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Letter to cancel Housing Benefit - advice needed
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# 1
vyvyan
Old 16-12-2006, 1:01 PM
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Default Letter to cancel Housing Benefit - advice needed

I'm going to write to cancel my Housing Benefit but I don't want to give a reason. Is it acceptable to just write:

Dear sirs HB ref; xxxxxxx
I'm writing to cancel my claim for Housing Benefit.
Yours faithfulluy, vyvyan

Between you and me I'm fed up with the system, to the point where I've been pushed close to the edge too many times. My HB is worth about £30 a week and although finding the extra is going to be very tough I would rather do this on my own. I've done my sums and the budget is going to be tighter than a blah blah, I think the peace of mind is more valuable.

Do I say due to a change in my personal circumstances....(not true btw)?

Dear sirs, on yer bike, love and kisses vyvyan?

I like my first version but is it too brief?
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# 2
djdido2
Old 16-12-2006, 1:26 PM
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hi there

what a pain the system can be. been there although its a fair few years now. if i were you i would be completely honest and tell them you would rather struggle than deal with incompetence and frustration, often to the point of tears. would ringing them not be easier and quicker?

i would send the the brief draft but i would queue and hand it in person where you will get a receipt of acknowledgement. the amount of these things that go missing!! tsk!!!
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# 3
msmicawber
Old 16-12-2006, 1:34 PM
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Dear Vyvyan,

I know what you mean - you probably don't have to give a reason, but if you don't, you're worried that they might assume that you've been doing something shifty and put you through an investigation - more paperwork, more stress, etc.

How about just saying that you would find it easier to budget on a low, predictable income than have to keep making adjustments because your housing benefit keeps changing or being delayed (assuming that's what has been giving you stress)?

Hopefully, one of the posters who works in the HB section of a Council will come along and let you know how a 'minimal' letter would be viewed.
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# 4
seven-day-weekend
Old 16-12-2006, 1:54 PM
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I would just write and say you no longer wish to claim HB.

I don't see why you have to give them a reason - although you may want to.
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# 5
Penny-Pincher!!
Old 16-12-2006, 2:32 PM
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If its going to be a struggle getting the £30 per week together to make up the HB you are currently receiving....why sendin a letter to cancel it? If they are paying £30pw ATM, then I dont see what the problem is:confused: If you are entitled to the money, why would you write and tell them you no longer want it.

Sorry, but your not making sense to me!

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# 6
msmicawber
Old 16-12-2006, 3:14 PM
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I understand Vyvyan completely, PP - it's a time-consuming and humiliating process applying for benefit. Then there are delays, requests for further information, letters sent telling you you're entitled to X, then not entitled to anything, then only entitled to Y so must pay back so much per week, etc. etc. It's very unnerving and difficult to budget. There are quite often gaps in payments which are notified to the claimant after they've happened, which can cause you to go overdrawn (if you have that facility), or standing orders & direct debits to bounce, racking up bank charges. I could go on. Sometimes it's preferable to know exactly where you are, even if money is very tight than to be in a constant state of flux.
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# 7
Aitch7
Old 16-12-2006, 3:49 PM
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Default re your HB letter

Quote:
Originally Posted by vyvyan
I'm going to write to cancel my Housing Benefit but I don't want to give a reason. Is it acceptable to just write:

Dear sirs HB ref; xxxxxxx
I'm writing to cancel my claim for Housing Benefit.
Yours faithfulluy, vyvyan

Between you and me I'm fed up with the system, to the point where I've been pushed close to the edge too many times. My HB is worth about £30 a week and although finding the extra is going to be very tough I would rather do this on my own. I've done my sums and the budget is going to be tighter than a blah blah, I think the peace of mind is more valuable.

Do I say due to a change in my personal circumstances....(not true btw)?

Dear sirs, on yer bike, love and kisses vyvyan?

I like my first version but is it too brief?
Hello,

I'm so sorry to hear that you have had such difficulties with HB - I have been there several times too and in fact am there are the moment as I am claiming again (although in a different state of mind) but hoping to have my own business up and running very soon and to finally escape from HB.

It sounds as though you have made the decision but it might be worth noting a couple of points.

1 - why are you cancelling your claim when you are now getting £30 per week? if the claim is now up and running could you hang in there a while and just comply with their system for a while?

2 - if you do continue to claim - you might want to read the thread I started about HB staff - I started to create a set of resources on how to deal with the system and the staff. If you read it there are some useful tips, - it is interesting to also note that there are some pretty vicious attacks on me there too - interestingly from HB staff(!)

3 - if you do decide to write the letter - just state your reasons for ending the claim clearly and honestly - after all it is the truth. Take it in in person and get a date stamped receipt for it.

4 - there are strategies that you can use to cope with HB - I have felt as desperate as you do and have had to change my coping methods as the system is not going to change. You CAN DO THIS. Read the tips on my thread.

Take care,
Aitch7
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# 8
Croasdaile
Old 16-12-2006, 4:00 PM
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Suggest you think again about ceasing to claim HB. The system is designed to frustrate applicants to the point where many say "what the hell" and give up, thus the authority save money. Don't even consider letting them get the better of you!! Persist and claim that to which you are entitled.

To answer your question,
Housing Benefit must be claimed. Technically you are proposing to cease claiming benefit from a specific date (which you need to state in your letter). Although you are not obliged to state the reason you can be sure they will write to you seeking the reason. When this happened to me I replied saying simply that I no longer qualified. If you decide to go through with what you propose I would suggest you state the real reason for your action.
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# 9
vyvyan
Old 16-12-2006, 4:46 PM
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Thank you for all of the constructive replies. Iíve hit a few thanks buttons!

I have made my decision Ė itís just a case of how best to go about it. I think Iíll go with my first, brief draft and add that I would now prefer to be independent etc. (need to think about this (suggestions welcome)) effective from the date on the letter. Iíll also get a receipt of acknowledgment Ė hadnít thought of that one!

As Msmicawber guessed, my problems are due to varying entitlement because I sometimes have the chance to work overtime, and also about twice a year I get a bonus payment which is a portion of tips which are pooled and split between the team I work with. Every time my payslip is different from the basic, I need to send it off and they re-adjust my entitlement. A total nightmare for my own budgeting. My £30 per week is roughly the Ďnormalí one. In future, any overtime and bonus will go in my own pot, for my own benefit, peace of mind, blood pressure etc. There is the humiliation and the intrusiveness of it all - although I obviously do know why these measures are all in place to keep the system fair etc. This is not a decision Iíve made lightly or casually as Iíve been considering this since about the time I joined MSE earlier this year. Iíve done a lot of number crunching. Iíve been on HB for almost 10 years but my entitlement has decreased in that time as Iíve changed jobs and gradually increased my hours to full time. I now have the anticipation of personal pride in being independent for the New Year.
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# 10
msmicawber
Old 16-12-2006, 4:58 PM
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I'm behind you Vyvyan, having recently done the same myself - I feel such a weight off my shoulders, although I'm slightly worse off financially. It was soooo lovely getting a Christmas bonus and not thinking 'Oh God, how long is this going to take the Council to reassess, and how much is it going to cost me' and, for the first time in years, I actually have some money for Christmas.

One thing I forgot to mention is that you should give them a date from which you wish your claim to cease. I chose the day after my previous payment for ease of calculation.

Very best wishes.
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# 11
JAMIEDODGER
Old 16-12-2006, 5:05 PM
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i am also considering this! now being self employed i have to send in all my accounts for them to have a nose at and the result: £25pw housing benefit and £9 pwk council tax benefit!

because i have so many diffrerent bank accounts, it cost me a fortune printing copies of all of them as most are paperless accounts! being self employed i have to do this every THREE months!!!! it just seems such a pointless waste of time and paperwork.

in januarymy maintenece from ex husband is going up so i expect another long wait for them to sort that out too and i know i will end up with less benefit so i am thinking....whats the point????
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# 12
real1314
Old 16-12-2006, 6:46 PM
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Hi vyvyan,

a few bits of advice:

1. technically you cannot just withdraw your claim, although practically they will probably accept it.

2. Fluctuating earnings are the worst case scenario for the claimant and the HB staff alike. They never know what to do with them and you never know where you stand.

And a suggestion:

Rather then lose out on money you are entitled to, why not write a clear letter to the council, stating the situation you find yourself in, and asking if they can find a way to set a consistent rate for a defined period. I would suggest that you ask for your HB to be re-assessed every 13 weeks, based on the previous 13 weeks earnings.

There are many problems with the HB regs,not least of which is that earnings should technically be taken into account for the period they are paid - i.e if you are paid monthly and start work, you lose (some) HB from the week you start and struggle for the first 4 weeks. Sometimes presenting the HB staff with a solution they can agree to is better for you.
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# 13
peter999
Old 16-12-2006, 9:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by real1314
1. technically you cannot just withdraw your claim, although practically they will probably accept it.
WHAT ???
Where did you get this nonsense from ??

Of course you can cancel HB or JSA without giving any reason.
It's your claim, your responsibility & you can cancel at anytime.

It baffles me, people give completely wrong advice.

You do not have to give a reason & there is nothing suspicious about it.
There are any number of reasons why you may stop claiming.

Just write a simple letter saying you want to stop your claim for HB from such & such date.

peter999

Last edited by peter999; 16-12-2006 at 9:46 PM.
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# 14
real1314
Old 16-12-2006, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter999
WHAT ???
Where did you get this nonsense from ??

Of course you can cancel HB or JSA without giving any reason.
It's your claim, your responsibility & you can cancel at anytime.

It baffles me, people give completely wrong advice.

You do not have to give a reason & there is nothing suspicious about it.
There are any number of reasons why you may stop claiming.

Just write a simple letter saying you want to stop your claim for HB from such & such date.
And it's not "your claim" it's a claim based on regulations. The regs own it, not "you".

peter999
There are no regulation that allow the withdrawal of a claim on which a decision has already been made.
Unless YOU can find one?

It is often done/accepted on pragmatic reasons, but there are no grounds in law for it.

I'm not sure why you're getting so OTT about what was just a small point about the technicalities of the relevant regs, rather than their practical impact.

Edit data: Zebedee, Ward and Lister agree with me.

Last edited by real1314; 16-12-2006 at 10:46 PM.
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# 15
donnalove
Old 16-12-2006, 10:44 PM
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i know its a different benifit, but last year we had to claim income support, luckily after a few weeks my oh got another job. i rang to tell income support to end the claim but we had to put it in wrighting and also tell them start date, income and place of work
why they need that information is beyond me but they insisted they needed it.
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# 16
real1314
Old 16-12-2006, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnalove
i know its a different benifit, but last year we had to claim income support, luckily after a few weeks my oh got another job. i rang to tell income support to end the claim but we had to put it in wrighting and also tell them start date, income and place of work
why they need that information is beyond me but they insisted they needed it.
Because under the benefit regs there is no provision for withdrawing a claim that has been "decided".
Before the claim has been decided a withdrawal can be made and no decision is then needed on the claim.

(others might disagree but they lack the knowledge that I possess )
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# 17
peter999
Old 16-12-2006, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by real1314
There are no regulation that allow the withdrawal of a claim on which a decision has already been made.
Unless YOU can find one?

I'm not sure why you're getting so OTT about what was just a small point about the technicalities of the relevant regs, rather than their practical impact.
The poster has decided themselves they want to STOP their claim & not get wrapped up in Regs. & technicalities any further.

You seem to think the claimant does not have a right to STOP their claim.

Last edited by peter999; 16-12-2006 at 11:20 PM.
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# 18
peter999
Old 16-12-2006, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnalove
i rang to tell income support to end the claim but we had to put it in wrighting and also tell them start date, income and place of work
why they need that information is beyond me but they insisted they needed it.
They do not need all this information (ie. income/place of work).
They ask (insist/assume) you should provide for their own data purposes.

peter999

Last edited by peter999; 16-12-2006 at 11:26 PM.
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# 19
real1314
Old 16-12-2006, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter999
They do not need this information.
They ask (insist/assume) you should provide for their own data purposes.

peter999
Peter, do you have any actual informed knowledge of benefit regulations?

The advice you are giving, in direct contradiction of my advice, is completely incorrect.
Technically you CANNOT just withdraw a claim to benefit, you have to show that you are not entitled to the benefit.

I'm not sure why you think you know better, but as Zebedee, ward and Lister are the authors of the Guide to HB and CTB regs, as published by Shelter I think they may be working off more accurate information that you are.

Just because you "think" you are right, doesn't mean that you are.


As for your other point about people not having the "right" to stop their claim, they don't. The law does not allow it (technically).

Last edited by real1314; 16-12-2006 at 11:29 PM.
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# 20
Hoddie
Old 17-12-2006, 12:39 AM
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It's true, you cannot withdraw a claim unless you can prove you are no longer entitled. That said, it seems to be only Tax Credits where they actually uphold this (I assume because the system is 100% automatic and they'd have to enter incorrect/false information in order to stop a live claim).
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