Will I have to pay back Housing Benefit? Watch

cwd12
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Im 19, go to college, study A Levels, and live in rented accomodation (not with parents)

I was finding it hard to pay my rent so the college reccomended I apply for housing benefit. So I did.

Filled in the form completely honestly, then had to verify loads of follow up stuff, then i began to recieve HB. Only just enough to pay my rent, nothing else.

Now they have suspended it on account that the amount I earn is too low of an amount to be able to live off. (Well im not dead so apparantly it is?!)

They've asked for my bank details and are asking me to confirm loads of transactions such as paying out £500 into my gfs account (she paid for my new laptop and i paid her back) Or recieving cheques for £260 a few times (cheques were from the college paying for the rent of somebody i live with, that i had paid for them earlier in the year) Or just money coming into my account in general (people i live with paying me for there share of the bills after ive paid for them)

Its nothing fishy but regardless they believe it is. Is there next step going to be asking for the money back... because i will be well and truly F*****!!

On top of that I moving from this house soon enough and all my rent is settled (paid some in advance out of my own money) and this is starting to seem like more touble than its worth (they only paid about 3 months)

help please
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username457532
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I don't know about whether they'd ask for it back but you should try and provide proof of the money you've received or paid out: the receipt for the laptop in your girlfriend's name, the bills and any documents from the company/ies to show you paid for the total so you needed to get the money back from your flat, proof you paid for this other person's rent (and why, if possible) and that it was your college who sent it to you etc...
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cwd12
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(Original post by SmallTownGirl)
I don't know about whether they'd ask for it back but you should try and provide proof of the money you've received or paid out: the receipt for the laptop in your girlfriend's name, the bills and any documents from the company/ies to show you paid for the total so you needed to get the money back from your flat, proof you paid for this other person's rent (and why, if possible) and that it was your college who sent it to you etc...
thats where i have the problem with the rent stuff. i rent the house with friends not just a room. we choose to split everything equally but we could of easily split it how we wanted. the estate agent insisted everything was in cash at the start. i paid there share in cash and the reciept we have shows the total amount we all paid not just that particular persons rent....
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username457532
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(Original post by cwd12)
thats where i have the problem with the rent stuff. i rent the house with friends not just a room. we choose to split everything equally but we could of easily split it how we wanted. the estate agent insisted everything was in cash at the start. i paid there share in cash and the reciept we have shows the total amount we all paid not just that particular persons rent....
Could you get a letter from your landlord saying that the rent is paid in one sum and then you can say how many it's shared between (thus showing how much you needed to be paid back)?

On a different note: I would feel very wary of a landlord who insisted that they were paid cash.
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Joinedup
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If you do need to pay it back councils are normaly pretty reasonable in accepting offers of a little a month.

IMO though you should get in touch with the CAB as they'll help you prepare a statement of your personal finances that creditors (if any) and HB depatments will accept with the regular expenses (bills) split out from one offs - you presumably don't pay for a £500 laptop every month.

It's a lot better if you're talking to someone who knows how the system works, i.e. the CAB.
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cwd12
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(Original post by SmallTownGirl)
Could you get a letter from your landlord saying that the rent is paid in one sum and then you can say how many it's shared between (thus showing how much you needed to be paid back)?

On a different note: I would feel very wary of a landlord who insisted that they were paid cash.
It was an estate agent not landlord so no need to feel that wary. But true i dont understand why they insisted upon cash
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cwd12
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(Original post by Joinedup)
If you do need to pay it back councils are normaly pretty reasonable in accepting offers of a little a month.

IMO though you should get in touch with the CAB as they'll help you prepare a statement of your personal finances that creditors (if any) and HB depatments will accept with the regular expenses (bills) split out from one offs - you presumably don't pay for a £500 laptop every month.

It's a lot better if you're talking to someone who knows how the system works, i.e. the CAB.
Im not sure if using the CAB would be too much hastle. Im just a normal teenager with a simple bank account. only money out is rent, food and one household bill (virgin media). only money in is HB and ema now i dont have a job.

im not sure why housing benefit officers dont just call upon 2 or 3 brain cells and accept that the obvious is what is actually happening. stop conspiricsing!
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girlwithsharpteeth
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I work for a company that does Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims on behalf of councils and they're just doing general checks for fraud - don't worry. If someones income is below their "applicable amount" (the minimum the government says they should be living off each week based on their circumstances) then it sets off alarm bells and the person dealing with your claim has to check up to make sure there isn't any unknown income that you're receiving. To do this, they obviously ask to check your bank statements and any weird payments coming up of a few hundred pounds or whatever will look suspicious. However, as long as you can come up with receipts and letters from everyone involved confirming where this money has come from and where it has gone to (if possible) then you should be fine. Unless they have reason to believe you are lying they should accept these letters and a statement written by you saying about all the payments. I really doubt you will have to pay it back if this is correct. The only way an overpayment would arise would be if you have been receiving more income than they think you have. If this happens they will re-calculate how much you should have been getting and you will be asked to re-pay the difference (though as others have said, this doesn't have to be in one lump sum if you make a payment plan with them). Don't panic, just get together what proof you can and get letters explaining the rest - this should be fine.
It won't be that particular individual who has taken a personal vendetta against you, if they don't do these checks they can lose their jobs
I'm guessing that they know you're a full time student and are happy with this though? Most full time students aren't eligible to claim HB.
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The-Real-One
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(Original post by cwd12)
Im 19, go to college, study A Levels, and live in rented accomodation (not with parents)

I was finding it hard to pay my rent so the college reccomended I apply for housing benefit. So I did.

Filled in the form completely honestly, then had to verify loads of follow up stuff, then i began to recieve HB. Only just enough to pay my rent, nothing else.

Now they have suspended it on account that the amount I earn is too low of an amount to be able to live off. (Well im not dead so apparantly it is?!)

They've asked for my bank details and are asking me to confirm loads of transactions such as paying out £500 into my gfs account (she paid for my new laptop and i paid her back) Or recieving cheques for £260 a few times (cheques were from the college paying for the rent of somebody i live with, that i had paid for them earlier in the year) Or just money coming into my account in general (people i live with paying me for there share of the bills after ive paid for them)

Its nothing fishy but regardless they believe it is. Is there next step going to be asking for the money back... because i will be well and truly F*****!!

On top of that I moving from this house soon enough and all my rent is settled (paid some in advance out of my own money) and this is starting to seem like more touble than its worth (they only paid about 3 months)

help please
Silly you, not having a 2nd, or 3rd bank account.

silly silly silly..
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Joinedup
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(Original post by cwd12)
Im not sure if using the CAB would be too much hastle. Im just a normal teenager with a simple bank account. only money out is rent, food and one household bill (virgin media). only money in is HB and ema now i dont have a job.

im not sure why housing benefit officers dont just call upon 2 or 3 brain cells and accept that the obvious is what is actually happening. stop conspiricsing!
Having used the CAB - it's just the way it is.

get the CAB to state your financial affairs in their standard format and the HB believe it and go away again. Try doing it yourself and it's a load of messing around as the HB query everything back and forth endlessly.

I don't know why.
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chai wallah
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(Original post by girlwithsharpteeth)
I work for a company that does Housing and Council Tax Benefit claims on behalf of councils and they're just doing general checks for fraud - don't worry. If someones income is below their "applicable amount" (the minimum the government says they should be living off each week based on their circumstances) then it sets off alarm bells and the person dealing with your claim has to check up to make sure there isn't any unknown income that you're receiving. To do this, they obviously ask to check your bank statements and any weird payments coming up of a few hundred pounds or whatever will look suspicious. However, as long as you can come up with receipts and letters from everyone involved confirming where this money has come from and where it has gone to (if possible) then you should be fine. Unless they have reason to believe you are lying they should accept these letters and a statement written by you saying about all the payments. I really doubt you will have to pay it back if this is correct. The only way an overpayment would arise would be if you have been receiving more income than they think you have. If this happens they will re-calculate how much you should have been getting and you will be asked to re-pay the difference (though as others have said, this doesn't have to be in one lump sum if you make a payment plan with them). Don't panic, just get together what proof you can and get letters explaining the rest - this should be fine.
It won't be that particular individual who has taken a personal vendetta against you, if they don't do these checks they can lose their jobs
I'm guessing that they know you're a full time student and are happy with this though? Most full time students aren't eligible to claim HB.
Just quoting this because it's great. Fantastic advice, glad you posted!
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