has a contact with CAB apparently so things may be better this time. Fingers crossed and hopefully everyone who is in this situation will soon find a great improvement.

seasider Fri 23-Aug-13 07:38:49

If your area has a welfare rights service they are excellent at dealing with benefit queries.