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My olive groves stop me from claiming benefits

(137 Posts)
hettyGreek Tue 22-Mar-16 18:49:22

Hello,

I've lost my job after many years of full employment. I'm a single mum to two children (5 and 7) and rent a 3 bed flat.

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 and actually costs me money to maintain it. On my forms I used the valuation when I received it of about $25'000.00, but this valuation was before the downturn and it is probably only worth a fraction of this.

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.

All this has been confirmed from various sources including Money Saving Expert and CAB so I'm not looking for advice on the benefits.

I'm looking on advice as to if this is fair and if it is worth me writing to my MP / doing things to try to change the system. I'm going through the process to try to get an up to date valuation, but with the location this is not so straightforward getting it valued from a source they will respect but this is in progress. Until this is sorted I get nothing bar CBJSA.

It would be difficult to sell, and I would rather not as its been in the family for a long time and has been left to me with the intention to pass it on. If I was left a piece of jewellery this would be exempt and I wouldn't need to sell it, so I think the same should happen with this.

Do I have a point about this and jewellery? Most people on Petty Gripes think I'm being treated unfairly but this is a small sample. People on MSE mostly think this is fair.

Thanks for your time

DonkeyOaty Tue 22-Mar-16 18:53:31

You need to get it revalued I reckon

It's an asset as it stands at the moment hence notional income regs being used?

hettyGreek Tue 22-Mar-16 18:54:33

Forgot to add, I'm wanting to claim HB and CTS. Both of which i've been told I can't claim due to this land.

PercyPigTheSecond Tue 22-Mar-16 18:56:40

Yabu. You should sell the olive grove, also look for a new job? Why not spend your time job hunting rather than fighting the benefits system? If you have many years of full employment this should be easy. Good luck.

Patapouf Tue 22-Mar-16 18:56:43

From their perspective, the benefits are there to help people with no savings or assets. If you have savings or assets, you are expected to use/sell these before you rely on 'handouts'

I do think it is fair actually, although I completely understand why you do not want to sell it. Can you see how it is unfair that someone with the means to support the self is given state money so that they don't have to use their own?

You can write to your MP but with the way this government is going, savings and asset thresholds will be lowered rather than raised.
It's a shit situation OP

ThisIsStartingToBoreMe Tue 22-Mar-16 18:57:45

Just sell it. If you think about it, it's just a big useless thing isn't it?

ApocalypseNowt Tue 22-Mar-16 18:59:33

I don't think it's the same as jewellery. For one jewellery tends to be more of a heirloom/keepsake type item but more importantly there is no prospect of generating income from it.

I think you're in a very unfortunate situation and while i have sympathy I don't think you're being unfairly treated re the olive grove.

Getting land reclassified in the same way jewellery is I think would cause more problems and would probably create loopholes for some people (most likely the well off).

I have no legal background though so happy to be corrected!

Jade1212 Tue 22-Mar-16 18:59:57

I do think it's fair for them to go off the valuation you've given them, and for them to expect you to live off your savings for a bit before receiving welfare, but I don't think you should be expected to sell the olive grove, that seems a bit far. The issue seems to be that they think it generates income though? In which case I guess you need to prove it doesn't

nancy75 Tue 22-Mar-16 19:00:55

Greece is in a pretty bad way financially, just how fast do you think the op can sell this piece of land?

Palomb Tue 22-Mar-16 19:01:02

Sell it.

VertigoNun Tue 22-Mar-16 19:03:08

If I was in your position I would try to sell the land to family.

emotionsecho Tue 22-Mar-16 19:03:49

Trying to equate an Olive Grove with a piece of jewellery won't work, and nor should it, it is the equivalent of inherited land or property.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 22-Mar-16 19:05:08

I think it's fair. When it comes to assets, there are plenty that people would like to pass on to their dc, including a lump sum in the bank, you can't make exceptions for land. And a benefits system that allows everyone to keep all their assets isn't remotely practical.

I do sympathise, but if you're determined not to sell then you need to get it revalued or lease it out so it does generate some income.

AnotherEmma Tue 22-Mar-16 19:08:10

YAB a bit U to start a second thread on this when you already have one here! wink

As I said on that thread, you are entitled to Child Tax Credits.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Tue 22-Mar-16 19:10:32

Land in many cases would provide an income so no it definitely shouldn't be treated the same as jewellery. It's harsh on your case but the rules have to be applied to everyone. If they treated property the same as jewellery then buy to let landlords could end up having s portfolio of properties but claim benefits confused

If you can get it revalued according to current market conditions in the area it's worth it, and if it is still valued too highly for you to claim benefits then you should sell it.

Agree that your efforts could be better spent job hunting than fighting the benefits system. I appreciate its not easy but you don't have a choice.

guerre Tue 22-Mar-16 19:13:34

Which part of Greece is it in? I could do with an olive grove [wistful sigh]

bakeoffcake Tue 22-Mar-16 19:13:42

Get it revalued.

Lighteningirll Tue 22-Mar-16 19:14:22

Benefits are there to help those who can't help themselves either sell your asset or find away to get income from it or get it devalued but you need to accept that you aren't and shouldn't be entitled to those benefits.

LifeofI Tue 22-Mar-16 19:15:18

I have no clue what an olive grove is so i'm going with some other answers on here to sell it

keeprunninguphill Tue 22-Mar-16 19:17:38

BTW, what are you doing with the olives in the olive grove that 'generates no income'?

Homeriliad Tue 22-Mar-16 19:19:57

Percypig, it's not easy to get another job in this climate even with plenty of employment history.

Pantone363 Tue 22-Mar-16 19:23:22

Sell it to someone you trust for £1

I totally understand why you wouldn't want to sell. Its a permanent solution to a temporary problem. OP could get a job next month and then she's lost the land forever.

I wouldn't have even told them about it

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Tue 22-Mar-16 19:24:13

Hold on... How did you 'lose your job'?

And if unemployed then won't you need to be on jsa?

AnotherEmma Tue 22-Mar-16 19:25:04

Mum She is on contributory JSA (it's in the OP of both threads)

Brokenbiscuit Tue 22-Mar-16 19:29:29

Sorry, OP, but I think it's fair to take assets like this into account. I get that you don't want to sell it, but that isn't really the issue. You can't expect the state to stump up for your living costs just because you want to hang on to your assets.

If you genuinely can't sell, and you can't make any income from it either then that's a different issue, but I'm not sure how you would go about proving that.

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