Housing Benefit nightmare!
12 May 2018 at 2:13 pm #11257
I’ll try keep this as short as possible…
I’m wondering if anyone else has been in the same situation or can point me in the direction of who I can turn to because CAB are absolutely useless!
So me and my children’s father split in 2016. I couldn’t afford to stay in the family home as it was mortgaged and I only work part-time. We worked out if we were to sell and pay off all joint debts we would both walk away with about £1000. We didn’t feel it was worth all the upheaval and we both agreed he was going to stay in the house and take on all the joint debt and I would walk away with a clean slate. Also, once he was in a financially stable position he was going to apply for a mortgage on his own and I would sign my share of the house over to him.
This is exactly what I told HB when I applied. Then last year they stopped my claim because they said I only had 26 weeks to dispose of the property (they never mentioned this at any point until now!), which they clearly failed to pick up on this as it was 17 months later! So I was left struggling considerably and no-one seemed to want to help me. I sought advise from CAB and the man I spoke to told me “we all have things happen in our lives that we don’t like, it took me an hour the other day to order a long sleeved shirt over the telephone” … I was speechless! I also wrote to my local MP but she just referred me back to CAB even though I’d already told her of my issues with them. And just to also add- I wasn’t made aware directly from my local council that my claim was going to be cancelled, I was given this information in my reply from my local MP!
So my ex partner pulled his finger out and worked the next 3 months doing as much overtime as possible so he could apply for the mortgage. He was accepted. We signed the house over. I applied for HB again. They’re now telling me I’m not likely to receive HB because I’ve signed my share of the property ‘willingly!’
I am appalled! In no way have I signed the house over willingly- this was the agreement as for the sake of £1000 it wasn’t worth putting my kids through all the upheaval of both their mum and dad separating and moving houses but possibly moving schools too.
I’m in a position where I’ve now racked up credit card debt because I cannot get by on my wage and the tax credits I receive!16 May 2018 at 8:14 pm #11370
All I can say from my experience with housing, well benefits in general is keep contacting them, daily if you can. Dont concede anything they say that you know isn’t correct and insist on a urgent management review of your case as their errors are causing distress. Go to your GP and ask if he or she will attest to your stress (which is obvious even over the net in a few paragraph synopsis of your situation). Make a meeting with your child’s school to discuss the matter with them, which you can then explain to the housing also. Im afraid if you want to ‘win’ with the benefits agencies you have to wear your heart on your sleeve and expect no privacy or much dignity from them. They tend to respond to the most insistent people rather than those most in need :/
Keith16 May 2018 at 11:43 pm #11380
Thank you. I really appreciate your reply. It’s nice to know someone who doesn’t know me can clearly see I’m being genuine.
The woman I spoke to at the benefits office today rather rudely asked why I’d left it between December and now to chase it up … no airs and graces I told her because they’d clearly stopped my claim and didn’t feel they needed to deal with me and because it was causing so much stress to the point I even considered taking my own life because I thought the kids would have a better life with their dad who could provide for the better, financially!
I’m reaching a point now where I’m just tempted to tell them to shove it and try get some overtime at work and suffer the consequences next year should HMRC say they’ve overpaid my tax credits because of my increased income. They’re clearly just trying to do what they can not to pay me when this is all brought on from failings on their part.