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Interview Under Caution regarding housing benefits. I didn't do anything wrong did I?(25 Posts)
I received a letter from the housing benefit office yesterday requesting I attend an interview under caution regarding suspected benefit fraud. The letter is only addressed to me, not both DH and I
I rang them but they were closed by the time I got home from work. I didn't think too much about the letter at the time, we haven't claimed any housing benefit for a couple of years and then it was only for a short time, but I've Googled, and now I'm shitting it, and obviously there's now no one I can speak to until Monday.
2 1/2 years ago DH was made redundant. We managed for a while with savings but eventually had to put in a claim for some benefits. Provided them with everything they asked for and they agreed we were entitled to some HB and council tax relief.
About 8 weeks after the claim went through DH got a full time job.
I rang them at the time, told them DH had got a job, his start date, company details, and his salary, the advisor took all the details and asked me to send them a copy of his payslip. I scanned and emailed the payslip as soon as it arrived, then a couple of weeks later got a letter to say that our HB claim had now ended as DH earned too much and the payments stopped.
We ended up with a small overpayment they took a couple of weeks to stop the claim, but that was all paid back
That was that, it was all done and dusted nearly 2 years ago as far as I knew. We've not heard anything from them since.
That's the only time we've ever claimed anything, so I have no idea what I've done wrong, or why I need to be interviewed
DH has had a couple of pay rises since, and I've now got a full time job, but they wouldn't expect us to inform them of those changes would they? This is all after the claim was closed so I can't see why I would need to.
I've dug through all my emails and found the email I sent them with the scan of DH's pay slip, and the automated response from them, and I've found their letter confirming the claim was closed but I can't find any of the other paperwork from them.
Do I have anything to worry about? Did I do anything wrong? I'm really shitting myself now. The interview isn't for 3 weeks so I'm in for a lot of sleepless nights
Doesn't sound like you've done anything wrong.
Might be worthwhile speaking to a criminal law solicitor first though.
Is there any chance that they kept on paying all this time?
I just can't see what I've done wrong. I told them as soon as DH started work, then sent proof of his payslip as soon as we got it.
They definitely haven't been paying us during that time, I've been through our bank statements and the last payment was beginning of July 2013.
The claim was ended and we had to pay back a small amount that was overpaid. I paid it online so I've got a record of that too.
I don't get it. I will speak to a solicitor but I can't until Monday now.
If you are sure they haven't carried on paying you then you'll be fine. Make photocopies of everything you have including bank statements showing money coming in and out and do a clear covering note and give the copies to them at the interview. If you can prove what you say I cannot see how you have done anything wrong.
No, there's definitely no more payments from them into our main account.
We had one other bank account open at the time which was our savings account, I've double checked that too and no payments made into that.
I'll take copies of everything with me
I don't know. Fingers crossed it's a fuck up or something
How much did you have in savings? Did you declare them when you claimed?
None by the time we claimed. We'd used what we had to live on for the previous few months.
They had copies of our bank statements for our savings account when we claimed so they knew what was in there
I was working part time, but I gave them all my payslips and everything. My pay never changed during the time we claimed, I was only working 10 hours a week.
They had everything they asked for when we claimed. Details of both bank accounts, my pay slips, etc. I told them about everything we had coming in
I was talking to a friend earlier and she thinks it's because the time between DH starting work and them stopping the claim was too long.
But, I told them the day DH started work - he went for an interview on the Friday, was offered the job late Friday evening and started work on the Monday. I told them by phone on the Monday, then sent his payslip in at the end of the month as soon as I received it. It took about another 2 weeks from the date I sent the payslip to the date they stopped our claim (hence the overpayment). I couldn't have done it any quicker.
I'll print out all our bank statements and all the paperwork I have to take with me.
Sounds like you have nothing to sport about then. You paid back an overpayment for the period between DH starting work and cancellation of the claim so I can't see that bring the issue. Take all the documentation/evidence you have available along and I'm sure it'll be cleared up quickly.
Nothing to sport about? That should say 'worry' obviously.
Smart phone, my arse.
just in your name? was the claim joint? is there a possibility that there is someone else with your name out there?
there are at least two people i know and have met personally with the same first and last name as me in my area too! im aware of a third although i didnt meet her we worked for the same company
Even with a joint claim, any proceedings will only be addressed to the lead claimant.
Don't worry OP, sounds like a storm in a teacup to me
Take your birth /marriage certificate and passport too perhaps just in case it is mistaken ID or a fraudulent claim using your details. Also worth paying £2 for an on line credit check to see if someone hasn't been using your details to obtain a lot of credit just in case there is some kind of identity theft going on.
It does sound like it could be identity fraud. You clearly haven't done anything wrong.
Maybe speak to your MP to see if they can help? Their aides can help with DWP type stuff.
I would ring them this morning or turn up at the office and sit there till they had explained the situation.
No one likes to be threatened with what is basically an accusation of fraud, especially those who haven't done anything wrong to their knowledge.
I'd put money on it being a cock up, don't wait about getting stressed, go and find out what's going on. Or ring them if you can't go in person.
They should at least tell you what they think you have done.
I've finally managed to speak to someone there.
She was really short with me on the phone at first and refused to tell me what it was about as they wanted to talk to me under caution while being recorded.
Huge panic, but after I explained I wanted to take legal advice as I couldn't see what I'd done wrong as we hadn't claimed for nearly 2 years and even then it was only for a couple of months.
She then went off to get someone else who talked me through it. As we were chatting we realised the claim number on my IUC letter was different to the claim number on my original paperwork so something is odd. Don't know if it's identity fraud or just a cock up somewhere.
I'm going to the benefit office tomorrow with all the paperwork I have plus my passport so she can go through it all with me. The interview has been cancelled <phew>
I've checked all my credit history, we've got a fraud watch thing on our bank account so I've spoken to them and that's all fine and they're going to put an alert on us.
Hopefully, by tomorrow it'll all be sorted. At least I'll get some sleep tonight
Hope it goes well tomorrow. Very stressful for you.
Probably a cock up at HMRC end muddling you with someone else. At least the appointment tomorrow is not under caution and hopefully they can sort it out.
Assuming it's their cock up, you should find out how this fraud watch thing has affected you and make sure they put it right.
Gosh - I have been watching this thread as this is the sort of thing that happens to me. (Once got endless red electricity bills despite paying and had proof that I had paid and then a court summons. Turns out the electricity company were sending me the bills for the flat upstairs. Plus other stories of similar ilk.....)
How horribly stressful for you, OP, and unnecessary. I hope you can sleep easy tonight knowing that it is probably going to be sorted out and that someone, somewhere owes you a massive apology.
OK, all sorted.
Thank Christ for that!
They don't know how it happened yet, but it's nothing to do with me.
One thing that just occurred to me, and I've got to look into, is what happens with my criminal record. I was under the impression DBS checks showed stuff like interviews under caution now. I guess that as the interview didn't happen and I wasn't cautioned means it won't show up but I need a clean DBS for work and don't fancy explaining that forever more
The fraud watch thing is a benefit we have on our bank account, it's for our protection, nothing sinister. DH fell for one of those PayPal scam phishing emails, they just let us know whenever credit is applied for
Redautumn yes, this kind of thing always happens to me too. I sometimes wonder what I did wrong in a previous life
That's a relief. I would hope that HMRC are better than your average mobile or gas company in ensuring you are not given a bad credit score when it's not your fault but do keep checking.
Also if someone is pretending to be you HMRC should give you full details so you can look into it.
LotusLight It's not HMRC. This is Housing Benefit, administered by the OP's Local Authority.
Yes, I see. Hopefully they will be thorough too like HMRC but who knows.
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