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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello, I am a lone parent with one child. I moved from income

Customer Question

I am a lone parent with one child. I moved from income support to Self employment back on the 15th of January 2013. I was on income support for 4 years.
I let the Westminster Council know about the change of circumstances on the 15/01/13.
They immediately put my payments on hold, even though I was entiltled to 4 weeks of payment due to me going back to work.
I provided to them all the information and forms they needed. They asked me more information that they received back on the 4/03/2013. Ever since that date, I am calling every week to get an update on my claim and they tell me that they should reply to me shortly, that they are working on it, etc... Only now it has been 6 months! Two weeks ago, they told me they referred my case to the cost team and I should have a reply by the end of Two weeks ago.
I called today and again they told me to wait another 10 days as they would chase them. Like I said, I am a lone parent and started to earn no more than £400 per month. I have rents arreas and nobody to help. I know that I am entitled to housing benefit in my situation. Would you please help me and let me know what my recourse is?
Many thanks for your help,
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

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.

Is your question whether you can speed up the procedure?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, my question is what are my rights at this point as it has been six months and they normally proceed new claims in 30 days. Mine is not even a new claim, it is a change of circumstances. I understand that dealing with self employment claims take a bit longer but 6 months is not acceptable. I know that they have a time frame in which they have to proceed the claims but it is way much shorter than 6 months.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
They are outside of their target timeframe.

That does not mean, however, that the claim must be processed.

It just means that when the benefit is paid it will be backdated.

You do also have the right to make a complaint which would not be a bad idea here. That is most likely to achieve your goal faster than any other action.

You also might be eligible for a crisis loan given the circumstances that you describe.

I know that the DWP are taking a much longer period of time at the moment than they ever used to. It's not really clear why there isn't an excuse for it but I know that it is happening.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks for your answer.

Would you mind telling me to whom I can make a complaint? Do I need to write to them directly?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
You can write to them directly but you can also complain here

There are routes of appeal about an adverse decision but they cannot be used over delay alone. In any event, they will pay out in the end.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks,

this was a big help.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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Thank you for the positive rating and remember that I am always available to help with your questions. For future information, please start your question with ‘FOR JOMO1972’