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BENEFITS I HATE THEE!!! PLEASE HELP!!

(11 Posts)
OhWhatAPalaver Fri 25-Jan-13 22:09:35

Really need some help here, basically the stupid idiots at the the council benefit agency seem to think we have done something illegal and have asked me to go in for an interview under a caution. I called Citizen's Advice and they said the most likely reason is due to the fact that when we first started our housing and council tax benefit DP was only working about 18 hours a week (his shifts still vary all the time) and i was on maternity allowance. DP's hours and pay went up but having never been on bens before, i didn't realise how much of an impact this would have and therefore didn't see it as urgent to go and update them (silly silly me)

so about 5 months later i got some stuff together and realised that we needed to go and update them about tax credits and also took along DP's payslips as his hours had gone up. after this was assessed they then sent us letter saying we had been overpaid by nearly 2 grand!!! i was shocked and rang to see if this was correct, they assured me it was and so we are now on very little benefit and also paying this over payment back to them.
i thought that was that all done and dusted, but no. yesterday i got this letter saying i need to go in for an interview under a caution. i am terrified. i need to get a solicitor and work out we get legal aid or not. i have never been faced with anything like this before and it has massively stressed me out. i was in tears on the phone to woman working for citizens advice!

has anyone else been through something similar? i am seriously worried but i feel that other than being late updated them, we haven't done anything wrong. we are by no means the type of people who scav off the government, i don't even want to be on benefits any more i am sick to death of them!! please help, would be very grateful to hear any advice. thanks in advance.

bluecarrot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:17:48

Well, I understand you are upset but calling them stupid isnt a good mindset.

It does explicitly state on all my documents that I must update ANY changes immediately and within a month. iirc, its all in bold.

The fact you went to them with the info should be in your favour (as opposed to them catching you out)

If its putting you in financial hardship to pay it back, you could request a reduction perhaps?

Perhaps a look at www.moneysavingexpert.com would be helpful.

OhWhatAPalaver Fri 25-Jan-13 22:33:04

i know they are obv not all idiots, i simply didn't understand the way HB and CTB worked, and at the time i had a newborn daughter so didn't take much time to read the paper work :/ in hindsight that was definitely a mistake!

bluecarrot Fri 25-Jan-13 22:36:31

Id probably grovel and hope for sympathy!

GotMyGoat Fri 25-Jan-13 22:38:44

Slow down on the solicitor - DH went to one of these interviews, it was fine. An opportunity to explain yourself. In our case it was because some work dh did before we claimed didn't get paid for till after we claimed, when dh was unemployed. They accepted our apology for being stupid and forgetful and could see we weren't trying to fraud them etc. It was £70 we forgot to tell them about though...

OhWhatAPalaver Fri 25-Jan-13 22:41:30

yeah i was thinking of trying that approach!

OhWhatAPalaver Fri 25-Jan-13 22:42:39

x-post

that's reassuring but yeah ours has mounted up somewhat, i suppose it doesn't look great on paper sad

IfYouCanMoveItItsNotBroken Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:31

Hi, I would first suggest that if you feel that strongly about being on benefits you should probably withdraw your claim. It is par for the course to be slightly under or over come the year end, so if you stop completely then you can avoid this altogether - housing benefit and tax credit wise (i imagine it's different for those on a fixed income ie IS or ESA). Secondly, admit your mistake (without referring to them as stupid idiots due to the fact that YOU forgot to inform them of YOUR change in circumstances) and offer to repay the monies as quickly as you can, if you genuinely forgot to update your circumstances then it's going to be very difficult for then to prove criminal fraud and they should let you repay gradually. I'm still repaying a genuine oversight from years ago and have never had an IUC.

mum2abinalfie Fri 25-Jan-13 22:55:16

Hi you will never understand tax credit my friend whose income is the same as mine & hubbys too is getting about £70 more a wk than me - kids same age ????

MooMooSkit Fri 25-Jan-13 22:59:09

Just calm down, I've never had any of them interviews but a friend has and like someone else mentioned, they give you a chance to explain yourselves. They aren't monsters! Sometimes people do forget to say straight away and that is believable if it's only gone on for a few months, it's people that "forget" for years and years on end that their pay went up, that costs went down etc etc they will have less time for. Just explain what you have said here and I'm sure it will be okay.

OhWhatAPalaver Sat 26-Jan-13 09:49:55

thank you for your replies, i have calmed down somewhat now. having never been faced with allegations such as those i panicked and immediately thought they were going to lock me up or fine us or something!
i guess they have to be really careful these days, i know people who commit benefit fraud on a daily basis, (they even encouraged us to do the same! 'just say you live on your own, you'l get more money'!) and unfortunately they seem to get away with it.
i do want to just sod the benefits but DP doesn't as he says it will save us around 60 quid a month, which is reasonable i suppose.

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