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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am not sure who to ask, my contract finished end last October

Customer Question

I am not sure who to ask, my contract finished end last October I then spent 3-4 months caring for my dad (89) who fell broke his hip, had an op and on top of that had complications with a serious pneumonia case - my brother also came down at this point and he also had smashed his hip so was not able to do much in the way of anything to help me. I could during this period not look for work. I lived off the earnings I had made during my working period, however I have had no income since the end of October - money ran out, my dad helped me with last months payments, I have signed on, they are not allowing me to claim back to October, I am not even on the Jobseekers income part yet, so am allowed 71.70 a week - paid every 2 weeks !!!!! this comes no where close to bills and mortgage, the mortgage being the main bug bear. After talking to my bank as I am now in arrears with my mortgage, there are complications when an employer looks into your credit history I may very well not get a job until this is fixed, job seekers where not particularly helpful as there are other benefits including help with mortgage payments, I was not informed of this however I have filled in all the forms and I am sure a JSA3 was filled in re mortgage details - the site for getting help with these ie an MI12 form is a mare of a mine field with no proper guidance as there are several different MI12 forms, plus I was told I would need to wait 13 weeks for my mortgage help - I need it now !! is there anything I can do at all as apparently I was entitled to this as soon as my contract ended - so should be back dated ?? Is this true? Plus will it affect me getting a job !!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
HI.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

Why didn't you claim when your contract ended?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,



To be honest I had not thought about it - I had money in the bank that I could live off and my priority at the time was my dad, I have never claimed before as I have never needed to or been out of work for any length of time. When you work all your life it is probably not the first thing you think of - ive always been permanent worker until august 2011 when I went contracting.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

for jomo1972,


Sorry did you receive the reply as it keeps taking me to ano screen and when I enter my email it says it is being used by ano user - well its my email address I have used this service before -no idea what is going on...

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, its fine. I think there are glitches online.

I just need about fifteen minutes to type out an answer if thats OK?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

for jomo1972 - thank you that is fine I will go and make myself a cuppa. :-)

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.



Thanks for the information.

I can completely see your position. The truth is that if you are not welfare addicted then you don’t know the rules or your entitlements. Whether that will be accepted is another matter but its certainly the position.

A claim for backdating can be made at any time. You have to establish a ‘continuous good cause’.

‘Good cause’ does not relate to entitlement though. It relates to a good reason for not claiming expeditiously. Obviously if a person isn’t entitled to the benefit then there cannot be a backclaim or a claim at all.

I don’t entitlement will be an issue here really. What you say should be capable of ascertainment easily enough. Obviously if you had any funds then they may have knocked you over the threshold but thats easy to show.

The question will be whether you can show ‘good cause’ for failing to claim. Ignorance of the benefit rules is not good cause of itself. What the DWP will consider is whether it is reasonable to expect that a person in your position would know of their entitlement. Unfortunately this is where the greatest unfairness can be found as they will often say that people who are foreign nationals who cannot read English are more likely to have good cause than people who have paid tax all their life.

They will consider other things though such as your health, general circumstances at that time etc.

Overall, I would suggest making a claim and appealing if its refused. Its free to do and carries no risk from your point of view.

Some claims are limited to three months backpayment but sometimes they will extend to six months.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I understand that and I actually claimed with the reasons of having cared for my dad, my brother and a short spell myself in hospital, I am more concerned about what I am entitled to legally as the Jobcentre has not been forthcoming with all the information I require, I have received more information from other people such as the bank and HMRC (government Tax people) as I know I have overpaid Tax so I called them to see how much and when I would get tax rebate. I would like to understand what I need to fill in exactly for the mortgage, and would I get all the interest paid and would it be backdated to November and if there is anything else such as Gas, elec, water etc I can claim for. The council tax people were great they explained that they put through for November - as I had good cause, however, because of being over £6k they said they would back date it till Jan this year. Not so lucky with the Job seekers etc. Is there a way also that the 13 weeks can be brought forward for Mortgage payments at all?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I thought there might be a savings issue in the back payments.

Mortgage benefit payments is basically housing benefit. It makes sense. They would only have to pay for you to live elsewhere anyway.

I'm afraid that the truth is that back claims can never be guaranteed. I suspect it would not be paid beyond January if you had savings at that time even if you could show 'good cause'. If you have been able to show good cause in relation to one benefit then thats very helpful though and you could argue it would be inconsistent for them to take another view in relation to another.

You cannot claim for utilities though Im afraid. There are some restrictions upon whether you can be cut off by the providers but not with bills. There are things like Fuel Direct schemes that make paying it more manageable. Also, there are one off benefits like Cold Payment benefit in extreme conditions.

Obviously you are eligible for ESA almost certainly as well.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


for jomo1972, sorry I was on the phone to a company asking whether I was interested in a job :-) so yet ano going forward.


 


ESA is that where the pay is 6 month initially from the fact I had contributed - if that is the case that is where they have given me 71.70 from - income benefits I have been told would not start till September..


 


So basically I should go back to my providers and see if they can do anything for me - direct...


 


Thank you for your reply re the mortgage and yes I will argue the case for putting my mort back to Jan if the council tax has. after filling the forms online for Jobseekers then should the mortgage consideration come out of that? as I know the information was filled in on the form. My bank / mortgage people though have not had any forms back to them and they are the ones who are on my back re the mortgage - and it doesn't look like it will be before August before I see any pay for that... which is no help at the mo :-) as need it paying - how does the process work does it go through jobseekers or do I have to do something separately for the bank?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Im not sure what you mean about ESA? Sorry if Im missing the point.

With mortgage benefits, you are basically apply for housing benefit. I think you have done that already from what you say? If not then you will find a very helpful booklet here

http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/23384/Shelter_Guide_Housing_Benefit_April_2012.pdf

and the forms here

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/claimforms/hctb1_print.pdf

but its best to get them from your own DWP office.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you then I will take a look at those - but as you say I feel it is already in hand from the Jobseekers forms.


 


Thank you very much Ann

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You can always appeal an adverse decision.

All the best.

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