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housing benefit suspended

(59 Posts)
madeitagain Fri 06-Nov-15 17:21:56

I am a single mother working 3 days a week. I receive housing benefit. I got a letter requesting recent payslips just before half-term. I went to a friend's over the half term but handed in the necessary information by the due date. I know find my housing benefit has been cancelled. It is a huge hassle as I have rent, childcare an arranged birthday party and clubs to pay for. My account is overdrawn by £500 and rising. I have an arrangement with the bank to go to £700. I called the housing benefit personnel on Monday and then again today. It is now the only way of speaking to someone as there is no over the counter service. I was told the wait for it to be reinstated could be up to 18 working days. Am I being unreasonable to think that a due date means just that. The necessary information was all there. I have nothing to hide and no recent changes in income etc Advice would be appreciated. I am desperate.

Seeyounearertime Fri 06-Nov-15 17:28:29

Where did you hand the info tonifnthere is no counter service?
Was it through a third who could have delayed passing it on?
Did you get a recet showing you'd handed itnin and what date it was etc?

Dependant on which council you live in you may be able to claim a hardship grant. CAB or maybe Shelter will help you the best I think.

Good luck though.

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 17:33:39

Your HB will have been suspended to minimise any possible overpayment of benefit, which is usually preferable to being overpaid and then having your benefit reduced weekly to pay it back.

When is your next rent payment due? I appreciate what you're saying about childcare and birthday parties to be paid for, but that's not what your HB is for.

gobbynorthernbird Fri 06-Nov-15 17:38:27

No, it's not what HB is for. But the rent money has to come from somewhere.

OP, can you get to the CAB?

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 06-Nov-15 17:38:43

Surly I imagine the OP is using the money she had earmarked for childcare and her child's birthday party to pay her rent hmm

Is it worth speaking to your bank and getting your overdraft increased?

FayKorgasm Fri 06-Nov-15 17:48:28

I have no advice but so sadangry for you. Hope it gets sorted soon.

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 17:49:36

If I've misunderstood I apologise, but the way the OP reads to me is that there are a lot of outgoings due imminently and she's relying on the HB for all of them, not necessarily just the rent. Hence my question about when the rent is actually due. No need for the hmm

If your earnings haven't changed since your HB award was last assessed, you should ask for the suspension to be lifted immediately as your HB shouldn't change (unless there have been other changes in your circs, like Tax Credits increasing or decreasing). Ring the HB office again on Monday and ask whoever you speak to to compare the earnings currently being used to assess your claim against the earnings showing on the payslips you handed in before half-term.

If there is a significant difference in earnings (ie. your earnings now are much higher), you can take the hit of an overpayment when your award is re-assessed, but obviously your award will be reduced in the future to repay it.

gobbynorthernbird Fri 06-Nov-15 17:53:05

Why would you think that housing benefit covers anything more than a portion of rent, Surly?

madeitagain Fri 06-Nov-15 17:56:52

It is possible to hand papers over the counter but not discuss your individual circumstances in person. I got a receipt. Logic holds that if you don't have money for rent you take the money which would have been for birthday parties, clubs etc for rent if you don't receive the housing benefit that month. My rent is due again on the 1st of the month. I have paid a deposit on the party and the children have received their invitations. Oddly I received all the information I had submitted as evidence of my pay on the due date by post. They had therefore photocopied it before the due date.

madeitagain Fri 06-Nov-15 18:03:09

Hi SurlyValentine i stated that my income had not changed but the two people I spoke to said it wasn't up to them and it would have to be assessed because it had been cancelled. I asked to speak to a manager and was told that was not possible however I could leave my number and a manager would ring me after 48 hours. I said I would most probably be back at work when the person calls, assuming they do, and I am in a job where it is not possible to take personal calls whilst working. Sigh ....... I did try shelter but went around in circles on an answerphone. I have a young child and a high pressure job and frankly do not have the time or money for a child minder if I go to CAB.

ChoudeBruxelles Fri 06-Nov-15 18:07:18

Email your councillor and councillor with responsibility for housing. Officers hate dealing with councillor queries and will investigate quickly

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 18:12:33

gobby What makes you think that I do believe HB covers anything more than a portion of the rent? As a HB assessor for 15 years, I'm pretty clued up on how HB works, thanks.

OP You've received your original payslips back, so the copies will be in the queue of work to be done, most likely in date received order. If they were received by 23 October, then your award should be re-assessed by 18 November at the latest (using their timescale of 18 working days, which incidentally is pretty rubbish), so your payments (assuming you're paid fortnightly) will be made to you before your rent's due.

madeitagain Fri 06-Nov-15 18:12:48


exWifebeginsat40 Fri 06-Nov-15 18:16:15

they suspended mine once because I updated my bank details. good luck, OP.

gobbynorthernbird Fri 06-Nov-15 18:17:43

Not that this is helpful to the OP, Surly, but it'd be the bit where you said but that's not what your HB is for.

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 18:19:19

To be honest, by the time you've got an appointment with the CAB, Shelter or your councillor your HB will most likely have been re-instated anyway. I know it sucks, but this is one of the consequences of the budget cuts handed down from central government.

The only way to get your claim dealt with any quicker would be if your landlord had gone to court and got an eviction order with an actual eviction date on it.

If you want to PM me the local authority you live in, if it's the one I work for I will try to look at your claim, but I don't think it is if you've been told 18 working days (the one I work for is much less).

madeitagain Fri 06-Nov-15 18:24:02

SurlyValentine they were received on the 29th. I appreciate I will most probably receive payment by the next rent but in the interim I have food, bills, clubs, after school care, party. I very much doubt the bank will extend by overdraft. If I had withheld documents, not got things done on time etc I could understand. The letter I received originally,said if we do not receive the information by 29th October we will suspend your benefit. Everything was there and my receipt was for the 28th.

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 18:26:47

You've lost me gobby. The inference I drew from the OP was that she was needing her HB money to pay for her childcare, childrens' activities and a birthday party, and was prioritising these expenses over her rent, which is why I said that HB wasn't for that. But like you say, this isn't helping the OP.

exWife It's normal procedure to suspend the claim when someone asks to change the bank account the HB is paid into. This can be to prevent HB being paid into a closed account, which could make it a ballache for someone to get their money out, and/or so that the new account number and sort code can be verified (by way of a letter from the bank or a bank statement showing the new account details), to ensure that the new details are entered correctly on the benefits system. It would be more annoying if HB was paid into the wrong bank account.

SurlyValentine Fri 06-Nov-15 18:36:10

But that's what I'm saying OP - your HB should never have been earmarked to pay for any of those things anyway. That's what your wages, Tax Credits, and Child Benefit are for. I'm trying (and probably failing) to not sound really sanctimonious here.

It sounds like even though the documents were received on 28th, they weren't scanned and linked to your claim record when someone looked at your claim on 29th. I would be ringing every day to ask for the suspension to be lifted.

Don't get me wrong, I completely empathise with your situation, but I'm not sure what you wanted out of this thread.

Seeyounearertime Fri 06-Nov-15 18:37:09

I appreciate I will most probably receive payment by the next rent but in the interim I have food, bills, clubs, after school care, party

So you are using HB to pay for these things? Or would be if you were getting it?
You have a high pressure job so i assume wages coming in? When did they come in?

AngelBlue12 Fri 06-Nov-15 18:49:30

Surly Logic holds that if you don't have money for rent you take the money which would have been for birthday parties, clubs etc for rent if you don't receive the housing benefit that month.

The OP said that she'd used her childcare and children's party money to pay her rent, NOT that she wanted the HB to pay for the childcare etc. She used HER money for other things to pay her rent because the council HAD NOT paid her HB this month.

Viviennemary Fri 06-Nov-15 18:49:37

The point is OP is going to have a shortfall and has already committed to the party and so on. Practically speaking you could approach the bank for say an extra £300 overdraft, ask a family member or your ex for a loan. I know you won't want to and neither would I but needs must sometimes. Or get all food bills on credit card for time being. The wheels of the benefit office seem to turn very slowly and it is annoying if you got the information in on time and have a receipt for your documents. You could write them a polite letter stating this with a copy of your receipt. I'd do that.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Fri 06-Nov-15 18:53:19

I appreciate what you're saying about childcare and birthday parties to be paid for, but that's not what your HB is for

hmm hmm hmm

The reference to the overdraft was pretty clear.

And you were an HB assessor? hmm

MrRobot Fri 06-Nov-15 18:55:51

I read it as the OP using money that was earmarked for other things to pay her rent due to the HB shortfall.

gobbynorthernbird Fri 06-Nov-15 18:58:10

People like Surly are why the OP is in the shit right now. It was perfectly obvious what the OP meant.

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