Sudden decrease in tax credits?

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Hi everyone

I am after some general advice / information on my situation please.

I am usually awarded 190 per week tax credits due to income and full time childcare care.

This week I received an early payment of 130 and then today, my usual pay day, I have been paid 130.

I get that this week I have been paid more than usual but I have a funny feeling that it's going to be 130 a week now. I hate how they never bloody write to you in advance to explain changes.

Does anyone know why I have suddenly had a drop in tax credits? all of the previous award literally covered childcare there was never anything left over.

Tia
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Comments

  • Darksparkle
    Darksparkle Posts: 5,465 Forumite
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    As tax credits are a yearly award rather than a weekly one, any one off payments reduce your regular amounts. The yearly award usually works out to be the same.

    One off payments are generally only issued when the system is updated. If you haven't made any changes you'll need to ask them why there has been one.
  • john1002
    john1002 Posts: 984 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
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    Do you have any overpayment? A new ruling came in Nov 15 and letters were sent that overpayments they can now collect quicker, this could be the reason as it was with me, better to ring them, I know a pain to be fully certain as we can only guess on here.

    John
  • doomandgloom
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    Thanks guys

    I have just rang them this morning. Apparently due to an overpayment. But that is too much money. I can't afford childcare now (well I will have to somehow).

    Now I'm not sure what will happen next? The bloke said he would pass the issue on to the relevant team but sounded like I was going to be transferred. Then the line went dead.

    Something about taking 7 days to review. Will someone contact me? He wasn't very clear and I've already used 40 minutes of work time trying to get through the first time?

    But seriously, how can they think that reducing a monthly income by 240 a month would not put some people in financial hardship? And any overpayment has always been down to their error not mine. They should be held accountable rather than punishing people who provide the correct information.
  • marliepanda
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    If there is an overpayment, continuing that payment will
    Increase your overpayment by £240 a month. At some point you'd have to pay it back, so they reduce immediately once they find out.

    You don't know what's caused the overpayment yet, or whose mistake it was. They may have made the mistake but it was probably on your award notice and you didn't spot it either.

    Either way you've got to pay it back. They're not 'punishing you' they're giving you the right amount of money now, which just happens to be less than you are used to.
  • Darksparkle
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    Is this the first time you've been notified of the overpayment?

    What caused the overpayment?

    What error did they make? How quickly dos you notify them of this error?

    If you believe this error was their mistake, did you dispute it?
  • doomandgloom
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    Hi everyone

    I have had to make a second phone call. Turns out I will need to dispute - however I am not hopeful of winning because it is technically owed.

    It is their c*ck up. They told me not to declare so much of my SMP for my calculation back in 2014. Then when the financial year came to an end after I had been back at work by income did not tally with my declaration - because they did not take the decreased SMP into account. They even investigated me the same month I went back to work and I provided them with all of this information. I even over-estimate how much I expected to earn because my job also has commission attached, which fluctuates.

    Now I will need to check the paperwork to see what I was told. I can't recall being told of an overpayment (but I couldn't swear to that). I do recall the higher income from the p60 being on the award notice and thought nothing of it. I have never claimed prior to giving birth so I am naive with the whole system, I just assumed that was correct.


    So...assuming I have been told but it was also their error, can I dispute in any way? I am not saying I should not pay back what I owe if I shouldn't have had it but according to the advisor I was paying it at £5 per week and now it is £60 per week. They have sent my details off to a team to get the repayment recovered over a longer time period however I believe they need to send me additional paperwork to fill out before they can determine if they are willing do to that.


    Any advice is appreciated. Looking at the threads on here today I am not the only one.
  • doomandgloom
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    I guess what I am trying to say is - if they are at fault in some way can they be a bit more lenient for the time period to pay back the money? I wish I didn't need TC's it would be so much easier! In fact, every time I have a change of circumstances they mess it up and it results in another phone call and being put on hold for at least half an hour.
  • doomandgloom
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    Sorry scrap that I am confusing myself.

    They claim they have overpaid me because they held a higher income record for 14-15 when they never adjusted it to reflect SMP so they should have decreased it.

    I think I may have been told I was overpaid but assumed it to be correct. I think as they were deducting this at such a low amount I didn't notice.

    So, I believe I have not been overpaid because I believe, based on their guidance, that I declared correctly but maybe should have disputed this sooner? What is the situation - will they let me dispute given the time scales? Sorry for the confusion I have just started looking at my records and letters I sent to them and it all seems to be coming back to me now.
  • Darksparkle
    Darksparkle Posts: 5,465 Forumite
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    First thing you need to know, is the 2014/15 income now correct with the SMP deduction or does it still include the full amount.

    If it still shows the full amount, you need to ask them to change it. They may say no as it is out of time to change last year's income. If that's the case then you submit an appeal.
  • doomandgloom
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    Hi Darksparkle

    The award includes my full income and not the SMP reduction.

    Thanks for your advice at least I know the next steps.

    From your experience how long does this process take?

    Also, from your experience, even though it's their !!!! up it also appears to be my oversight. I have just come across an award with the overpayment on there.

    Finally (sorry) they also had the incorrect childcare information for me as well at one point, which when I realised (this was not clear at all it was only when they wanted to investigate me again at the end of last year that I noticed they had a reduced total for my weekly childcare costs) they then backdated a month. Again this was their error but for about 6 months I was underpaid and when I pointed it out they increased the award. Any scope to reclaim this? Might be pushing it i know!

    Again thanks for your help with this. I really have no clue when it comes to this :)
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