Council tax arrears were to be automatically took off ESA. Now I have a summary warra

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1234catlady
1234catlady Posts: 123 Forumite
edited 22 August 2015 at 11:52AM in Benefits & tax credits
A month or so ago I started to get ESA for health reasons and I also got a final reminder in for last years council tax. The bill came to around £300 odd and I couldn't afford to pay it all at once so called up the council and explained I am on ESA and was looking to set up a repayment plan. They said that was no problem and they would take £6 off my ESA every week. They said they would do it automatically and I wouldn't notice it was even gone.

So I thought it had been taken off each week and the money was going to the council and then today I got a letter through saying the council hasn't received anything from me and the sheriff has added 10% onto my bill and its now at £400 and it must be paid immediately or I risk either an earnings arrestment, an arrestment of my bank account or attachment. There was also a form to fill out asking for more of my bank details.

What's annoying is that I got this letter on a Saturday and they are shut at the weekend so I'm going to worrying about this all weekend. I used what I had left in my account from my last payment which was only £26 to pay some of it off so that's me totally skint until my next payment which is over a week away but in a panic, I didn't know what else to do.

What exactly is attachment? I can hazard a guess what the other two mean but I've never heard of that before.

If I call up or go into the office first thing on Monday morning, will I still be able to settle a repayment plan? Or will they actually expect it to be paid 100% in full? I can only do that if I take out a loan but I don't know if I would get that as I am a part time student and I've been turned down in the past.

I'm very worried.
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  • HappyMJ
    HappyMJ Posts: 21,115 Forumite
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    If you're not working then you have no earnings to get an attachment order against don't worry about that.

    If you don't have the money you obviously can't pay in full so they'll have to sort something else out. Get them to set up the deduction order again to take it from your ESA.

    If you've got nothing in your bank account they also can't take anything from that. They will not make you overdrawn.
    :footie:
    :p Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) :p Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money. :p
  • geminilady
    geminilady Posts: 1,922 Forumite
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    edited 22 August 2015 at 12:06PM
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    Don't be worried,phone them on Monday and tell them you made an arrangement and did not relise they were not taking it off your ESA it is their fault and they will probably put another one in place,there are rules that they can only take a certain amount off of benefits so you will not have to pay the full amount all at once.An attachment is just them taking the six pound a week off your ESA
  • rogerblack
    rogerblack Posts: 9,446 Forumite
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    A month or so ago I started to get ESA for health reasons and I also got a final reminder in for last years council tax. The bill came to around £300 odd and I couldn't afford to pay it all at once so called up the council and explained I am on ESA and was looking to set up a repayment plan. They said that was no problem and they would take £6 off my ESA every week. They said they would do it automatically and I wouldn't notice it was even gone.

    That last sentance is an extraordinary one.
    I would first contact them, and ask why they did not as they said they would arrange to get the money from ESA.
    And why they then if there was an issue with that, they took action when you had been in contact with them.
    I would be asking for compensation and removal of any fees imposed.

    'not notice it's gone' - starkly implies you need to do nothing.

    Did you leave it a long time before calling them?
  • 1234catlady
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    rogerblack wrote: »
    That last sentance is an extraordinary one.
    I would first contact them, and ask why they did not as they said they would arrange to get the money from ESA.
    And why they then if there was an issue with that, they took action when you had been in contact with them.
    I would be asking for compensation and removal of any fees imposed.

    'not notice it's gone' - starkly implies you need to do nothing.

    Did you leave it a long time before calling them?
    Over a month ago, I got my first ESA payment on a Monday and I called the council to inform them that I was now getting ESA as I had to update my records for my HB and CT reduction and then on the Thursday I got the letter in saying I owed £300 odd and called them again saying I was on ESA and could set up a payment plan and they said they would take the money off my benefit automatically and said they had my bank details on record. I never heard anything back from council tax until today so I assumed it was all taken care of.
  • anmarj
    anmarj Posts: 1,819 Forumite
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    Before deduction for council.tax can come off benefits, the council have to apply for a warrent/liability order. They have to show this is the last resort. They should of explained that to you
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,575 Forumite
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    'Not even noticing it was gone' is certainly a very odd comment to make. You should have received a notification from ESA and one from the council.
    You say you started claiming ESA 'a month or so ago', what was the actual date of claim? It is also possible that the people responsible for issuing the warrant weren't aware that money was to be deducted directly from benefit to make the payments.
  • 1234catlady
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    TELLIT01 wrote: »
    'Not even noticing it was gone' is certainly a very odd comment to make. You should have received a notification from ESA and one from the council.
    You say you started claiming ESA 'a month or so ago', what was the actual date of claim? It is also possible that the people responsible for issuing the warrant weren't aware that money was to be deducted directly from benefit to make the payments.

    My claim started on 29th June but I didn't receive my first payment until 20th July.
  • rogerblack
    rogerblack Posts: 9,446 Forumite
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    anmarj wrote: »
    Before deduction for council.tax can come off benefits, the council have to apply for a warrent/liability order. They have to show this is the last resort. They should of explained that to you

    This is not my understanding if the person agrees to have payment taken this way.
  • CIS
    CIS Posts: 12,260 Forumite
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    Council tax attachment of benefit orders can only be issued after the court has granted a liability order/warrant - they have no powers to do so before this.

    In any case the council could not deduct £6 per week, the deduction is a flat rate £3.75 per week.

    £6 sounds much more like a housing benefit deduction which doesn't need the liability order/warrant to issue.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • anmarj
    anmarj Posts: 1,819 Forumite
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    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409832/admd2.pdf

    2381/2382/2834 refers

    A billing authority (in Scotland, levying authority) may ask the DM to make deductions for arrears of CT1 covered by in
    1. England and Wales, a liability order and
    2. Scotland, a summary warrant or a decree.
    1 Council Tax (Deductions from IS) Regs 93, regs 2 & 3; Local Government Finance Act 1992, Sch 4, para 3 & Sch 8, para 6
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