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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I am due a HB tribunal on Tues 17th May re overpayment of benefit

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I am due a HB tribunal on Tues 17th May re overpayment of benefit to tune of approx£5k.
My case centres on the claim by my local council that I hadn't notified them of being entitled to and award of ESA medical payment at time I win an original appeal for HB claim.
However I have proved that I notified them within a letter dated October 2013, with necessary enclosures.
This 'mistake' on the councils part was only discovered in Feb 2015, since when my payments were severely cut and deductions made for overpayment etc.
Subsequently I appealed and after my second direct appeal to council, the overpayment has been halved. However my submission is that I provided and continued to provide all necessary evidence as requested etc.
The tribunal submission by council is based on the 'presumption' that I should have picked up on their mistake!
At the time of notification of my original award, I was recovering from cervical neck surgery, on opiate based medications and also suffer with other conditions (fibromyalgia & neural spinal injury) that effect my cognitive function!
In the circumstances I feel I did everything required of me, with help of friends and family to provide the fullest information and be completely transparent despite my medical cognitive difficulties and that I'm now being punished for an admin mistake made by the Councils HB department...
All my original housing costs were based on the original award, subsequently after the adjustment to award in Feb 2015, I found it almost impossible to cover overhead without accruing debts, with have necessitated my giving up my rented flat and living at parents as of April 24th 2016.... I now face the task of paying of accrued debt and now also potentiality of this HB overpayment that I feel is completely not of my making and flies in the face of natural justice etc!
Please advise of any points of law re 'presumption on part of claimant to check' award that could help with my appeal please!
Many thanks in advance
***** *****
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello Adam my name is ***** ***** I will help you.Just to be clear, they made the error after you had notified them?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, the error was made following full disclosure of all required information, bank account details, other benefits, my medical pension payment and the ESA award
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
In that case its not your fault. The law says that where an overpayment is made as a result an official error, in this case the Council, it can not be recovered.So you do not need to worry - its an official error. They didnt spot it, that is not your fault. They are the experts - not you.There is no such thing as a 'presumption on Claimant to check'. It does not exist, there is no proposition of law.Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In their submissions to tribunal they site CH/2554/2002, CH/4918/2003, CH/0240/2009, CH/2713/2006 and also CH/0866/2006 to place burden of proof on me and not their departments...
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Most overpayments of Housing Benefit (HB England, Scotland, Wales) (HB Northern Ireland) or Council Tax Benefit are recoverable.However, they are not recoverable if:It was caused by ‘official error’ (this means an error by the local authority, the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs), andYou did not contribute to the error, andYou could not reasonably have been expected to know that you were being overpaid.That is the law. Does that clarify? Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Only if you knew of the wrong overpayment would you be liable. if you didnt know then its not recoverable.Does that clarify?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the 'points of law' that they base their 'presumption on and their 'presumption' that I should have made necessary checks and been aware of 'their' mistakes don't hold in tribunal.... If that's the case why use this 'points of law' to base their case against me!
For clarity, I was not aware of 'their mistake' until they picked it up in Feb 2015.... Their submissions are all based on the assumption I should have been.
Seems to me it's my word and integrity that are being questioned here and they are 'passing the buck' for their mistakes...(which I did state in a letter to them subsequent to them siting that I should have picked up their mistake) I've also stated that I also feel that you need a high degree of forensic accounting ability to make sense of the calculations as sent!
I realise this could be construed as flippant, however I do feel the 'calculations' are not very clear or easily understood even with a clear cognitive falcuties!
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
If you were not aware of it then it is not for you to pick it up. If you had known and been silent that would be a different matter. But you did not.It was their mistake and you didnt spot it.Can I clarify anything for you about this ?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are there any points of law/case history that I can use to counter those they have used in their written submissions to court!
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Yes under the Regulations I cited above. Indeed the cases they mention are only relevant when you KNOW about the mistake and do nothing about it. So they can be distinguished.Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thank you, ***** ***** gives me something to build a verbal testimony on!
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
If I could invite you to rate my answer before you go today please, otherwise the site does not credit me for the time spent with you today. Thanks and good luck. Alex
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