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Tax credits problems

My family and I are having a very bad time of things recently. My wife has Diabetes and can hardly walk, our house was not suitable for adaption so we were forced to move in september. The housing association told us we had a weekend to move in! We are both disabled. In the middle of the move we got a letter saying my DLA which I had been awarded for life (full mobility and medium care) was being changed and I had to apply for PIP. Really good timing we could not find any records and had no doctors. I had to do the best I could hoping that by the time they questioned the doctors I would have had my records transferred to a new one. 


December 10th my son has a breakdown and ends up in a mental hospital, December 12th I have my assessment by Capita. I arrive slightly late having got lost, I can hardly stand and am giddy. I have the assessment, go to leave but am so unsteady on my feet the receptionist will not let me leave. When I do finally leave it takes me 4 hours to get back to my car, and I have collapsed into a cafe and had to be looked after until I was fit enough to walk 

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December 15th my wifes birthday, my daughter and son and her daughter sneak down from the midlands to suprise her and we all meet at the mental institute with my other son. Lovely day we had to leave the youngest son at the hospital but went to our house with the others and had a good time. About midnight we get a message to say that they are home safe.
Next morning we get an urgent call saying our grandson (who lives with us) is sick and we need to get him from school. So by lunch time we are home and the phone rings, our granddaughter is screaming down the phone, her step dad has murdered her mum, tried to kill her brother and then killed himself. 

Our oldest grandson was in a terrible way nose severed, smashed eye socket, fractured skull needed 200 stitches to put him back together, AND he had been shot in the back of the head twice with a nail gun. He needed 8 hours of surgery to put him back together. Our daughter had 5 children in all the youngest turned 4 the week after. Trying to tell her and her 7 year old brother what had happened was one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

In the middle of all this grief we got a letter saying I did not even get a single point on my claim for PIP, meaning I would lose our car and a large chunk of money. I of course asked them to look again (and was informed they could look at the DLA claim for medical evidence, but they never contact your doctors etc anymore). Again I failed. 

Since then we have been hit again, the TAX Office have decided that I do not work enough towards making a profit so cannot be classed as self employed so have taken away our working tax credits and our child tax credits, they also want us to repay £11,000 from the last year. They have reduced our money from over £800 to £6.

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi martinpaton,

    I'm so sorry about all these terrible events, particularly the loss of your daughter. I will concentrate on what advice I can give about your benefit situation. First of all, it sounds as if you have already gone through the mandatory reconsideration stage of PIP and not been successful. Do please appeal if you have not already done so. If you meet the conditions, you are very likely to be successful at tribunal. Do as much as you can to show what points you should have got and why. This PIP self-test may help.

    If you haven't already got a copy of the assessor's report, ask for one. It can be helpful to point out to the tribunal where the report is wrong. Complain if you feel the assessment was done badly and/or the report is incorrect.

    Please appeal as soon as you can because there is a month's deadline (usually from the mandatory reconsideration letter). I think you may well have gone past this, but just explain why you are late (the circumstances at the time).  For options on your Motability vehicle, have a look here so you can decide how best to use the transitional support package they offer, if you haven't already. 

    As regards your tax credits, you are in a complicated situation. Whilst you get DLA or PIP, you only have to work 16 hours a week to qualify for WTC. If you may have worked enough in the past (that is, when you were on DLA), and if you can prove that, you could avoid the overpayment. You should still be entitled to child tax credit for your grandson, but that may be reduced at the moment as part of the process of taking back the overpayment. In addition, whilst you are without PIP, you may genuinely not be working enough hours to qualify for WTC. However, if you were successful at the PIP appeal, WTC could be backdated and awarded to you, assuming you had continued to work the same hours as before.

    Without PIP, but with a dependent child, you have to work 24 hours to get WTC.

    I'd suggest you get face to face advice about both the PIP appeal and the tax credit overpayment if you can. Citizens Advice may be able to help. Actions they could help you with include:

    • asking for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision that you were overpaid, explaining that you were definitely working at least 16 hours as week whilst getting DLA and giving as much evidence as possible (eg business plan documents);
    • if you believe that you are working 24 hours or more a week now, explain that you are doing so, giving the evidence (to get you some WTC entitlement now).

    Recovery of the overpayment should be suspended whilst you challenge the decision about your entitlement, so you should start getting some money again, at least your CTC.

    Another thing to consider is whether you could meanwhile switch to a different benefit, for example, employment and support allowance, or carer's allowance with income support if you care for your wife and she gets DLA or PIP (middle or higher rate care, or daily living component). That is a difficult decision as it would involve deciding that you are not working enough hours at the moment (whatever may have been the case in the past). You can't get IS for example, if you work 16 hours or more. 

    I'm concerned (because you mention the date of 15th December) that all this happened some time ago so you may also need advice on making late requests for mandatory reconsideration (tax credits) and a late appeal (PIP). But because of the events that have affected your family, I think you should simply explain what has happened and both requests may be allowed.

    However that all adds to the complexity so please, if you can, get advice locally. Good luck! I know how difficult it is to sort these things out, especially when you have been hit by tragedy - I really hope you can find an agency to support you.

    Will


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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