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Child Benefit sneakily stopped, only just found out. Can someone help?

(34 Posts)
nunu123 Thu 04-Aug-16 21:50:35

Hello to all.
I have been lurking on the forums for a while, and have found some really beneficial advice.This is my first actual post, so please be gentle : )
I would really like your help regarding HMRC/Child Benefit Office sneakily having stopped payments for my 3 children (all under the age of 16).

I'd like to give you a brief overview on what happened, and why I only just found this out. And would really appreciate any help you can offer.

I am married with 3 children, and received CTC/WTC/CB as a joint claim.
in December 2014 my husband started working in Ireland.
I contacted HMRC prior to his leaving to inform them of a change of circumstance, namely that my husband would be working indefinitely in Ireland, whilst I and my 3 children would remain in the UK.
I was told that we would stop receiving WTC as my husband would no longer be resident in the UK. I was fine with that.
I was also told I would have to make a new claim as a single parent with 3 children, and end our joint claim. I was also fine with that.
HMRC stopped our Tax Credits/ Child Benefit payments.
When HMRC received my new application, they reinstated all my payments.....or so I thought.
When looking at my bank statement I saw that the Tax Credit paymets had started again so I was relieved. I assumed that all payments were coming in as normal.

Bare in mind through all of this, i received absolutely nothing in writing from HMRC/Child Benefit Office. All correspondence was over the phone.

Fast forward to July 2016. I had an appointment with an advisor at my bank. Whilst checking through my account he saw that whilst I was receiving CTC payments, he couldn't see any Child Benefit payments.
I told him he must have been mistaken, and I explained that yes all my payments had stopped due to the change in circumstance, but they were all reinstated. I was obviously wrong.

I called HMRC/Child Benefit Office explaining the matter, and they said we stopped your payments for Child Benefit because you left the country.
I told them, I have never left the country, and it was only my husband who had gone to work in Ireland.
Not once in any conversation have I ever stated I was going with him.

I know now it was extremely stupid of me to not keep checking my statements as often as I should have.
But in my defence, when I originally saw that my payments had stopped that's when I contacted them about it and they reinstated them. But sneakily, minus the Child Benefit Payments.

Surely, if I was not living in the UK as they claim, I would not have been entitled to any payments of any sort. Am I correct?

I filed a complaint, and received a letter saying that they would NOT reconsider any repayments because apparently I had received a letter
from them saying my Child Benefit would stop but I didn't inform them, which is absolute rubbish.

I really don't know what to do. The Child Benefit payments are still not being paid as they said they are still investigating my claim, but in the letter they say I can not get a refund, nor can I appeal the decision.

Can anyone help me with this awful situation.


gillybeanz Thu 04-Aug-16 21:57:32

No, they have you hook line and sinker.
If it's any consolation it does sort out and you may get back payment, I have heard of this.

Once it's all in the system there's little anyone can do, unless they will escalate it for you if you call again.

We had a situation with tax credits, none of it our fault and I was harassed for months to pay back a full year, even though I knew the investigation would show I didn't and it was their fault. I didn't pay them and it was awful.
So I can sympathise, you just have to wait, but do contact again and ask them why, this can help to get a manager.
So sorry for you thanks

SerendipitousFoxley Thu 04-Aug-16 22:01:14

Well... I might.l be being a little bit rude here so I apologise in advance. But if you didn't notice the payments weren't going in, for over a year, how awful can the situation really be? We'd notice instantly if one of our cb payments wasn't paid, because we need it.

I do think it was their fault for messing up, as you say you never told them you were going with your dh. I just don't think you're going to get anywhere with them considering you're saying you desperately need them paid to you, but you didn't notice you weren't getting them for a year.

Babyroobs Thu 04-Aug-16 22:05:18

Have you split from your husband or is he just working away ? if you are still a couple I'm not sure why you were advised to claim as single. Did you dh claim the child benefit inhis name?

nunu123 Thu 04-Aug-16 22:13:16

Thank you for responding.
No, I completely understand what you're saying. Prior to this I would check my statements religiously. when I saw the payments not coming in that's when I contacted them about it. When they restarted the payments, I saw the tax credits and other benefits coming in, I assumed they had all been started again.
My meeting with the bank was because we are struggling financially.
I have requested phone recording from them, and am waiting for the official mandatory reconsideration notice.
Then I am going to fill in a direct lodgement form to take the matter to tribunal. I have been told that you can be backdated to 13 mths in exceptional circumstances.
I'm hoping this qualifies for it.

nunu123 Thu 04-Aug-16 22:21:39

No, my husband is just working in ireland

nunu123 Thu 04-Aug-16 22:27:31

No he is not

coffeemaker5 Fri 05-Aug-16 07:06:18

if you haven't split up you shouldn't claim as single confused

nunu123 Fri 05-Aug-16 10:27:24

Hello, to all,
I have been pondering over some of your responses, and yes, you are absolutely right Babyroobs and Coffeemaker5.
I informed them that it was just my husband who will be working in Ireland.
I specifically told them that we are obviously married, we have not separated nor do we intend to.
Even when I told them this they said I have to end the claim and make a new claim as a single parent with 3 kids.
I was looking on the Revenue Benefits website, and it seems that I have been done over on the WTC front as well!!!

MyLlamasGoneBananas Fri 05-Aug-16 10:43:08

HMRC and associated bodies are hell on earth to deal with.
They have their own rules and ways.
What they say goes 99.9% of the time and the little people (us) can go fuck ourselves.

I had a tc issue a few years ago. I kept scrupulous records. Funnily enough they claimed they'd written to me on x y z date but I never received any if these letters. Likewise, they claimed never to have recieve any of mine despite me being able to produce a signed for signature time and date. The reason for this I was told was that they have a paperless office. When I asked who the hell was A Scribble who signed go my letter (s) on x date at x time they simply wouldn't respond.
I only started to write to them using recorded delivery after they claimed to have no records of my previous telephone calls despite me being able to say I called x number on x date. The call started at x time and ended on x time. The person I spoke to said their name was x. Nope - just nothing on their records again and again and again.

I don't know how the hell they get away with it but normal business practice does not exist in my experience with them.

Sorry to be so bleak but I wish I'd had the heads up on exactly how hard I would need to smash my head against a brick wall before I started.

Good luck. I hope you have a better experience than me.

nunu123 Fri 05-Aug-16 10:52:28

So basically, I have not been receiving Child Benefit or Working Tax Credit for over 18 months, simply because my husband went to work in Ireland.
Can I ask what happened in your case, and how you went complaining about it?

Babyroobs Fri 05-Aug-16 12:00:00

I don't see how you can feel hard done by that you haven't been receiving working tax credits when you have been claiming as al one parent with 3 kids for the past 2 years whilst your dh presumably still supports you? I imagine you will have been getting far more in the way of child tax credits on a lone parent claim than you would have done claiming wtc and ctc as a couple !! I don't understand why they told you to claim as a lone parent. Is he working in the Republic of Ireland and therefore it's classed as outside of the uk ? Either way it seems wrong to claim as single if he is supporting you and your kids. Does he pay out for lodgings/ another home in Ireland?

gamerchick Fri 05-Aug-16 12:05:15

If you haven't split up why are you claiming as single? I also agree with the above, if you haven't noticed payments going in for a year then you mustn't be hard up.

You don't get paid as a single parent just because your husband works away. You've made a false claim? confused

Babyroobs Fri 05-Aug-16 12:08:32

I think actually people can claim as single if their husband works abroad outside of the UK. I remember having a discussion / arguement with a previous poster many years ago regarding this. her dh worked in Pakistan and she was claiming single with 4 kids !! Presumably even claimants with a dh earning mega bucks tax free somewhere llike Dubai could claim as a lone parent. If this is the case it is a shocking loophole which needs to be closed.

babyiwantabump Fri 05-Aug-16 12:13:56

Why didn't you move to Ireland with your DH? Don't they have benefits over there?

babyiwantabump Fri 05-Aug-16 12:15:12

Also child benefit and tax credits are claimed through two different departments separately .

They haven't sneakily done anything it's you that haven't contacted the child benefit office .

Balletgirlmum Fri 05-Aug-16 12:18:20

To be fair to the op a friend of mine was told similar about claiming as a single parent when her dh moved away to work even though they spent some weekends & holidays together.

Babyroobs Fri 05-Aug-16 12:24:30

Op you can't claim WTC if you are claiming as a lone parent unless you are working 16 hours a week. I'm assuming you are not currently working as you haven't mentioned it in previous posts .You can't have it both ways. You either claim as single and get much higher rates of CTC and forgo the WTC ( because your dh is the working one and is not on your claim), or you look for a job and then claim WTC & CTC and your CTC will be reduced because of your higher household income.

Cosmo111 Fri 05-Aug-16 12:36:34

As other posters are saying you haven't had these payments for a while and you only realised other people would noticed these missed payments straight away because they rely on them massively . It does sound like you fraudly claimed as a single parent although there might be a loop hole which I agree is a disgrace and should be closed. They are genuine single parents who do struggle and live in poverty without assistance from the partner providing an income aswell. You can't have your cake and eat it. CB and TC are to different departments. I had my payment stopped due to changing my address with TC I assumed it changed for CB it didn't. Once I informed them of my new address address I received my payment.

AppleMagic Fri 05-Aug-16 12:46:00

Can your dh claim for them in Ireland if he's working/paying tax there? CB is much more generous there.

Babyroobs Fri 05-Aug-16 12:48:30

There are certain benefits to op claiming the CB- it will protect her state pension contributions if she is not working.

Cosmo111 Fri 05-Aug-16 12:48:38

Agree with PP you won't get working tax (if you don't work) if your claiming as a single parent that's beyond greedy, your already gaining extra for being a single parent as your DH income isn't declared on the claim and I'm sure he will be giving you part his income on top of what your already recieving. Challenging this you may find you have a massive overpayment to give back.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Fri 05-Aug-16 12:51:08

Be really careful here unless you've got proof that they advised you to claim as a single parent. If you can't prove it, it'll be your word against theirs that they advised you to commit benefit fraud.

Babyroobs Fri 05-Aug-16 12:56:30

II will say this again - I don't think op is commiting benefit fraud, I think if you have a dh working outside of the UK then you can claim as a lone parent. I may be wrong but if she has been advised to claim as a lone parent then so be it. I am very shocked that this is the case but I guess if he is having to pay for lodgings etc in ireland then that is an additional expense. But op cannot complain about being diddled out of working tax credits if she is not working and she is already getting way more in child tax credits as a lone parent than if she were claiming as a couple.

nunu123 Fri 05-Aug-16 14:15:46

To clarify some points, my husband is working in the Republic of Ireland and pays all his taxes there, which is a heck of a lot higher than it is in the UK, as he did when he was working in the UK.
I contacted HMRC only, I have never had any contact with the Child Benefit Office. They told me I had to end my joint claim and claim as lone parent/Single so no I have not committed any sort of fraud. I can not work as I have a disabled son who I care for.
Thank you babyroobs, that is the main point, CB payments protect your pension contributions.
How can my husband claim for Child Benefit payments if the children are here with me??

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