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    • label81
    • By label81 27th Mar 18, 11:14 AM
    • 7Posts
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    label81
    Housing Benefit Overpayment - appealing
    • #1
    • 27th Mar 18, 11:14 AM
    Housing Benefit Overpayment - appealing 27th Mar 18 at 11:14 AM
    Hello everyone

    im looking for some help/advice please.
    in January i received a letter saying that i had been overpaid housing benefit dating back to 2015 and that i had to pay back £685 in Housing and £157 in Council tax.

    They want to take £23.60 a week from me, which i feel is very unfair seeing as their "overpayments" ranged from 95p to £9 a week. I know of people owing them £1400, £1663 and £3000 and they are all paying back £10 or less per week. Also i am a single parent working part time for the NHS.

    They claimed they didn't know how much i was earning as i hadnt sent any payslips, i had sent payslips (more than they had asked for) via numerous emails over the 3 years and had letters from the council thanking me for sending them in.

    They eventually admitted they had my payslips but said due an error they hadn't processed them. so i have to pay money back. I disputed this as i wasn't aware of overpayment and didn't contribute to it.
    They agreed to remove the charges for the 10 payslips i had sent in but are still charging me for the rest. But if my rate of pay is on my payslips and i haven't increased my hours how can they say they didn't know how much i was earning. i am an NHS bank worker but i average 16 hours a week. and have never gone above 16 hours a week.

    The council are sending me lots of letters each quoting different figures i apparently owe them ranging from £521 to £892.
    whilst looking into it they suspended my housing benefit claim apparently in error and at the same time took the £157 council tax money off me ( in error).

    I am going to take this to tribunal, but i'm not really too sure about what that involves and the council are reluctant to give me any information on this.

    Has anybody had and experience of this or could give any advice?

    Thank you in advance
Page 1
    • kisto
    • By kisto 27th Mar 18, 12:04 PM
    • 6,231 Posts
    • 81,425 Thanks
    kisto
    • #2
    • 27th Mar 18, 12:04 PM
    • #2
    • 27th Mar 18, 12:04 PM
    Good afternoon,

    I can imagine the frustration and annoyance you are feeling about this as I had a similar experience and I was devestated. Fortunately I had a good friend who used to working in Housing benefit who helped me through the process.

    I challenged an overpayment for housing benefit of £7,000 - where I had notified them that I was a student via several communications, however through their oversight, they failed to include my student finance as income and overpaid me. I won and the overpayment was set aside.

    Firstly, I visited Citizens Advice who helped clarify where I stood legally.

    Here are two important points of the Housing Benefit regulations

    2.24 Definition: LA official error overpayment means an overpayment caused by a mistake, whether in the form of an act or omission, made by the LA or someone acting on their behalf. The claimant, a person acting on the claimantís behalf, or the person to whom the benefit was paid, did not cause or materially contribute to that mistake, act or omission. 2.25 An LA official error overpayment is only recoverable when the person affected could, at the time of receipt of the payment, or any notice relating to that payment, reasonably have been expected to realise that it was an overpayment. HB Reg 100 & (Pension Credit) 81
    and
    The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006

    Recoverable overpayments
    100 - (1) Any overpayment, except one to which paragraph (2) applies, shall be recoverable.
    (2) Subject to paragraph (4) this paragraph applies to an overpayment caused by an official error where the claimant or a person acting on his behalf or any other person to whom the payment is made could not, at the time of receipt of the payment or of any notice relating to that payment, reasonably have been expected to realise that it was an overpayment.

    Then I did a Subject access request which gave me records of all the times they had confirmed that they were well aware I was a student. You could so the same to find out all the times they had your payslips and pay details - It was a lot of paperwork (about a box file's worth), but from it I got numerous pieces of evidence.

    This was the content of the letter:

    "Please supply the information about me I am entitled to under the Data Protection Act 1998 relating to my personal file regarding council tax, council tax benefit, housing benefit and council tax exemption including record of telephone conversations, receipts and records of documentation from myself and any other communications I have made with you since XXXX

    If you need any more information from me, or a fee, please let me know as soon as possible.

    It may be helpful for you to know that a request for information under the Data Protection Act 1998 should be responded to within 40 days.

    If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this letter to your Data Protection Officer. If you need advice on dealing with this request, the Information Commissionerís Office can assist you and can be contacted on 0303 123 1113 or at ico.org.uk"

    Once that was sent then I sent them a letter asking for a full written statement of overpayment. This was more to buy time whilst I awaited the info from the Subject Access Request:

    Contents of that letter:

    "I am writing with reference to the letter you sent me on xxxxx regarding an overpayment of housing benefit. As per HBR Sch 9/(SPC) Sch 8, I would like to ask for a full written statement of reasons explaining how the overpayment arose."
    Then when they were taking their time replying I sent this:
    I am writing to request an extension to the time allowed for me to respond to the Housing Benefit overpayment. I am awaiting further information from XXXX Council, as part of a Data Subject Access request I submitted, with regards to the circumstances surrounding the overpayment.

    Once I have received this information I intend to appeal the decision based on the fact that XXXX Council were aware that I was a student from September 2014 and that I cannot reasonably be expected to know that student loan and student grants are considered as income for Housing Benefit purposes.
    I then sent a letter asking for reconsideration which I started in this manner and then listed all of the evidence:

    I am writing to request that you reconsider your decision regarding a Housing Benefit overpayment notified to me on xxxx and xxx. I am working with Citizens Advice Bureau to challenge the decision and I am prepared to go to tribunal.

    I wish to appeal the decision based on the fact that xxxx Council were aware that I was a student from September 2014 and departments failed to communicate this information and update my records accordingly.
    I then took it to tribunal and won. I have the tribunal letter if you get that far in. Good luck sorting it out. It took from June to August for me to get it sorted but it was worth the effort.
    *Thanks to all who posts comps *
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 27th Mar 18, 12:08 PM
    • 12,283 Posts
    • 14,099 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    • #3
    • 27th Mar 18, 12:08 PM
    • #3
    • 27th Mar 18, 12:08 PM
    Hello everyone

    im looking for some help/advice please.
    in January i received a letter saying that i had been overpaid housing benefit dating back to 2015 and that i had to pay back £685 in Housing and £157 in Council tax.

    They want to take £23.60 a week from me, which i feel is very unfair seeing as their "overpayments" ranged from 95p to £9 a week. I know of people owing them £1400, £1663 and £3000 and they are all paying back £10 or less per week. Also i am a single parent working part time for the NHS.

    They claimed they didn't know how much i was earning as i hadnt sent any payslips, i had sent payslips (more than they had asked for) via numerous emails over the 3 years and had letters from the council thanking me for sending them in.

    They eventually admitted they had my payslips but said due an error they hadn't processed them. so i have to pay money back. I disputed this as i wasn't aware of overpayment and didn't contribute to it.
    They agreed to remove the charges for the 10 payslips i had sent in but are still charging me for the rest. But if my rate of pay is on my payslips and i haven't increased my hours how can they say they didn't know how much i was earning. i am an NHS bank worker but i average 16 hours a week. and have never gone above 16 hours a week.

    The council are sending me lots of letters each quoting different figures i apparently owe them ranging from £521 to £892.
    whilst looking into it they suspended my housing benefit claim apparently in error and at the same time took the £157 council tax money off me ( in error).

    I am going to take this to tribunal, but i'm not really too sure about what that involves and the council are reluctant to give me any information on this.

    Has anybody had and experience of this or could give any advice?

    Thank you in advance
    Originally posted by label81
    I am not sure whether you are disputing the overpayment or whether they have made an official error as regards not processing your payslip.

    You say that they used the 10 payslips and removed the charges for these.

    Did you send in more than 10 payslips?

    It appears that your earnings varied from month to month. Did they ask for payslips on a 3 monthly basis (or similar) and you didn't send these? They would have no way of knowing whether your hours increased or lessened just by looking at the 10 payslips.

    So, the first question is - did you do what they asked about payslips? Did you send them all in?

    If you believe that you do have an overpayment then you need to ask for a breakdown of when this occurred. (You may already have this) Does it tally with your payslips during this period? Are the amounts correct (the council should have been given this information by HMRC if you didn't give it to them- possibly why you have an overpayment.)

    So, have you an overpayment and do you accept that it is your fault? Or did the council not process other payslips? Have you proof that you sent them all?

    If you accept the overpayment then you can ask for a more acceptable payment plan by sending them an income and expenditure form.
    • label81
    • By label81 27th Mar 18, 1:13 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    label81
    • #4
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:13 PM
    • #4
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:13 PM
    Wow Kisto
    thankyou so much for all of this information
    and thankyou for taking the time to reply.
    i will definitely use this information. and will get onto it after work.
    well done for winning.
    was the tribunal a scary process?
    • label81
    • By label81 27th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    label81
    • #5
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    • #5
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:27 PM
    Hi Pmlindyloo

    i am disputing liability of the overpayment. if they have overpaid me i had no knowledge of it and didn't contribute to it.
    when i first started working i was sending in payslips monthly, after 7 months they said they had enough and i didn't need to send anymore unless i increased or decreased my hours or i changed job.
    each january they would ask me to send the prev NOv & Dec payslips.
    as my wages vary, i sent in june to Dec so provided 6 months rather than the two that were asked for.
    i was told that in future i only needed to send in the 2, so the following 2 years i sent in nov and dec.
    I have proof of sending all of these in, which is why the council have now finally admitted they did receive them.

    i feel that if the council knew how much i was earning and knew how many hours i was working it is simple maths to know what i was earning, yes some months may have varied due to days off, bank holidays and illness etc, but the annual figure would have been as expected.

    i have always sent in whatever they requested as soon as they asked, so how is it my fault that they didn't process the information i sent them?

    They have admitted they have made errors and have said its just "clerical errors" , yet their "errors" have left me in this situation.

    on both the council website and the .gov site it states that you are liable to pay it back if you were aware or contributed to it.

    i was unaware and didnt contribute to it.

    where the council prev made errors and owed me money they only back dated it 3 months, yet they want to charge me dating back 3 years for their "errors"?

    Thankyou for replying
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 27th Mar 18, 1:52 PM
    • 6,896 Posts
    • 15,048 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #6
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:52 PM
    • #6
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:52 PM
    This is slightly confusing as you say you worked variable hours, yet didn't let them know that your wages changed each month...

    Sounds like your wages DID change each month and you didn't tell them each month...
    • label81
    • By label81 27th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    label81
    • #7
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    • #7
    • 27th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    hi Marliepanda

    i work for the NHS on the bank system,
    so im actually zero hour contract. But i work 16 hours per week.
    Due to school holidays/ childcare and shift lengths etc, i dont work a set amount of hours per month.
    also i dont get sick pay, so if myself or my child are ill i may work less hours that months which i make up for the next month.
    but my rate of pay is the same, and annually i hit the correct amount of hours, 52 weeks x 16 hours = 832 hours.
    i have never gone above this figure.
    i do all i can to be transparent.
    they told me to stop sending my payslips to them monthly.

    thankyou for replying
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 27th Mar 18, 2:00 PM
    • 12,283 Posts
    • 14,099 Thanks
    pmlindyloo
    • #8
    • 27th Mar 18, 2:00 PM
    • #8
    • 27th Mar 18, 2:00 PM
    Hi Pmlindyloo

    i am disputing liability of the overpayment. if they have overpaid me i had no knowledge of it and didn't contribute to it.
    when i first started working i was sending in payslips monthly, after 7 months they said they had enough and i didn't need to send anymore unless i increased or decreased my hours or i changed job.
    each january they would ask me to send the prev NOv & Dec payslips.
    as my wages vary, i sent in june to Dec so provided 6 months rather than the two that were asked for.
    i was told that in future i only needed to send in the 2, so the following 2 years i sent in nov and dec.
    I have proof of sending all of these in, which is why the council have now finally admitted they did receive them.

    i feel that if the council knew how much i was earning and knew how many hours i was working it is simple maths to know what i was earning, yes some months may have varied due to days off, bank holidays and illness etc, but the annual figure would have been as expected.

    i have always sent in whatever they requested as soon as they asked, so how is it my fault that they didn't process the information i sent them?

    They have admitted they have made errors and have said its just "clerical errors" , yet their "errors" have left me in this situation.

    on both the council website and the .gov site it states that you are liable to pay it back if you were aware or contributed to it.

    i was unaware and didnt contribute to it.

    where the council prev made errors and owed me money they only back dated it 3 months, yet they want to charge me dating back 3 years for their "errors"?

    Thankyou for replying
    Originally posted by label81
    It is very difficult to advise without seeing all your paperwork. To get an overpayment means that you had earnings over the year which didn't tally with the payslips you provided. So were these 'short months' due to illness etc?

    You could look at your P60s for the years in question to see if your earnings were the same.

    They would not do the 'sums' for you. The HB would have been worked out based on the payslips you provided.

    You may well have a case for appealing this but their 'get out clause' may be you were required to notify them if your hours increased or decreased.

    If you look at the pay slips you did provide during this time then you should see how many hours you were working. Did you work more hrs in later months than on these payslips? If so, then you should have reported the change.

    I am not being difficult, honest. Have dealt with many of these cases.

    Perhaps the best thing to do is take all your letters from the council to CAB and ask them to have a look and advise you on whether to appeal or not.

    The previous poster gave an excellent reply about appealing but their case was completely different. They informed the council of their student finances - the council did not act on them - the council's official mistake. Fairly straightforward.

    Yours is more complicated I am afraid.
    • marliepanda
    • By marliepanda 27th Mar 18, 2:03 PM
    • 6,896 Posts
    • 15,048 Thanks
    marliepanda
    • #9
    • 27th Mar 18, 2:03 PM
    • #9
    • 27th Mar 18, 2:03 PM
    hi Marliepanda

    i work for the NHS on the bank system,
    so im actually zero hour contract. But i work 16 hours per week.
    Due to school holidays/ childcare and shift lengths etc, i dont work a set amount of hours per month.
    also i dont get sick pay, so if myself or my child are ill i may work less hours that months which i make up for the next month.
    but my rate of pay is the same, and annually i hit the correct amount of hours, 52 weeks x 16 hours = 832 hours.
    i have never gone above this figure.
    i do all i can to be transparent.
    they told me to stop sending my payslips to them monthly.

    thankyou for replying
    Originally posted by label81
    They told you to stop unless your wages increased or decreased (in your own words) and they did, (in your own words)

    Did you have 7 months of the same pay? Annually isnt important.
    • Ktyx
    • By Ktyx 11th Feb 19, 4:01 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Ktyx
    Help
    Hi please can someone advise me on housing benefit over payment ?
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 11th Feb 19, 4:11 PM
    • 521 Posts
    • 906 Thanks
    KatrinaWaves
    Hi please can someone advise me on housing benefit over payment ?
    Originally posted by Ktyx
    Its best to start your own thread giving all the relevant information about the dates and amounts and reasons for your overpayment. Commenting here will mean people look at the first post and realise it is a very old post and leave, OR answer the original posters question, neither of which will help you.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 11th Feb 19, 5:19 PM
    • 2,958 Posts
    • 3,452 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    Hi please can someone advise me on housing benefit over payment ?
    Originally posted by Ktyx
    Start your own thread with full details of how the overpayment came about.
    Click on the red New Thread button on the top left hand side of the opening page which lists all the threads to do this.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
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