Housing Benefit

For information and discussion about benefits
We are Carers to our Special Needs sons ,who are aged 28 and 25 years old .
We were sent housing benefit revision forms to fill out just before we went on a weeks holiday to Great Yarmouth. we completed the forms as best and honestly as we could when we returned home last Saturday a letter informed us that our house rent to the local Council had jumped from £15. pw to £41 pw.
Also dates were given that an overpayment which must be repaid to the housing dept £381.

I contacted the housing dept today[ Monday] and the person I talked to started talked about that we had been awarded to much housing benefit since April 2016.
I told her the letter I received stated the date as November 2016 ,not April 2016 she then said she would talk to the person who carried out the assessment and ring me back that was early afternoon . I received no return call meanwhile I suffer from heart disease and can do without worries like this ,but you can be sure if I have a heart attack whilst talking on the phone to the Welwyn Hatfield Housing office they will just say pass the phone to your wife .
I hope they sort it in your favour, and soon! As you say, not what you need.

Please make notes of ALL telephone conversations, names, dates, what was said, what was agreed, what information is still required, etc etc etc, so that you have an 'audit trail' ....not only is it very easy to forget what was said, but you may also need to quote it all back to them when THEY get muddled or prevaricate etc.

If you want to be extra sure, after every telephone call write them an email saying something like:

'Further to our telephone conversation of (time/date), with (their name), I confirm that I (eg, submitted the completed form on x/x/xxxx) and that you have agreed to xxxxxxx (whatever they said)'

This just puts in writing the content of the phone call, so they can't afterwards deny it!!! It's a total pain, but like I say, better safe than sorry.

In their defence they are probably understaffed and overworked, but that doesn't make it any easier from your point of view!

(As for asking to be put through to your wife if you keel over on the phone, you should be grateful they speak to both of you! Another irritation is when they are 'only authorised' to speak to a particular person, and can't speak to anyone else!!!!!)
First, make a "Subject Access Request" to the Council tax department asking them to send copies of everything written on your file for the last year.
Then ring the Carers UK helpline for a full benefits check for you, your wife, and sons. There are some really odd rules about who is the householder of the house, in some circumstances it is beneficial for a disabled child to be the householder for benefits purposes!! I have no idea if this applies to you, but you need to find out more - the helpline will give you all the information you need.
Thanks to all for you helpful feedback ,it appears our housing benefit has been reduced because our youngest son left college ,and since he is no longer a student then we have to pay more towards our rent .

Isn't it strange how what little benefit you receive they give with one hand and take it back with the other they informed us they will take £11.00 from our benefits in order to payback the so called overpayment
The Council housing office also told us that they had sent a letter about the overpayment and the fact we would have to repay it ,strange then , how we never received any such letter . only when we were TOLD to fill out new housing benefit forms and being honest stated our youngest son is a non -dependant did they send us a repayment bill .
Make sure you ask the helpline to do a benefits check for your son as well.
https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_ ... erpayments

Housing benefit overpayments

You usually have to repay housing benefit if you get more than you were entitled to.

How housing benefit overpayments happen

You can be overpaid housing benefit for a number of different reasons.

For example if:

you put the wrong information on your claim form
the housing benefit office makes a mistake when calculating your housing benefit
Jobcentre Plus or the Pension Service pays you the wrong amount of another benefit you are claiming
you don't report a change in your circumstances that affects your claim
The council writes to you if it decides you have received too much housing benefit.

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