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  • FIRST POST
    • Harry Benny
    • By Harry Benny 14th Jun 17, 8:36 PM
    • 10Posts
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    Harry Benny
    Do I have to go to the job centre to continue getting HB?
    • #1
    • 14th Jun 17, 8:36 PM
    Do I have to go to the job centre to continue getting HB? 14th Jun 17 at 8:36 PM
    For the last 3 years the council have been using miscellaneous income to calculate my housing benefit.

    My income is less than the applicable amount that they use to calculate housing benefit.

    I recently received a letter from the council saying that they think I can't live on my income, and that I might have some other source of income.

    But I am perfectly capable of living on that amount as I am very frugal. And I don't have any other source of income, as they are suggesting.

    The letter says that I should go to the job centre immediately, and that they will suspend my claim in a month if I don't provide evidence that I did so.

    What I want to know is, is this true? Do I have to go to the job centre?

    Or is this merely their suggestion worded strongly enough to make it seem like it's the only option?

    Is going to the job centre the only way that they'll continue with my claim?

    The reason I ask is because I may be able to increase my income so that it's at the applicable amount. However I don't see why they have an issue with the amount, since it is low enough. If it was from a part time job I'm sure they wouldn't be bothered. I think they just want me to get a job. But I am perfectly happy with my income, which comes from selling goods on ebay.

    And what's their issue anyway? Is it that I have not sought work for so long (I know that you don't have to have a job to get HB)? Or is it that my income is lower than the applicable amount?
    Last edited by Harry Benny; 14-06-2017 at 8:40 PM.
Page 2
    • dippy3103
    • By dippy3103 14th Jun 17, 10:47 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 2,493 Thanks
    dippy3103
    I can probably increase my income slightly, but increasing it to the level where I can pay the rent, no. Just like someone with an employer can't just decide one day to increase their income to whatever they want it to be.

    If I was making the exact same amount from a job, they would have no issue, and I know from experience.
    Originally posted by Harry Benny
    Why can you not get a job which pays enough to pay your rent?
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 14th Jun 17, 10:54 PM
    • 10,442 Posts
    • 12,360 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    So what is your applicable amount and how much income are you declaring?

    It is exactly as people are telling you. The council is saying that you cannot live on the amount that you are earning taking into account your bills, council tax, food, broadband etc. and therefore must have another source of income.

    If you want to continue to challenge this then I suggest you complete an income and expenditure form to show them how you are managing. Of course, if you have savings then this might also be taken into account.

    Perhaps you would like to share with us your income and expenditure - might give us all some useful tips to pass on.
    • Harry Benny
    • By Harry Benny 14th Jun 17, 11:01 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Harry Benny
    So what is your applicable amount and how much income are you declaring?

    It is exactly as people are telling you. The council is saying that you cannot live on the amount that you are earning taking into account your bills, council tax, food, broadband etc. and therefore must have another source of income.

    If you want to continue to challenge this then I suggest you complete an income and expenditure form to show them how you are managing. Of course, if you have savings then this might also be taken into account.

    Perhaps you would like to share with us your income and expenditure - might give us all some useful tips to pass on.
    Originally posted by pmlindyloo
    I did complete an income and expenditure form.

    A few years ago I had a part time job and my income was lower than the applicable amount by about £10 per week. They never had an issue.

    Now, it's pretty much the same, but now they have an issue. Can you not understand why I'm questioning this? The only thing that has changed is that I'm not working for someone else.

    Repeat : Nothing has changed except that I am generating this income without working for an employer.

    Why does the council have such a problem with this? Why do they think that I should either sign on or get a job when nothing is different to how it was before, income wise?
    • Xbigman
    • By Xbigman 15th Jun 17, 1:19 AM
    • 2,860 Posts
    • 1,135 Thanks
    Xbigman
    But how many hours a week do you actually work? That is key to understanding the issue. If you work 30+ hours then ok, you are low paid. If you work much less you are part time and can do a second job and should sign on. You seem reluctant to give any real detail. Why?



    Darren
    Xbigman's guide to a happy life.

    Eat properly
    Sleep properly
    Save some money
    • Harry Benny
    • By Harry Benny 15th Jun 17, 1:29 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Harry Benny
    But how many hours a week do you actually work? That is key to understanding the issue. If you work 30+ hours then ok, you are low paid. If you work much less you are part time and can do a second job and should sign on. You seem reluctant to give any real detail. Why?
    Darren
    Originally posted by Xbigman
    I work less than 30 hpw.

    I have asked before and I must ask again :



    A few years ago I had a part time job and my income was lower than the applicable amount by about £10 per week. They never had an issue.

    Now, it's pretty much the same, but now they have an issue. Can you not understand why I'm questioning this? The only thing that has changed is that I'm not working for someone else.

    Repeat : Nothing has changed except that I am generating this income without working for an employer.

    Why does the council have such a problem with this? Why do they think that I should either sign on or get a job when nothing is different to how it was before, income wise?
    • Londonsu
    • By Londonsu 15th Jun 17, 2:38 AM
    • 1,278 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    Londonsu
    I can probably increase my income slightly, but increasing it to the level where I can pay the rent, no. Just like someone with an employer can't just decide one day to increase their income to whatever they want it to be.

    If I was making the exact same amount from a job, they would have no issue, and I know from experience.
    Originally posted by Harry Benny

    Ah yes they CAN by getting a better paid job or getting a promotion
    • theronstar
    • By theronstar 15th Jun 17, 3:33 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 26 Thanks
    theronstar
    Housing Benefit is phasing out and is being replaced by Universal Credit.

    There is certainly a drive to make benefit claimants sustainable.

    For example, for self-employed Universal Credit claimants, they are set a Minimum Income Floor.

    An amount that the Jobcentre expect them to earn from their self employment to show that they are in gainful employment.

    If they cannot do this - after an introductory period - then the DWP will mandate that they find some other work.

    Gone are the days where benefit claimants can earn what they consider to be 'just enough'

    Are you able to raise a complaint against how the local authority is handling your case?
    • Londonsu
    • By Londonsu 15th Jun 17, 7:29 AM
    • 1,278 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    Londonsu
    Housing Benefit is phasing out and is being replaced by Universal Credit.

    There is certainly a drive to make benefit claimants sustainable.

    For example, for self-employed Universal Credit claimants, they are set a Minimum Income Floor.

    An amount that the Jobcentre expect them to earn from their self employment to show that they are in gainful employment.

    If they cannot do this - after an introductory period - then the DWP will mandate that they find some other work.

    Gone are the days where benefit claimants can earn what they consider to be 'just enough'

    Are you able to raise a complaint against how the local authority is handling your case?
    Originally posted by theronstar

    What would the complaint be about as far as I can see the council have don nothing wrong
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 15th Jun 17, 7:41 AM
    • 4,458 Posts
    • 8,855 Thanks
    marliepanda
    Housing Benefit is phasing out and is being replaced by Universal Credit.

    There is certainly a drive to make benefit claimants sustainable.

    For example, for self-employed Universal Credit claimants, they are set a Minimum Income Floor.

    An amount that the Jobcentre expect them to earn from their self employment to show that they are in gainful employment.

    If they cannot do this - after an introductory period - then the DWP will mandate that they find some other work.

    Gone are the days where benefit claimants can earn what they consider to be 'just enough'

    Are you able to raise a complaint against how the local authority is handling your case?
    Originally posted by theronstar
    Loads of stuff about how this is due to universal credits and sustainability which is exactly the issue the OP is bumping into, and then you suggest a complaint?!
    Survey Earnings 2017 - £163
    • tomtom256
    • By tomtom256 15th Jun 17, 7:47 AM
    • 802 Posts
    • 1,480 Thanks
    tomtom256
    One could ask the same of anyone with a part time job. Why do they care so much that my income doesn't come from a job? Working for an employer isn't the only way to make money.

    I have shown them where my income comes from and they are not disputing it.

    I'm trying to understand precisely what their issue is. I have an income, and it's just a bit lower than the applicable amount.

    I suspect that they are uncomfortable because I don't fit into their preconceived ideas of what is legit and what is not. Lots of people are self employed, I happen to be one of them.

    I'm sure they'd have no problems if I was making the exact same money from a part time job.
    Originally posted by Harry Benny
    They care because your income also does not come from benefits, as such it reads to me that they believe you are doing some form of undeclared work in order to get an income.

    Normally people;s income is nil income, income from benefits or income from employment/self-employment.

    Yours sounds like it comes from thin air.
    • catz1ct
    • By catz1ct 15th Jun 17, 8:56 AM
    • 730 Posts
    • 450 Thanks
    catz1ct
    Why don’t you want to go to the Job centre, after all its free money you are entitled to?

    Are you claiming WTC to boost your income?

    • dippy3103
    • By dippy3103 15th Jun 17, 12:38 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 2,493 Thanks
    dippy3103
    I work less than 30 hpw.

    I have asked before and I must ask again :



    A few years ago I had a part time job and my income was lower than the applicable amount by about £10 per week. They never had an issue.

    Now, it's pretty much the same, but now they have an issue. Can you not understand why I'm questioning this? The only thing that has changed is that I'm not working for someone else.

    Repeat : Nothing has changed except that I am generating this income without working for an employer.

    Why does the council have such a problem with this? Why do they think that I should either sign on or get a job when nothing is different to how it was before, income wise?
    Originally posted by Harry Benny
    Ask the council.. clearly you are not taking on board anything anyone says here. You don't appear to be seeking advicev
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 15th Jun 17, 5:24 PM
    • 15,500 Posts
    • 38,856 Thanks
    FBaby
    A few years ago I had a part time job and my income was lower than the applicable amount by about £10 per week. They never had an issue
    Because a few years ago, things were different. For a start, there were not so many people claiming to make a living of ebay. Since then, they have started to look more closely as to whether this constitute being self-employed.

    Expectations have changed and so have demands for evidence
    • Harry Benny
    • By Harry Benny 15th Jun 17, 11:00 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Harry Benny
    Because a few years ago, things were different. For a start, there were not so many people claiming to make a living of ebay. Since then, they have started to look more closely as to whether this constitute being self-employed.

    Expectations have changed and so have demands for evidence
    Originally posted by FBaby
    Ok so in other words it's not the amount of my income that is the issue (even though they say it is). The issue, you suggest, is that they are uncomfortable when someone says that they are selling stuff on ebay.

    If that's the case, then my next step would be to inform them that I am not breaking any rules, and that I am indeed selling products on ebay.

    I could certainly provide them with evidence to prove it without any doubt, but the fact that they have not bothered to ask for this kind of proof tells me that they would rather I just shut up and roll over and go to the job centre just because they prefer it that way.

    But I don't want the job centre to give me free money. I want to work for my income. Albeit not in a conventional job.

    They should realise that this is 2017 and many people are generating an income from various online sources. Not everyone has a job. Some people prefer to create their own income and build something.

    The council seem to be living in the stone age, which is bad for them because increasingly more people will be doing the same as me. And then they're going to have to keep up by changing the way they do things.
    • w06
    • By w06 15th Jun 17, 11:09 PM
    • 211 Posts
    • 297 Thanks
    w06
    but billy you're not working for your income, you're working for a fraction of it and askign the council to give you the rest.

    They'd be perfectly happy I'm sure if you were making enough in your ebay business to support yourself, but you're not, by choice by the sounds of it.
    • dippy3103
    • By dippy3103 15th Jun 17, 11:38 PM
    • 1,637 Posts
    • 2,493 Thanks
    dippy3103
    But I don't want the job centre to give me free money. I want to work for my income. Albeit not in a conventional job.
    Originally posted by Harry Benny
    But it's ok for the council to give you free money?

    What will you do when UC rolls out to full service in your area?

    Anyway Billy. I hope you are having a pleasant evening
    • Londonsu
    • By Londonsu 16th Jun 17, 12:18 AM
    • 1,278 Posts
    • 2,724 Thanks
    Londonsu
    I love it when you said in your OP 'But I am perfectly capable of living on that amount as I am very frugal' when in fact you are not capable of living on that amount as you need HB to pay your rent.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 16th Jun 17, 5:37 AM
    • 15,500 Posts
    • 38,856 Thanks
    FBaby
    Ok so in other words it's not the amount of my income that is the issue (even though they say it is).
    The amount is an issue now. It wasn't then, but the rules have changed because of people doing as little as possible showing no interest in being self-reliant, so they had to introduce stricter rules.

    I want to work for my income. Albeit not in a conventional job.
    But you're not. You are working as little as you can whilst still expecting housing benefits to cover your rent.

    Earning a very low income shouldn't be a mean to an end, it should be a stepping stone.

    Simply put, if there was no housing benefit, you would find a way to increase your income to pay your rent. The fact that it's there doesn't mean you have an entitlement to it just because it suits you.
    • Sncjw
    • By Sncjw 16th Jun 17, 7:17 AM
    • 1,317 Posts
    • 800 Thanks
    Sncjw
    Are you declaring your self employed to hmrc. Are you paying tax and ni.
    • spidermagicat
    • By spidermagicat 16th Jun 17, 1:37 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    spidermagicat
    A hopefully complete answer.
    Ok, here are some key figures for you.

    To be in "gainful employment" they expect you to earn minimum wage for 35 hours per week.

    This works out at £1137.50/month for over 25s (£7.50/hour). It rose from £1092 as the minimum wage rose in April. This might have effected you if you are between these figures.

    As this is meant to be a living wage, if your rent still leaves you without enough to live on they make up the difference. Capped at the local housing allowance rate for your area (shared or 1 bedroom I think):http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/Local-Housing-Allowance-Rates

    If you earn less than £1137.50/month you are categorised as underemployed. While they will still make up the difference in rent they will ask you to increase your earnings to that level.

    If you are earning above the "Administrative Earnings Threshold" (AET) ~£339/month you will fall into the "light touch" group initially. This means you will have a phone interview arranged every 8 weeks to discuss ways you could earn more. You can be asked into the jobcentre for your first appointment or subsequent appointments if you miss the phone call. Attending these is mandatory but should happen only every 8 weeks.

    They will sanction you for missing these appointment and also if they consider you to have had a "voluntary reduction of earnings" at any point. So if you have dropped your earnings recently, they might think it voluntary and be willing to sanction you for it. You can convince them that is not the case, or appeal any sanctions they give you if that fails.

    They can also ask you in for a more detailed interview if they believe you are making no effort to increase your earnings to the minimum income floor of £1137.50. They can then give you more specific requirements to your "claimant commitment". This they can do but likely wont if your earnings aren't too close to the low end.

    If you earn less than £339/month you'll be exactly the same group as someone not working at all. You will be expected to fulfil a 35 hour job search, minus any hours you are working on a 1-1 basis. So if you work 20 hours, they'll expect to see evidence of 15 hours of job searching.

    As you can see it's a simple equation really.

    Earn £1137.50/month or more, they leave you completely alone.

    Earn between £339-1137.50/month. They'll ask you to do a little to improve your situation.

    Earn less than £339/month. They'll deem that you do not have proper employment and should be looking for an entirely new job. So you become a "jobseeker".

    Edit: These are the numbers based on Universal Credit. Which councils are transitioning to.
    Last edited by spidermagicat; 16-06-2017 at 1:47 PM. Reason: Clarification.
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