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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70708
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was charged an overpayment on Housing benefit back in

Customer Question

I was charged an overpayment on Housing benefit back in Period of Overpayment 30 JAN 2012 - 12 MAY 2013 during which time I was self employed and had earned under the minimum level required to pay tax. (About £ 7500 for the tax year) - I was hit with this overpayment but Tower Hamlets insisted that because they had seen a certain amount ( 1,500 a month before tax, coming into my account every month for 5 or so months, that was therefore my wage and I was liable for several thousands out of that 7500 before tax as a repayment.
I didn't understand the system (I was born here but lived in China a decade) and have now paid over 1,500 to them but in order to pay that it started a spiral debt (they were asking for about a quarter of my years wage that year) in repayments. Since then my debts have incresed, my marriage has been affected and all because they checked 3 months of money coming into my account and said that was my wage - but as a self employed individual, you don't get a set amount every month. I explained this to Tower Hamlets on appeal and they didn't seem to understand and hit me with the repayment which has almost, over the last 4 years, destroyed my life.
They told me I only had a month back in 2013 and then they rejected again but I explained it to someone self employed recently and they said I should get a lawyer. It was the catalyst for a terrible chain of events in my life, leaving me 30,000 in debt and having difficulties with my family.
I know little of law or if this is the right place to go but it all seems unfair. I work hard pay my taxes and yet I'm continually hit (I've been PAYE for several years)
Sorry if you are the wrong people but the stress of this is all getting too much
Kind Regards,
Philip Stanley
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have all my documents and proof that the tax year I was charged no tax by HMRC and I was supporting a wife and child - just to add
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I went PAYE during this period, about August 2013 but have already paid - Total Payments Received 1314.27
And now they are asking for an additional 557.48
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

I'm very sorry for the delay. I think it is caused because your question is rather long. Could you summarise it and I will try to help.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I was charged for an overpayment of Housing benefit on a house I moved into The beginning of January. However, not having even reached the required level to pay tax, the overpayment was incorrect. I was told by Tower Hamlets I had one month only to appeal. I appealed but they said as they could see UK £ 1,500 (before) going into my account tax for 3 months in a row, that was my wage (despite that payment only going in 5 times in a tax year) - I was under the impression that as a self employed person, your (tax) yearly earnings should be tken into account, not just 3 months. They said we can only see the 1,500 for each of those three months so you will be charged on an income of 18,000 (despite my income being UK £ 7,500) for that tax year. I was told no further appeal. It started a chain of effecys that have left me in debt and I wondered if there was any recourse to sue Tower Hamlets for this error?
Thanks,
Phil
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

For what specific loss?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
They wouldn't accept self employed people's yearly income should be taken into account and I've already had to pay £ 1,300 to them which was their error
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

Have they repaid?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No, because they claim I was earning £1500 a month as the bank statements I had to give showed that coming in every month, however That only came in for 5 months of a year, meaning my taxable income for the year was £ 7500 but they charged the recovery on that I was earning 18,000 a year
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

okay. So they still do not accept that they are wrong?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
No, they said that as that much money had gone in my account for 3 months in a row, then that was my yearly earning but that isn't how it works as a self employed person. I appealed and it was dismissed- having to pay them ended up with me borrowing money which has had a snowball affect on my life.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

when you say that you appealed, do you mean that you asked the DWP to reconsider or that you appeal to the tribunal?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
To tower hamlets dwp- I never went to a tribunal
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

If you want to challenge a decision of the DWP then you can go to the tribunal that reviews benefits decisions.

You have not done that. You have just asked them to reconsider.

I don't know whether or not you are likely to succeed but if use ooh you will end up paying costs because you have not use the proper structure.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Ok, thanks
Expert:  Jo C. replied 6 months ago.

No problem and all the best.

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