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the council are ruining my life

(10 Posts)
juicychops Sun 06-Sep-09 11:01:21

information upon information upon information they have asked for and i have given them everything they have ever asked for.
i have told them months ago that my ds starts school september but that i will also have to pay x amount of childcare this tax year during holidays/half terms as i need to work. i worked out the weekly average to help them use this in their calculations.

they sent me loads of letters last month saying im now entitled to few quid council tax benefit, my housing benefit has been increased slightly etc. they also said i owe money here there and everywhere so took that off last months housing benefit leaving me short with no warning. anyway, i had to deal with it.

yesterday got a letter from them saying 'i am writing to tell you about a reduction in your housing benefit from 7th september o9. i have decided to remove the costs that you pay for childcare from 7th september because i believe your ds is due to start full time school.'

so without warning they have reduced my housing benefit to £39 per week from £56!! and they have put my council tax back up to £80 from £50!! how the fucking hell can they just say 'we have decided to completely disregard everything you have said about needing to pay for childcare during half terms so screw you??'

i am beside myself right now. been crying on the phone to dp. i could barely afford the rent and council tax before but now i will have to find £80 odd quid a month more without any warning what so ever. and what about the half terms when they arrive? just pluck £60 per week from thin air to cover the costs?
they have screwed my over so much and i am sick to death of it. im going to work out a way to afford to give up work and go back onto income support for a while and they can pay the whole fucking lot of rent and council tax.

i work damn hard to do a part time job, pay my own way in society all on my own with no financial help from ds's dad as well as studying for a degree. i dont buy myself nice things, rarely go out, haven't even done a food shop for about 4 months cos i cant afford it. and this is my reward for trying to make something of myself and lead by example for ds. i am so sick of it.

and it is a sunday so i cant even ring the council to have a go

expatinscotland Sun 06-Sep-09 11:05:34

Write a letter to your MP. Bullet point all this chopping and changing on their part - one week putting it up, the next reducing it, one week telling you you owe money, the next that they're due you.

Enclose copies of all these letters they've been sending you and stick it all in an A4 envelope and send it to him.

Explain as you've done here, that you're a lone parent who's working and trying to better herself.

If your city has a Welfare Rights Centre, arrange an appiontment with them, too.

Tell your DoS about your woes, too, in his/her office hours.

juicychops Sun 06-Sep-09 11:08:29

thanks for replying. think i will write to mp. what is DoS?

expatinscotland Sun 06-Sep-09 11:28:00

your director of studies/adviser at university.

write a letter to him today.

you can post it tomorrow and it's a pro active thing to do.

NotPlayingAnyMore Sun 06-Sep-09 11:58:58

Why don't you make sure it's not just a mistake at the council on Monday before you raise the alarm with your MP/uni etc.?

I'm hoping it's just down to someone there being a bit dim.

juicychops Sun 06-Sep-09 14:11:27

ive got the day off tomorrow so will go down to the council tomorrow. they are an absolute disgrace sometimes. ive already had to go up there to complain as they had worked it all out wrong using rediculously high amounts of tax credits so i lost a lot of money. and i have applied for money back every time they have made cock ups but have never received a payment back so lost a lot of money - or my landlady has.

i will prob start crying in there!

juicychops Sun 06-Sep-09 14:12:18

my degree is with the open university so dont know if i would have a DoS? hmm

BetterBitOfButter Sun 06-Sep-09 14:22:43

Firstly, the person you have a go at when you ring the council will most likely not be the person who has made the decision. Whilst you might feel better shouting at some poor sod on the phone in customer services, you'll have ruined their day.

Ask for a claim check by the benefit assessors. The best way to do this is in writing, pointing out the reasons you think the HB/CTB assessment is incorrect. Assert that your child care costs are both required and reasonable. It may be that instead of spreading out your child care costs for half terms and holidays over the whole year, the council will reasssess your HB/CTB claim on the weeks when those costs have to be met and on those weeks only you will have an increase in your HB/CTB entitlement. Ask them what their policy is in this regard. Secondly if you are struggling, some councils have a discretionary housing fund whereby extra HB/CTB is pid on top of the normal assessment if circumstances are unusual and/or you are struggling generally.

Further your university may offer assistance with child care fees or emergency funding on top of any grants and/or loans. Speak to student services in this regard.

BetterBitOfButter Sun 06-Sep-09 14:23:22

Sorry didn't know OU, no grants available I believe

kikisunflower Sun 20-Sep-09 18:16:58

juicychops I feel your frustration I have had many encounters with working tax credit that have had me in tears!! and they got things so wrong they actually paid me £3000 pounds in childcare they got completely wrong because someone pressed the wrong button!!!!!

Just keep speaking to the council till you get the right answer, call again till you get someone else on the phone.

I have a 3 and a 2 year old and work part time.

I am so tired and stressed I have been making lots of mistakes at work and they have now let me go

I am looking for new jobs but to be honest feel I may just apply for income support, well I may actually have no choice.

My eldest will go to school next year I recently threw my partner out and to tired to care less at the moment.

Just want a roof over my head and food on the table!!

and happy children xx

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