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I inherited some land last year and it's apparently stopping me from most benefits

(17 Posts)
hettyGreek Sun 20-Mar-16 11:03:42

Hello,

I'm a British born resident and both of my parents moved from Greece to the UK in the 60s.

I'm 37 and have always worked or been in employment or training. I've been made redundant and as of March 2016 I have no job.

I'm a single mum to two children (5 and 7) and rent a 3 bed flat.

I've completed all the forms for JSA, CTS and HB.

My JSA has started from this week.

For CTS and HB they have told me I have "excess income" and can not claim anything.

I have savings of about £3'000.00 and the only other asset I have is an olive grove in Greece that was my grandparents and has been in the family for over 100 years. It generates no income due to location current state, location and actually costs me money to maintain it. On my forms I used the valuation when I received it of about €25'000.00.

Even though it does not generate any income what so ever and I'm unable to change anything in order to make an income for me.

The benefits office have decided that it generates an income of 50 pounds a week.

Are they correct? It sounds like they have miscalculated my entitlement.

Berthatydfil Sun 20-Mar-16 11:26:34

This is notional income which is applied to savings above the limit. It us designed to make you eat into your capital or use the interest /income received rather than receive full benefits.
It's designed to stop people with no earned income to squirrel capital away in investments or land and buildings and still receive benefits. You are probably a very unusual case here and I expect they have just dealt with this as if you had the money in the bank which you don't.
I think the notional value on this land is misleading as it doesn't generate any income and it probably has no value. Also might there be an issue with the euro / pound conversion?
If it's costing you money to keep this and isn't generating you an income and with the state of the economy in Greece is it actually worth that much??
I'm not an expert here but I think you need to get a more realistic value on the land but without seeming to be committing fraud if it suddenly reduces.
Of course if it is actually worth that then you will either have to recognise it will reduce your benefits or think about selling it.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 20-Mar-16 11:40:31

If its not worth selling can't you just give it away or transfer it to a trust for your children.

It's no benefit to you.

Hopefully you'll get a job quick.thanks

SoThatHappened Mon 21-Mar-16 04:27:35

If you sold it you'd potentially have €25000 to use. That's why they won't give you benefits.

If it's worth that.

Get the thing valued. May not be worth that much.

HarlotBronte Mon 21-Mar-16 16:15:01

Sounds about right tbh. The capital limit for most income based benefits (not tax credits though) is 16k. You own an asset, land that you don't live on, which you've told them is worth more than that. With the income generation thing, they come up with 'notional capital' figures for any assets over 6k. Would be the same if you had 25,000 Euros cash, they calculate a figure for the interest that won't bear any relation to what you actually get! Agree with others I'd look at selling it in your shoes, certainly get it valued. In your current situation it's just a millstone round your neck. Good luck finding a new job.

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 16:26:20

What does CTS stand for?

You should be able to apply for Child Tax Credits even though you have assets. Make sure they are calculated based on your expected income for the upcoming tax year (2016-17) rather than your actual income for the previous tax year (2015-16). That will ensure the calaculation is based on your current JSA income and not your previous salary.
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/children-and-young-people/benefits-for-families-and-children/#h-child-tax-credit

I do advise you to sell the land in Greece if you can. If it's costing you money rather than providing income, it would surely be better to sell it.

HarlotBronte Mon 21-Mar-16 16:30:26

Guessing CTS= council tax benefit spelled wrong.

OP do you know if you're on contributions based JSA? I'm just thinking, if your capital and/or assets disqualify you from HB and CTB, they do from income based JSA too. Rules are the same. So I'm thinking you may be on contributions based JSA? That is, the sort you get for a short period regardless of how much money you have, as long as you've paid enough in recently. Reason I ask is because if so, it only lasts 26 weeks. So you really need to get on and do something about the Greek land asap.

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 16:36:21

Yeah I thought that too (I would use CTR for council tax reduction)

I assume OP is on contributory JSA because she has been working and paying NI. You make a good point that it is only paid for 6 months. After that only means-tested benefits are available. Which means that if you don't find a job in 6 months, OP, you really will need to sell the land.

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 21-Mar-16 16:38:15

Does that mean then, that anyone who owns their house - or has a mortgage on it - cannot claim benefits, but have to sell up and then use the money from the sale? Is that how it works?

alltouchedout Mon 21-Mar-16 16:41:29

Council tax benefit no longer exists. Some LAs call its replacement Council Tax Support, which I assume is the case in the OP's area.
OP, I worked with a client who part owned a house abroad but managed to demonstrate that it earned him nothing, meaning he was paid ESA, housing benefit and council tax support. He did have documentation to support him. Get the land valued and try to access a welfare rights advisor in your area.

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 16:43:18

Happenstance No, equity in a property that you live in is not counted.

Just realised that CTS stands for Council Tax Support (doh!)

AnotherEmma Mon 21-Mar-16 16:47:08

alltouchedout Cross post. Interesting. I wonder if OP could do the same as your client. Maybe a CAB benefits specialist could advise?

HarlotBronte Mon 21-Mar-16 16:51:08

Yes I guess CTS prob means council tax support.

In terms of equity, you can live in a ten million pound house and still qualify for full income based benefits if you've nothing else, whereas someone with £16,001 in savings living in a rented hovel won't. Although as OPs land is in Greece, going and living there would also disqualify her from UK income based benefits anyway. If it was in the UK, in theory she could go and live there and be eligible. Not sure how farmland attached to a home you live in is treated though, or how easy it is to argue it's just your garden.

HarlotBronte Mon 21-Mar-16 16:52:59

Alltouched was the value of his share less than 16k? I thought people were disqualified on capital grounds if they have land worth that or more.

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 21-Mar-16 21:21:12

Thanks for clarification Emma and Harlot.

hettyGreek Tue 22-Mar-16 18:38:56

Yes your all right I was talking about council tax support.

I've received quite alot of advice on this, and its not looking good. I need to now get an estimate for the land from a source they trust. Its making it look like i'm being dodgy by the land suddenly going down in value, but the estimation I gave was pre all the troubles so it is worth significantly less.

Yes i'm on contributions JSA, I pray I wont be on it for even a month let alone 6 months!

AnotherEmma Tue 22-Mar-16 18:43:01

If you can get a more up to date valuation that would surely help? Could the valuer also confirm cost of maintaining the land v potential income from it, or would that be beyond their scope?

Whatever happens with the land, you can definitely apply for CTC, so do get the ball rolling on that if you haven't done so yet?

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