How much information can they ask for?

Options
Since the award of my Housing Benefit late last year, the council has asked to see every one of my (and fiancee's) bank statements.
Now there's also a few other things including audited company accounts, and our last personal tax returns (in which they want us to itemise every expense and provide original copies of 'the proof')

This all seems a bit over the top to me. Is it normal for then to constantly request this sort of information?
«1345

Comments

  • tomtontom
    tomtontom Posts: 7,929 Forumite
    Options
    At one point authorities were lax in verifying claimant details, now they're much more thorough. They can request sufficient information to be sure that your claim is valid. If you don't wish to provide the information, you are free to end your claim.
  • missapril75
    missapril75 Posts: 1,669 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    Options
    It sounds like they've got wind of something that might need checking further. A high bank balance with a consequent reduction that might be perfectly legitimate but maybe hasn't been investigated or explained well enough, maybe?
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,585 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper PPI Party Pooper
    Options
    I'm guessing that you are both self-employed. That's quite possibly the reason they are doing regular check - to see how income fluctuates.
  • tomtom256
    tomtom256 Posts: 2,221 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Options
    Braman wrote: »
    Since the award of my Housing Benefit late last year, the council has asked to see every one of my (and fiancee's) bank statements.
    Now there's also a few other things including audited company accounts, and our last personal tax returns (in which they want us to itemise every expense and provide original copies of 'the proof')

    This all seems a bit over the top to me. Is it normal for then to constantly request this sort of information?

    In a nutshell as much as they deem necessary to assess your claim correctly.

    If you feel they are asking for too much visit and ask why they need it all and the reason why they are asking for it.

    They should be able to jusitfy why they need it.
  • tea-bag
    tea-bag Posts: 548 Forumite
    First Post
    Options
    If you want free money you have to jump through some hoops. And yes they can ask for anything they want.
  • Braman
    Options
    Thanks for the replies. Obviously you can tell I'm not used to the benefits system!

    I handed them my bank statements today with all the figures intact, but I'd crossed out the name of the shops, etc where I'd spent my money as I consider it non of their business where or what I spend my money on (OK, maybe a silly thing to do, but I had a bee in my bonnet!) Nope, not good enough. They HAVE to see what I've spent my money on!

    Also, they couldn't grasp the concept that as a director of a company I wasn't self employed. Apparently because I own the company "You have to be self employed"
    On top of that, to quote the advisor, I get "Why the hell would you run a company that doesn't make any money"

    With our first projected earnings being in 6 months time, this is going to be a long and bumpy ride!

    Anyway, my original question seems to have been answered. The LA has free reign to be as intrusive as they like!
  • NYM
    NYM Posts: 4,066 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic Combo Breaker First Post
    Options
    I've read several Council websites in regard to Co Directors and it seems to be across the board....Company Directors are not self-employed under Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support rules.

    You can't censor any information on your bank statements because they need to see who you're paying out to not just the amount.
  • dseventy
    dseventy Posts: 1,220 Forumite
    Options
    Braman wrote: »

    I handed them my bank statements today with all the figures intact, but I'd crossed out the name of the shops, etc where I'd spent my money as I consider it non of their business where or what I spend my money on (OK, maybe a silly thing to do, but I had a bee in my bonnet!) Nope, not good enough. They HAVE to see what I've spent my money on!

    You need to step back and remember what you have done.

    What you have done is gone to the state and said "Please intervene in my life - I cant afford to pay for my home myself". The state will then intervene and help you pay your (part) rent.

    But for that intervention you will be asked questions. Questions about employment status, income, what you spend on etc.

    You will find that the bulk of the population are glad that these questions are asked, certainly I am.

    So you may feel a little happier knowing you have "crossed out" where you spend your money, doing a little rebellion, but be aware that you asked for the intervention.

    Braman wrote: »
    Also, they couldn't grasp the concept that as a director of a company I wasn't self employed. Apparently because I own the company "You have to be self employed"
    On top of that, to quote the adviser, I get "Why the hell would you run a company that doesn't make any money"

    See thats the problem and you need to lower your expectations whilst at the housing benefit office.

    You have to remember who you are dealing with. They are used to dealing with people who are at the bottom of the ladder with regards to income.

    Suddenly they are presented with a "company director". They are not tax advisers, accountants, etc. They dont get it. You are there because YOU need THEIR help to pay for your home.

    Suggest you chill and go with the flow.

    D70
    How about no longer being masochistic?
    How about remembering your divinity?
    How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out?
    How about not equating death with stopping?
  • poppasmurf_bewdley
    Options
    What you seem to be saying is that you and your partner are directors of a Limited Company that is not making any money.

    If this is the case, the council will rightly want to know (a) why you are running a company that is not making any money?, and (b) where the money is going?

    They have to make sure you are not paying out to your Great Aunt Fanny and other members of your family to ensure you are not diverting money to them in a bid to show the company as loss making in an effort to increase benefits.

    This was not done in the past to any great degree, but it is bound to increase as the government is determined to prevent unemployed people running non-profit making companies to maximise benefit payments - something that has been rife for quite a few years.
    "There are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe a 'Princess Coronation' locomotive in full cry. We shall never see their like again". O S Nock
  • tea-bag
    tea-bag Posts: 548 Forumite
    First Post
    Options
    Another one of them made up businesses that make no money but run enough hours to maximise benefits and not get hassled into a proper job!
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.8K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609.1K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards