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Overpayment 2017 - direct earnings arrest - help!

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Overpayment 2017 - direct earnings arrest - help!

edited 19 November 2019 at 11:57PM in Benefits & Tax Credits
19 replies 1.5K views
windswept2019windswept2019 Forumite
5 posts
edited 19 November 2019 at 11:57PM in Benefits & Tax Credits
I’m new, and seeking advice!

In 2017 I had to claim child tax benefits following a separation. First time in my life, through total necessity.
It also happened to be the year my father became terminally ill, passing away on 30 July. My tax review was due on 31 July, but needless to say it was one of the things that fell by the weigh side as I cared for and said goodbye to my dad.
That August I received a letter that i owed money. I tried calling, but you know how hard they are to get in touch with?! I went to the job centre and the kind lady phoned to sort it out. She said she had, but I had no reference number ��
I became a full time student, and single mum... I didn’t claim anything as I had dad’s inheritance, until into the winter 2018/19.
Fast forward 2 years, and this August, as soon as I started earning after qualifying as a teacher I received a letter warning I had 14 days to respond or they’d start a direct earnings arrest. I instantly wrote to them (by hand, not recorded) with evidence of earnings from 2017 (£3804), challenging why they believed I’d been overpaid. No response came, but 30% of my first pay check were taken, and my second and third - I need to stop the 4th.
I referred my enquiry to CAB, who haven’t been able to find out why they’re charging me, or to stop the DEA. I have spent the past week on the phone being directed from one number to another, waiting an hour in a queue to be cut off over and over again. I work full time, so don’t have this time to spare. It’s driving me insane!
My questions are:
1. How do I actually resolve this? How can I speak to an actual person and get answers? Someone suggested an official complaint? Directed at DWP?
2. As my circumstances hadn’t changed, my earnings were £3804 for that tax year - do I have a case to appeal? Or does the fact that I failed to complete the annual review stop me having any chance?
3. How on earth do I stop them taking more out in 9 days time? If I am to give my kids any sort of Christmas I need to stop that DEA before then!
I really hope someone can advise... Many thanks if you’ve read this far! Any wise words? Cx
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