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Q&A session with specialist advisers from Citizens Advice Service - ANSWERS BACK

(38 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Sep-13 09:51:12

This week we're running a Q&A session with Citizens Advice Service.
Weve invited a team of specialist advisers to answer your questions and point you in the right direction.

Citizens Advice has provided free, independent and confidential advice for nearly 75 years.  Citizens Advice supports millions of people every year on a wide range of issues from welfare to women's rights in the workplace and everything in between.

Citizens Advice uses the experiences of the people who visit them to campaign for changes to unfair policies and practices, helping many more people along the way. If you need advice, want to volunteer or join one of its campaigns, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk

So whether you're worried about debt or need help tackling a consumer issue, post your questions before end of 1st October. We will select 20 questions and post the responses to these on 8th October.

Please note, the information provided will apply to mumsnetters living in England only, unless otherwise stated in the original post.

EasyToEatTiger Tue 24-Sep-13 16:59:39

How do we get our deposit returned from our previous landlord? We left his property during the first week of April and he has made no contact with us since. He has not signed the papers to release the money and has told the agent that he does not plan to give the money back. We have heard nothing about percieved wrongs, which, had we heard about, would have been able to rectify.

qo Tue 24-Sep-13 17:01:50

Who do I complain to about my housing assosciation? They are a registered charity.

They are refusing to do work on my property that other tenants have had done. They are now saying they can't comment.

spollak77 Tue 24-Sep-13 17:39:44

I'm unemployed and disabled (ESA and DLA), on benefits and cannot seem to find a family solicitor that would agreed to deal with my divorce in the Upper Norwood area. Since February 2013 I have been shifted from firm to firm in Cardiff then Sheffield... Each time I am re-assessed all over again hence my case not progressing very fast.

knittedknickers Tue 24-Sep-13 19:38:06

I am self-employed and my work is sporadic. At present I'm getting two days a week work on average but I don't generally know how much/if any I'll be doing from one month to the next. I have two daughters (six and three year olds) My partner and I are separating - will i be entitled to child tax credits/other benefits on such an erratic income? Some weeks I have earned £2k (gross) others it will be much less/nil.

Iheartcrunchiebars Tue 24-Sep-13 20:17:39

I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant and run a business with my husband. It's a seasonal business so we will close next week till March. I also have a part time job (15 hours a week). I am not entitled to maternity pay/leave as I started at 16 weeks pregnant. Am I entitled to any maternity allowance?

How are you coping these days? brew

Collaborate Wed 25-Sep-13 11:29:41

Don't you mean England & Wales? The legal system is the same.

HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Sep-13 14:40:09

Collaborate

Don't you mean England & Wales? The legal system is the same.

The CAB representative asked us to post the following to explain their position:

Sorry for the confusion. What we meant to say is that to ensure (for legal purposes) the information provided is correct, it will apply to mumsnetters living in England only. Depending on where you live, the answers could be different. We’ve amended the sticky text. Thanks for pointing it out!

therewearethen Wed 25-Sep-13 15:24:17

Can my ex visit our children in my home without it affecting my benefits?

My ex has just moved out to shared accomadation, he cant really take our 2 children there to stay as he has a room and shared access to bathroom etc, which isnt ideal with a 5yr old and 6month old.

I've had an interview under caution before as someone had reported me as living with a partner (I wasn't) and I can't face it all happening again if someone see's him coming here to spend time with his children and decides to report me again!

JALG Thu 26-Sep-13 00:02:11

I am currently working through a Consent Order with my solicitor. She is looking at consolidating my Spousal maintenance so that I can take it out of the equity that we have in the house. It should be about £120,000. Sensibly, I should re-invest this to provide a monthly maintenance payment for me until my retirement. I am considering purchasing a flat to rent out which would provide a monthly payment. I am currently working 17 hrs a week as a Child carer and am a single mum. I am in receipt of Tax credits. Will these be affected by this spousal maintenance payment?

Isabeller Thu 26-Sep-13 09:48:22

Is it the case that Working Tax Credit will soon be replaced by Universal Credit and savings over £16,000 (or some other limit?) will exclude claimants who currently receive WTC?

Billionairewannabe Thu 26-Sep-13 09:58:01

I assume this advice session is about employment issues so here goes..

I am a single parent and work shifts. My child has just been diagnosed with an illness that is classified as a disability. I am also qualified (with the same employer) in another role which I do regularly, so I asked my employer if I could work in that department for a few weeks as it is not shifts. I just need to do it until my child stabilises, we settle into a routine and I have a few friends and family trained up to be able to help with childcare.
Initially my employer said yes, so I made preparations to do that (childcare for my other child etc.). Later that day they retracted it and said no, on the basis that it wouldn't be fair to someone else who was in the same position.(?)
I already suffer from anxiety and am on anti-depressants and this situation has sent my anxiety levels sky high again so the doctor has now signed me off sick. When I am not working shifts I lose shift pay, so the other role would have given me some allowances to compensate.
I actually want to work and being at home, coupled with the financial stress and the obvious worry about my child is making me more anxious and depressed about the whole situation. I am also concerned for the future as I am not sure how I will manage childcare now during school holidays etc as he will always need a trained person with him. Will I be able to request Mon-Fri, term time only working? There are plenty of shifts fitting in with that but my employer is always one who's default answer is no!
Any advice is much appreciated as to how best to resolve this. I love my job, I want to work (and we need the money) but I need to be sure that my child is well-looked after before I can go to work.

tish1908 Thu 26-Sep-13 10:50:36

My sister in law is two months pregnant and works in a private nursery. She has diabetes and at the request of her doctors she has to attend frequent hospital and doctor appointments. Her boss is continually making snide remarks about her being pregnant and at times refusing to let her attend appointments. She is made to feel guilty about attending medical appointments and has been told that she will have to make the hours up. What possible legal remedies are available to her as she feels bullied and discriminated against?

irisn Fri 27-Sep-13 13:07:00

My brother is deceased and he was not named on his sons birth certificate.How can we get his fathers name entered on his birth certificate. His son is now an adult and we have DNA evidence. Parents were never married.

aliciaflorrick Sat 28-Sep-13 10:13:36

I'm a mumsnetter living in France, but I really want to return to the UK. My ex-husband left me and my children here without any notice, just a telephone call one afternoon last year saying he didn't want to be married and that's it. He was always based in the UK and paying tax etc, DCs and I were dependant upon him. Since he left things have been very, very hard for me. Because he was working in the UK and not into the French system we're not entitled to any benefits or support here. I really want to come home to the UK, live near a support network of family and friends and get a job. My question is, what support is there for us in the UK. I would hope I would be treated like any other wife whose marriage has split up and she needs to find a new home, but I don't think I'm going to be. Can you advise please? I need to know if I would receive housing benefit etc, child tax credit and working tax credit.

NotDead Mon 30-Sep-13 05:42:58

I have several debt collection companies contacting me. Several of them seem to be trying to collect the same debt with slight variations of the amount betweeneach None of them have been able to send me any paperwork about the debt, and the best I get is a 'you know you owe it' am I obliged to pay the debt to each of them? Do I pick one company and pay them? will the others know?

Crumblemum Mon 30-Sep-13 07:30:28

Hiya

My husband went to the Doctors for the snip (after 3dcs). The GP referred him to go private. We don't want to pay, shouldn't this be offered on the NHS? We're in Lewisham.

emmelinelucas Mon 30-Sep-13 12:38:55

I am leaving work, for personal reasons.I am working my notice now.
My DH will support me, but how do I keep up my NI contributions ?

Lora1982 Mon 30-Sep-13 15:05:09

I've shared ownership of my house, whats the name of the form or declaration that anybody living with me needs to sign to say they have no financial interest in the property?

katieperez Tue 01-Oct-13 12:25:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Oct-13 15:31:47

The Q&A is now closed. We'll send a selection of questions to Citizen's Advice and post their answers on 8th October.

CitizensAdvice Wed 09-Oct-13 15:30:27

EasyToEatTiger

How do we get our deposit returned from our previous landlord? We left his property during the first week of April and he has made no contact with us since. He has not signed the papers to release the money and has told the agent that he does not plan to give the money back. We have heard nothing about percieved wrongs, which, had we heard about, would have been able to rectify.

Any deposits paid to a private landlord after 6 April 2007 on an assured short hold tenancy have to be protected in a tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDPS). Details of the TDSP as well as how to resolve any disputes should have been given to you at the start of your tenancy.

If a landlord fails to protect the deposit or provide the necessary information, a tenant can potentially apply for a court order that requires the landlord to either return the deposit or protect it in a scheme.

If your landlord did comply and protected the deposit in one of the tenancy deposit schemes then you can take your dispute to the arbitration service of the relevant tenancy deposit protection scheme.

If your landlord has not placed your deposit in one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes then you will have to consider taking court action for the return of your deposit.

Before taking court action it is important that you write a “letter before action” to the landlord to give them the opportunity to settle the matter.

There is further information available on our website Adviceguide.
This includes a fact sheet with contact details of the different schemes and how to pursue a claim through the courts.

CitizensAdvice Wed 09-Oct-13 15:43:00

qo

Who do I complain to about my housing association? They are a registered charity.

They are refusing to do work on my property that other tenants have had done. They are now saying they can't comment.

If you rent your home from a housing association, they are responsible for dealing with most repair problems.

Before making a complaint, you should double check that your landlord is responsible for doing the work, for example, by looking at your tenancy agreement or tenancy handbook.

Every landlord is responsible for carrying out certain repairs even if these aren't mentioned in your tenancy agreement or handbook and these usually include:
• the structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
• basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipe work
• water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.

Depending on the repair you are requesting, there may be particular options open to you. These could include asking the Council to take action or taking a disrepair case through the courts.

If you’ve reported repairs to your landlord and they haven’t done anything, then you can make a complaint. Check your housing association’s complaints procedure and make a formal complaint. Put your complaint in writing, keep a copy and send it recorded delivery.

Give them time to reply, but not too long because if your complaint doesn’t reach a satisfactory conclusion you can then contact the Property Ombudsman – this has to be done within six months of your housing association completing their complaints procedure. Keep a record of all the dates so that if you need to, you can make a detailed argument to the Ombudsman.

You can find out more about your rights when renting from a social landlord from our website Adviceguide.

More information on how to make a complaint to the Property Ombudsman can be found at www.tpos.co.uk

CitizensAdvice Wed 09-Oct-13 15:53:47

knittedknickers

I am self-employed and my work is sporadic. At present I'm getting two days a week work on average but I don't generally know how much/if any I'll be doing from one month to the next. I have two daughters (six and three year olds) My partner and I are separating - will i be entitled to child tax credits/other benefits on such an erratic income? Some weeks I have earned £2k (gross) others it will be much less/nil.

If you are a single parent, there are a number of benefits you may be able to claim to top up your income, but these usually have rules regarding how many hours you can work and how much you can earn, which may be difficult to establish in your position.

As a single parent with a child under five, you may be able to claim income support but only if you work ‘on average’ less than 16 hours per week and your income is below a certain level. As you are self-employed, it is your net profit which is taken into account and usually in respect of the last year for which you have a full set of accounts (although a different period can be used if this is more representative of your normal earnings).

If you work more than 16 hours per week on average, then you may be entitled to working tax credit. This is also means-tested but usually looks at your total income for the previous tax year to determine your entitlement for this year.

Regardless of the number of hours you work, you may be able to claim other benefits such as housing benefit (if you rent your home) and child tax credit. Both of these are means-tested so would depend on your earnings and other income.

You need to be careful with claiming any of the above benefits, as it is your responsibility to notify the relevant benefit authorities whenever your circumstances change, eg if your average hours of work go above/below 16 per week or if your average earnings change. This can be difficult to establish when you have an erratic working pattern, so you may wish to seek further specialist help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau to assist with this.

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