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Should I just pay this to stop them hounding me.

16 replies

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:30

I recieved a letter from our local council today saying that I owed 1569 pounds in overpayment of housing benefit.

The letter said this was because of an overpayment over 5 days in March of 2004.

I recived housing benefit between May 2003 and August 2004 at 70 pound a week, so the amount they are asking back is equivalent to 22 weeks worth of money.

I don't understand why they have sent me a letter like this out of the blue, I have owned my own home for since August 2004 and have not recieved any benefits since then.

We don;t have the money to pay back an amount that to be honest I don;t think I owe. But they are saying that I risk getting a CCJ and we are about to apply for a larger mortgage and in these difficult times I don;t want to mess it up. If we ever get our inheritance money ( that is a whole new thread!) we could take money from there.

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twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:32

I am going to bed now as dp is waiting expectedly, I have just heard his seducation CD going on! I will look in the morning for my many replies.

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fletchaaarr · 17/04/2008 00:34

At least ask for the calculation. And cheaper than paying up is asking for a Data Subject Access Request (would cost you 15 quid) to get all of the records.

In the first instance though I would ring and speak (calmly) to a human being and ask why they have sent this, like you say, out of the blue.

shelleylou · 17/04/2008 00:37

Is it just housing benefit or is it council tax benefit aswell that could bump it up a bit. if it were me i would contact the council and ask how they worked it and if they could recalucate it with the information that you have said here about the amount of your weekly rent.
However much it works out to have been that you owed you might be able to work out a direct debit agreement to pay x amount. They are usually quite helpful well have been IME. HTH

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:39

I will phone tomorrow. If i have been overpaid i will of course pay it back but i dont know why they would contact me four years later. The bill is in my married name that i no longer use. I am wandering if that has something to do with this.

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fletchaaarr · 17/04/2008 00:43

If it is that old you could ask to pay it off over a time as well, interest free of course

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:43

The letter says housing benefit and they are happy for me to pay in installments. It says i was overpaid between 22nd and 28th of march in 2004 and the reason was a delayed first run whatever that means.

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shelleylou · 17/04/2008 00:46

I cant see how it would be as much as that i was overpaid hb and ct and it came to about a 3rd of that

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:46

The letter also quotes a date in 2007 when i lived in my current house and was not receiving and money from them. I think that may be the date they started to chase the overpayment.

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fletchaaarr · 17/04/2008 00:49

Really ring them tomorrow. It may all go away. But if what they have sent you makes no sense that is the only way of finding out

PS - come back and let us know

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:49

I dont understand how i can have been over paid that much in 2 period of six days. I would have noticed am extra grand and a half over a week.

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fletchaaarr · 17/04/2008 00:51

So would I!

madamez · 17/04/2008 00:55

Contact them and ask for proof that you owe that much, and say that when you have proof you will make an arrangment to pay in installments. They send out scary letters in a school-bully style in the hope that enough people will just pay up in sheer terror - which is a bit witless as most people who have recieved or are receiving benefits don't have a handy thousand or two spare just now. If you really don't think you owe this much (and as you said, you would have noticed that much extra money in the space of a week) they may well have made a mistake. And even if you do owe them money, you can negotiate payment by installments etc.

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 00:56

I will phone tomorrow. It does not make sense. I am a bit worried that something fraudulant has happened as housing benefit fraud is very common and i am sure there was a problem with a cheque going missing when i first moved in. I will find out tomorrow. What is annoying is that in an attempt to declutter before our move i have just shredded most of my financial documents from that time. I think i have bank statements though.

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micci25 · 17/04/2008 01:45

you can appeal these things but need to do so no later than 28 days after you recieved the first letter! i dont know what your council is like but i find it hard to get much sense out mine! a bunch of trained monkeys could to better tbh! i would suggest going to the cab with any correspondance from the council and see what they say about it

twinsetandpearls · 17/04/2008 02:31

This is the first letter. It says i have 28 days if i wish to appeal which i do. It all seems very odd.

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nannyL · 17/04/2008 08:18

so they paid you £1569 in 4 days?

that seems mad and to me looks like a mistake has been made, which will hopefully be sorted in 1 simple phone call!

dont just pay though...

im sure there will only b risk of CCJs if you do nothing.... all the while you are talking to them to sort it they are not gonna start proceedings against you

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