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The council are useless

Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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Dec 18, 2012
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I got a letter from the council this week telling me that I now have to pay five pounds a week on my rent even though I get full housing benefit.

I phoned them up and was told that I got overpaid housing benefit away back in 2014 and I have to pay that overpayment back. What a I don’t understand is why has it taken them that long to realise I was overpaid housing benefit.

I always pay my water and sewage on time every week at the council (because everyone in Scotland has to pay water and sewage) and now I have to cough up £5 a week in rent because of the incompetence of the councils handling with my housing benefit away back in 2014.

I was told when I phoned them that I only have to pay £5 for two weeks to clear the arrears because of the overpayment but still it’s the principle.

Should I talk to citizens advise about this? Please advise.
 
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Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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Hi,
Yes talk to the citizens advice bureau. Good luck, it isn't right this mistake was made.
Take care
 
W

*winofunk*

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Hello Artmuzz. Good adternoon.

Here, in Scotland, there are time limits on pursuing a debt, five years or twenty years. The majority of benefit overpayments come under the 20 year rule.

The easiest way of having an overpayment written off is to argue that you did not provide false information, or fail to provide information relevant to your ongoing Housing Benefit award. If you did not, then the debt may be classed as an official error and should be non-recoverable.

You said in your post that this is because of the council's incompetence. So has this been their mistake?
 
Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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Thanks for the replies. I am assuming the mistake is made by the council because I wrote no false information regarding my ESA.

I will phone them up and tell them what you told me and if they refuse to write it off then I will have to go to citizens advise or seek legal advise from a solicitor.
 
R

ramboghettouk

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my council nothings they're responsibility it's all the responsibulity of these arms length companys they use according to the counciller
 
Hopefuloldie

Hopefuloldie

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my council nothings they're responsibility it's all the responsibulity of these arms length companys they use according to the counciller
It sounds like your councillor is being a bit tricksy here - any "arms length company" will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the council!
 
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ramboghettouk

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It sounds like your councillor is being a bit tricksy here - any "arms length company" will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the council!
she didn't use the words arms length company every time people brought up anything she said it wasn't the councild responsibility but the contractors employed by the council
 
Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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What a nightmare this has been. I phoned the council again and they told me that I will have to phone DWP to see if I was getting contribution based ESA at the time of the overpayment of housing benefit back in 2014. If I was on income based ESA then the council can write the overpayment off.
 
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Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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Considering the overpaid housing benefit was paid directly to my landlord (my local council) shouldn’t they be paying back the overpayment and not me?
 
Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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I was on contribution based ESA at the time of the overpaid housing benefit which meant I had to pay some of my rent which I paid. I always paid what rent I had to pay every week without fail.

Considering the overpaid housing benefit was paid directly to my landlord (my local council) shouldn’t they be paying back the overpayment and not me?
 
W

*winofunk*

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Foggy brain alert.

Was your contribution based ESA converted from Incapacity Benefit? Did you have transitional protection that would mean you were paid a higher amount than the standard rate of ESA at the time?

Without being able to look at your claim and the figures involved, it is difficult to advise. If you live alone, only if your income was higher than the minimum amount the government say you need to live on (called your 'applicable amount') should you be classed as having excess income and therefore be liable to contribute to your rent.

If you still believe this is their error then you could write to them and complain. In your letter you could state that the overpayment was caused by 'official error' and you could not be expected to know that there was an overpayment and as such, under Regulation 100(2) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, the overpayment is non-recoverable.

It is for the local authority to be able to show that you knew at the time you had been overpaid.

That said, it might be best to sit down with someone and have them look through the details of your claim who can identify why there was an overpayment so any mistake in your claim can be identified.

Information on Housing Benefit overpayments can be found at:

Shelter Legal Scotland - Overpayments of housing benefit

If there is a way of posting hyperlinks via the app, I do not know it :(
 
Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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Foggy brain alert.

Was your contribution based ESA converted from Incapacity Benefit? Did you have transitional protection that would mean you were paid a higher amount than the standard rate of ESA at the time?

Without being able to look at your claim and the figures involved, it is difficult to advise. If you live alone, only if your income was higher than the minimum amount the government say you need to live on (called your 'applicable amount') should you be classed as having excess income and therefore be liable to contribute to your rent.

If you still believe this is their error then you could write to them and complain. In your letter you could state that the overpayment was caused by 'official error' and you could not be expected to know that there was an overpayment and as such, under Regulation 100(2) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, the overpayment is non-recoverable.

It is for the local authority to be able to show that you knew at the time you had been overpaid.

That said, it might be best to sit down with someone and have them look through the details of your claim who can identify why there was an overpayment so any mistake in your claim can be identified.

Information on Housing Benefit overpayments can be found at:

Shelter Legal Scotland - Overpayments of housing benefit

If there is a way of posting hyperlinks via the app, I do not know it :(
Yes, my contribution based ESA was converted from Incapacity Benefit. In 2013 I was moved into ESA from Incapacity Benefit. According to an ESA award letter I read I stopped getting Contribution Based ESA in April 2014.

From April 2014 I got awarded full housing benefit which covered my whole rent. However just a week before being moved into income based ESA and full housing benefit I was mistakenly paid full housing benefit without me knowing about it.

I continued paying my landlord (the council) £6 in rent even on that week of the full Housing Benefit getting paid. My rent account has always been up to date. However, I got a letter from my landlord (the council) telling me I have to pay £6 because of a weeks overpaid housing benefit from away back in 2014 that my landlord or myself never knew about.

There was no changes to my circumstances at the time of the overpayment so it was a mistake by Housing Benefit. However, I am expected to pay this back even though I didn’t see a penny of this overpayment in housing benefit. This is stressing me out and that’s the last thing I need because I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder.
 
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Tired Daisy

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Yes, my contribution based ESA was converted from Incapacity Benefit. In 2013 I was moved into ESA from Incapacity Benefit. According to an ESA award letter I read I stopped getting Contribution Based ESA in April 2014.

From April 2014 I got awarded full housing benefit which covered my whole rent. However just a week before being moved into income based ESA and full housing benefit I was mistakenly paid full housing benefit without me knowing about it.

I continued paying my landlord (the council) £6 in rent even on that week of the full Housing Benefit getting paid. My rent account has always been up to date. However, I got a letter from my landlord (the council) telling me I have to pay £6 because of a weeks overpaid housing benefit from away back in 2014 that my landlord or myself never knew about.

There was no changes to my circumstances at the time of the overpayment so it was a mistake by Housing Benefit. However, I am expected to pay this back even though I didn’t see a penny of this overpayment in housing benefit. This is stressing me out and that’s the last thing I need because I suffer from anxiety and panic disorder.
Don't you mean Income Support? Incapacity benefit finished years ago like 2005 or something.
 
R

ramboghettouk

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i think both incapacity benefit and income support became esa in some reorganisation

i wouldn't bother about the small sum involved, getting representation that you really need to sort it out would be difficult, having said that i have my savings even if i'm been investigated
 
Artmuzz

Artmuzz

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Don't you mean Income Support? Incapacity benefit finished years ago like 2005 or something.
I was getting Incapacity Benefit from 2005 right up until 2013 when I was moved onto ESA. I’ve never been on Income Support.
 
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