Advent-ures in the MSE Forum... Our Advent calendar is live, helping you discover a new corner of the community each day. Visit the homepage and scroll down

Can I Contest This? Tax Credits Overpayment

I gave TCs all the details they needed at all the right times last year (reported changes on the exact DAYS they happened etc) yet I still wound up with an overpayment of £550 odd. I can only assume this is because I was assumed to be working for the full year when my entitlement was originally calculated but stopped in December. I claimed lone parent Income Support as of January this year.

No-one's actually explained to me exactly where this amount has come from though and it does seem a bit unfair given that I did nothing wrong.

They told me that I had to pay the money back at £5pw, deducted about £30 in all then stopped taking it when I said it was causing me hardship (it was). That said, they wrote me a letter telling me they WOULDN'T stop taking it!

So now I'm wondering, is there anything I can do to get this amount either written off or reduced? At the very least I'd like an explanation as to exactly how this has happened but no-one I speak to seems able to help me.

It seems so wrong that they've put me in debt just because I went out to work last year!
«13

Replies

  • alison999alison999 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    this happens to a lot of people, for various reasons. have you tried appealing?
  • peediedjpeediedj Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    how can anyone claim hardship by losing a £5 per week??:confused:
    Live in my shoes for a week,then tell me your lifes hard!
  • alison999 wrote: »
    this happens to a lot of people, for various reasons. have you tried appealing?

    I haven't no because I can't seem to get any real explanation out of anyway. Do I have grounds to appeal even?

    I can't actually get through to them whenever I try at the moment and previously no-one has been able to answer my questions.

    peediedj wrote: »
    how can anyone claim hardship by losing a £5 per week??


    My income is only £120 per week.
  • paisley_lasspaisley_lass Forumite
    160 Posts
    i think you are pretty lucky only getting £5 took off you.... when it happened to me a few yrs ago after i stopped working i informed TC i was no lo nger working and in reciept of IS they continued to pay my employer my tax credits for 6 months...i knew nothing about it and never recieved it as i was no longer working....then TC decided i had to pay back £50 a week and would not reduce this amount even though i was on benefits and it was causing serious hardship....it took me 9 months to eventually get the problem sorted and they ended up refunding all the money i had stopped for 9 months.

    if you look at your review of the year TC say you have been overpaid does it show how much you were paid and how much you were entitled to....if there is a difference then i would think that is why you have an overpayment.
    :)
  • i think you are pretty lucky only getting £5 took off you.... when it happened to me a few yrs ago after i stopped working i informed TC i was no lo nger working and in reciept of IS they continued to pay my employer my tax credits for 6 months...i knew nothing about it and never recieved it as i was no longer working....then TC decided i had to pay back £50 a week and would not reduce this amount even though i was on benefits and it was causing serious hardship....it took me 9 months to eventually get the problem sorted and they ended up refunding all the money i had stopped for 9 months.

    if you look at your review of the year TC say you have been overpaid does it show how much you were paid and how much you were entitled to....if there is a difference then i would think that is why you have an overpayment.

    It's not a competition. I'm not "lucky" to be made to repay a debt accrued through no fault of my own. To say you were "more unfortunate" yes but to call me "pretty lucky" isn't the best choice of words.

    I don't want to know about the math of the alleged overpayment - I want an explanation about how it happened when I did nothing wrong. I have a guess yes but no-one will confirm or deny it. I feel I need to know what has happened here for future reference as much as anything else.
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    You can write and ask them for an explanation. There's no way anyone in a contact centre has enough time during a call to fully investigate how an overpayment occurred.
    To give you an idea of how involved such an investigation can be, staff working with disputed overpayments have targets of about 4 or 5 cases per day to do. Some investigations involve several years and numerous award notices depending on the number of changes of circumstances there have been.

    Once you have received the explanation you can then decide if you want to dispute what they say.

    If you dispute that overpayment and they say you still have to pay it back and have no right of appeal then you can ask for a review provided you have further evidence to support your case.
  • Pam17 wrote: »
    You can write and ask them for an explanation. There's no way anyone in a contact centre has enough time during a call to fully investigate how an overpayment occurred.
    To give you an idea of how involved such an investigation can be, staff working with disputed overpayments have targets of about 4 or 5 cases per day to do. Some investigations involve several years and numerous award notices depending on the number of changes of circumstances there have been.

    Once you have received the explanation you can then decide if you want to dispute what they say.

    If you dispute that overpayment and they say you still have to pay it back and have no right of appeal then you can ask for a review provided you have further evidence to support your case.

    Thank you, that's a good point about call centre staff so I'll try writing a letter.
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    Elle83 wrote: »
    Thank you, that's a good point about call centre staff so I'll try writing a letter.


    Please send it recorded delivery and keep a copy of it. The reason I suggest this is so you can send a copy with any further correspondence you send. This avoids delays caused by previous correspondence having to be traced and pulled out of storage.
  • paisley_lasspaisley_lass Forumite
    160 Posts
    Elle83 wrote: »
    It's not a competition. I'm not "lucky" to be made to repay a debt accrued through no fault of my own. To say you were "more unfortunate" yes but to call me "pretty lucky" isn't the best choice of words.

    I don't want to know about the math of the alleged overpayment - I want an explanation about how it happened when I did nothing wrong. I have a guess yes but no-one will confirm or deny it. I feel I need to know what has happened here for future reference as much as anything else.

    who said anything about a competition...i am sorry you have taken it that way...i was trying to point out the situation could be a lot worse and that £5 is as far as i am aware a minimum amount when paying back overpayments and also that perhaps they have made the same mistake in paying more TC to your employer even when you stopped working....i'll keep my mouth shut in future eh?
    :)
  • alison999alison999 Forumite
    1.8K Posts
    why would they pay tc to your employer?
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Cheapest Christmas dinner

We've crunched the numbers to find the best prices

MSE News

Advent Competitions

The countdown is on

MSE Forum