They DID cock up last year!!! They had me down as earning (because that stupid moronic website makes you put down your details for the year before (so last year it wanted my 2003-4 earnings, regardless of the fact I wasn't earning any more!!!).
It doesn't seem to matter how often I tried to call, they assured me it was right.
Now, it turns out that (again, even though I TRIED to update them), they STILL had me down as earning!!!
Soooo... from about Dec 03 they have been paying us based on me earning....
Hopefully we should get a nice lump sum.
Question.... am I meant to declare that to housing benefits??? Does CTC affect housing benefits???
Yeah you are supposed to declare any type of benefit to your housing dept this includes working tax credit and child tax credit! Crap I know they give it to you in one hand and its taken away in the other!
as im not a earner for this year (as was made redundant in march 05) i called IR to advised them that ive been to jobcentre to sign on for job seeker allowance, so the IR reassess my record and it was showing that i was an earner!! so i called them back and they said if you are claiming for ANY benefits, inc jobseeker allowance, that is classed as a earner....i gave them the wrong info as im only claiming for job seeker allowance contribution based so its now NIL as my earning..
Although CTC does affect the amount of housing benefit you receive I would personally try to keep the lump sum money you receive quiet! I personally receive working tax credit and CTC and am not entitled to any housing or council tax benefit as they take that into account when processing the forms. But I live in a different area where different amounts will be considered. Just watch that when you fill out your new housing benefit forms, that they don't ask for your bank account statement that the lump sum would be in! As soon as you get the lump sum transfer it into another account so as when you have to give a 3months bank statement it would only have your normal comings and goings !
register to do it online - it is a pain to register - takes about a week to activate - but once it is live you can check all the values they have for you - and can change them if you need to. Much easier if you need to change your circumstances sometime during the year.
Also I needed to ring the help desk last week to correct a change that the computer wouldn't let me do - they answered straight away, and made the change then and there - I was very impressed. Also the ladies had nice Scottish accents (as opposed to some Indian one - at least we could understand what each other was saying !) and were very friendly .
Registering online didn't fix our problems at all, just led to them phoning up to check what we entered, then they changed everything back to wrong values!! Having repeated the process a few times, we gave up.
Forget online... CALL THEM UP. After my initial disastrous online experience with them, I have only dealt with them by phone since, and they have been friendly and helpful and changed my award every time I called. (I call on average 4 or 5 times in a year as my dh is self-employed and I keep increasing and decreasing my hours at work). They made a mistake once and when I got the award notice I immediately called them up and they apologized, corrected it and sent me a new award.
Declare your lump sum - there is data matching between housing benefit and tax credits which will show how much you got. The lump sum may affect the benefit you have already received. They will find out and if you have not declared it you will have to pay the overpayment back. You will be pulled in for an interview and depending on the size of the overpayment you could be liable for a fine, caution or prosecution.
They changed our award every time we call, too. Problem was, they could only change one thing at a time, and at least one of our circumstances used to change each week, so sometimes (gasp) I used to phone up with 2 things that needed changing, and that really threw the whole system into disarray. Plus, as soon as they changed one thing, we had to phone back about another. Then after the second phone call they would change back the first thing to the first value (no, I'm not making it up). Then they decided that all of our childcare costs had always equalled zero. And their system couldn't handle more than 2 childcare providers. Complete plonkers.