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to think my local housing benefit office train their staff to be arrogant idiots or is it something that just comes with the job

(12 Posts)
starshaker Wed 17-Jun-09 13:09:39

I have been having a lot of hassel with housing benefit.

I got the keys for my new flat on the 13th march. I downloaded the form the night before so i could have it all filled in and ready to hand in. I went to the office and handed the girl the form and told her i would hand in the bank statements, income support letter and tax cred letter. She told me there was no point handing it in till i had all the documents (not what the form said) and that it wouldnt be looked at for a while anyway so it wouldnt matter.
I took the form home and on the tuesday i posted the form as i wasnt going near the office (stupid me didnt get a reciept).
So for the next 6 weeks i was calling weekly to see if the office had recieved my form. They kept saying it would be in the pile and they would get to it. after 6 weeks they told me they didnt have the form and i was to hand in another 1. Anyway by the 27th april the form was handed in.
I had to send in more statements etc and again kept calling to see if they had processed it.
May 18th they call me and tell me they cant process my application as my house has no tax band and it was my responsibility to get it (why not tell me this at the very start) I got the survayor out and he told me it would be done within the week.
I keep calling the council and they keep telling me my address doesnt exist. On wed last week id had enough and called my councillor to see if he could sort it out. Within half an hour my house had a tax band and my application had been processed. Great, well it would be if they werent a bunch of idiots. They are only paying from the 27th april and they are paying the cheque to my landlord even though they know i have been paying my rent and am not due my landlord any money.
They then told me that i need a letter to prove im not in arrears (not a problem). Called today to see when i would recieve the first cheque and that i would be handing the letter in today. The problem with that is it will take 10 days for them to get the letter as it will be sent from local office to hq by courier. I asked if they could do it any quicker and she said no. So that would mean i need to wait 10 days before they even get the letter and will need to come up with £110 for the next few weeks.
I asked if they had a fax machine, she said yes. i asked if the local office would have a fax machine and she said yes. I said well cant they fax you the letter. Guess what she said? Yeah i supose that would work.

Rant over. still need to pay rent till the cheque comes through and clears though. Am i right to think they are taking the piss.

Oh and thanks if you got this far lol

Jumente Wed 17-Jun-09 13:14:09

Can you appeal the backdated payments? It sounds like a nightmare but sadly I think alltoo common. I think they are slightly better round here than they used to be but it's more a case of knowing exactly how to play them, as it were, always getting receipts and asking them face to face exactly what you need to do.

Sorry you've had such a bad time of it.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Wed 17-Jun-09 13:15:41

Umm....sounds like you were given wrong advice in the first place. As long as they have your form you have a month in the first instance to provide docs - but the claim starts from when they received your form. So YANBU on that front. However their systems are always going wrong, so lesson learnt - never ever post anything, take it to office and get a receipt. They put my form with someone else's documents once and with the receipt I managed to sort it out.
It's incredibly frustrating but it should come good in the end!

starshaker Wed 17-Jun-09 13:20:41

I am going to appeal the backdate but they told me it will be the same person who looks at it so is unlikely to change their mind.

Ninkynork Wed 17-Jun-09 13:22:36

I handed in evidence to support getting our award recalculated at the beginning of April and have only just had it seen to because I made a fuss and got it made a priority.

They are either very busy or very disorganised and the systems are awful.

Hope you get it sorted soon smile

starshaker Wed 17-Jun-09 13:26:07

I need that money as i have had to borrow alot to pay my rent and im now pregnant and will use the extra to pay for baby essentials

jugglingwoman Wed 17-Jun-09 13:29:09

I think they learn on the job. I know of normally very efficient people who've gone to work for government run companies and come out useless/rude/unorganised.

That's why we pay more tax grin.

dilemma456 Wed 17-Jun-09 16:36:09

Message withdrawn

junglist1 Sat 20-Jun-09 17:16:00

Before I even applied for HB at my new address I had my MP letter written out and everything, that's the level of uselessness I've had to put up with over the years. Being shit at everything must be part of the interview criteria.

mamas12 Sun 21-Jun-09 00:13:39

omg so this is nationwide is it?
I thought it was only me
I had a v. nasty letter telling me that they were reclaiming overpaid benefit basically telling me I was trying to defraud them. The tone of the letter was so aggressive.
It all boiled down to bad admin by them not recording my first phone call informing them of change of circs.
I would like to send a copy to my mp
It is so insulting to be spoken to like this. why can't they just speak normally.

TheArmadillo Sun 21-Jun-09 08:28:06

As someone who works (partially) with housing benefit that is appalling. YANBU

They should have taken form when you first handed it in with or without documentation and that should be the date that the claim starts from - even if it wasn't looked at for a while, when it came through it should have been from that date. (we start it from date form is requested - but obv doesn't apply if you downloaded it).

Secondly the govt have changed policy so that they want the majority of people to be paid housing benefit direct (and this was a while ago) - obviously this isn't suitable for everyone, but the default position should be that it is paid straight to you except under certain cirumstances.

Get back on to your councillor as that can be the best way to sort things out if dept is taking no notice.

Also I would put in an official complaint.
And if you don't get it backdated and paid to you direct you can appeal any decision - they should provide you with details of who to take it to (above council level) if you are not happy with their take on it.

I know our dept, and many others are under a lot of pressure because of the increased number of benefit applications with the economic situation but that is no excuse for this.

TheArmadillo Sun 21-Jun-09 08:37:55

am also very surprised they don't offer electronic payments (i.e. straight into your account). I would quiz them on that as well.

Kick up a stink. It shouldn't be acceptable for them to treat you like that.

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