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UC over payment of £14k help

u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
edited July 4 in Universal Credit
I used to get wtc against a part time job and self employed income on the side. Lost my job May 20 due to stroke and commenced se after 2 months off. CAB told me to apply UC. I rent a property and have a flat I was trying to sell. I listed the flat for sale in August, let go of tenants, paid Council tax on it being empty handed keys into estate agent, reduced the price etc. DM 1 had a lengthy discussion accepted it as discounted capital. She was made aware it has been in the market in 2015/16 but since Oct 17 had tenants in as gave up all attempts to sell as I had lost my job so couldn’t obtain a mortgage to buy something else so was futile selling. I was on WTC at that time. No you asked me about the flat again. In May they awarded me lcwra after a ten month delay. In June I was asked a couple of questions on the journal re the flat which I replied to saying price was reduced further and cosmetic repairs done. A few viewings etc. Then DM 2 says we’ve decided we shouldn’t have paid you UC since jan 21 we were meant to review the flat as capital in jan sorry the review is 6 months late. I protest asking if I’m meant to pay it all back snd saying that can’t be right so ask for MR. DM 3 comes along says we stick by what we said in Decision 2 we should NEVER have discounted it as capital we shouldn’t have paid you UC since June 20!!! Then they closed clsim and want £13700 back. But DM 2 didn’t dispute DM 1 she called it a change in circumstances and used jan 21 NOT june 20?! Also I could have just stayed on wtc as lost my job but still had se income and was only without se income for 12 weeks. Since read could have had 28 break in working and stayed on wtc. Can I backdate wtc claim as should never have been put on UC. Can UC do this they claim original DM did not have the info on form a64 that property had been for sale in 2015 but clearly they did because it is mentioned as evidence elsewhere in the decision and That fact is clearly stated on it. I only filled out ONE A64 a and had lengthy discussion with 1st DM.
I am out of mind as what to do.

Replies

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,173 Pioneering
    edited July 3
    You cannot get back on Tax Credits having claimed UC. No one ‘put you’ on UC, you applied for it and the application ended your Tax Credits.

    The Mandatory Reconsideration Notice should explain your appeal rights to take the decision to tribunal.

    The rules allow for a property that is up for sale to be disregarded for six months, or longer if DWP consider it reasonable to do so. Unfortunately, if the property was tenanted at the time you applied for UC and not up for sale I think it probably should not have been disregarded. More unfortunately even if DWP have made a mistake the law says that any overpayment of UC is recoverable,


    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    It wasn’t tenanted at the time I applied. I put it up for sale because I had had a stroke and couldn’t deal with renting it as I live 400 miles away from the property
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    I cannot or could not use it to generate money. It was empty untenanted and put up for sale at estate agent.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    sorry sorry just checked I applied uc in July and it was backdated to June and it was July it was relisted for sale at estate agent it took a month to get paperwork in order and make arrangements as I was very unwell after the stroke it wasn’t august everything happened July. There were no tenants in it as it had already been empty due to Covid.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,173 Pioneering
    edited July 4
    u08cad said:
    sorry sorry just checked I applied uc in July and it was backdated to June and it was July it was relisted for sale at estate agent it took a month to get paperwork in order and make arrangements as I was very unwell after the stroke it wasn’t august everything happened July. There were no tenants in it as it had already been empty due to Covid.
    In which case it would appear to meet the conditions for a disregard for at least six months which would get you to January 2021. At they point they have discretion to extend the disregard. I don't think the fact that it was previously on the market in 2015 is relevant if it has been off the market in between.

    So, If you haven't had a Mandatory Reconsideration then you need to request one. If you have had a Mandatory Reconsideration, then you need to appeal to a tribunal.

    Review all the information you have regarding the history of the property and your efforts to sell it. If you have anything you haven't yet given to DWP then include as extra information.


    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    I’ve done all that. I’m just looking for some hope that Tribunal will see sense and that the system and Tribunal system works and doesn’t take forever. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,588 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s not a matter of whether the tribunal see sense etc. It’s a case of you making a successful case; getting your chronology clear and making a coherent case. It should also be borne in mind that if an appeal fails DWP have discretion to not recover and some of what you describe suggests the beginnings of an argument for them to exercise that here.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    That is easy to say when you aren’t the one tired of fighting the system. They wouldn’t even let me upload any evidence on my journal re the MR. There is a clear chronological argument and there always has been. But being a tired single mum who had a stroke and trying to recover and who is lwcra and is now worrying about what to live off until this gets as far as a tribunal is not easy. It’s not like I can demand that someone buys the flat tomorrow and pays for it tomorrow. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,588 Disability Gamechanger
    You aren’t “fighting the system”. This is a piece of law which has existed since around 1966 and been adapted as new benefits come along. The tribunal system is independent and there to assist but there’s no gain from speed here. Recovery should cease as soon as you appeal anyway. Go get advice instead of worrying about what to claim in the interim. See https://advicelocal.uk Gettimg advice and representation is absolutely ideal for your circumstances and will help take the strain and worry away.

    In terms of uploading evidence I’m with UC to some extent. They have to limit what gets uploaded because people would both upload all sorts of irrelevance like their next medical appointment and the system then becomes wide open to spam and malware. Right now you can put together a coherent submission for the tribunal and accompany that with all your evidence. You should also be approaching UC regardless with an argument about them using their discretion to not recover based around your health issues and their impact on these events.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    I am seeking advice from all places which is why I came here. But clearly this is not the place to look for advice or support. It is ‘fighting the system’ when I have done nothing wrong. I sought extensive advice regarding this issue so I claimed the correct benefit and didn’t breach any rules. When 3 separate decision makers have made three separate decisions and arrived at three separate decisions and this may have cost you £14000 plus put my mental health down the pan and threat of survival of what myself and my 6 year old son will now live off them yes it does feel very much like fighting the system. And they wonder why uc claimants commit suicide and end up unwell. Forgive me for not using the correct turn of phrase for you. It feels like a fight to me. It’s not like I have committed benefit fraud. I have followed what UC asked and advised me to do. And forgive me for worrying. When you’ve walked a mile in my shoes then you can tell me not to worry. Thanks anyway.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    And I have done another MR against the repayment decision. It is the capital decision which is now at Tribunal. But I have no faith that they care about the impact. 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Hello @u08cad

    Welcome to the community, I hope you are well.

    I'm sorry to hear that you suffered a stroke, how is your recovery from that going? Have you received all the support you need from medical professionals after the event?

    How is your son doing at the minute? Do you receive any support from any loved one to help you during these challenging times?

    It appears as though everything you've been through has had an impact on your mental health, do you receive any support from your GP to effectively manage it? It's important that you look after your mental well-being and I hope you have coping techniques in place to help you during rough moments.

    I'm sorry to hear that you aren't happy with the advice offered by other users, it's important to note that sometimes words read through an online forum can often come across differently than they are intended. I'm sure that nobody here wants to upset you and we all want the best for you.
    Online Community Coordinator

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  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Thank you. I am struggling and actively ‘in crisis’ as the gp out it. Running the Merry go round of appeals, paperwork etc is incredibly stressful. Not to mention many other things in life which have gone to tribunal this year and my little dog being mauled two weeks ago and the owner refusing to pay the vet bills. It feels like life is one big battle. I wish people would choose their words more carefully. It is bad enough UC trying to lay blame at my door when I have been open and honest about the property from day 1. And being misadvised to claim UC by various benefit advisors including UC themselves is vastly different from ME CHOOSING a course of foolhardy action thus causing the problem myself which is completely different. Being told someone has backdated a decision by a year and making you question your own sanity and leaving a single parent with no life line is horrific and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I have no relatives who support me with my son and his dad also lives 400 miles away and owes £5k in child maintenance arrears. I was hoping somebody else could shed any light on whether such a huge overpayment that I have not caused and to which no new information has been provided to the DM is valid, whether they are likely to waive it and if the fact they reviewed a decision 6 months late is valid. It seems there is a lot of jargon as to whether a decision is a supercession or supercedes a decision or is a review and what that means for dates. But I guess that is quite technical info that will have to wait for a tribunal.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,160 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there 

    I am really sorry for everything you are going through 

    I can't give you any advice related to your over payment issue far too complex for me 

    But I can empathise being a single mum and in past close to becoming homeless and my sons dad not having contributed a penny in maintenance or having no part in his life 

    Things are lots better now 4 year's on 

    Have faith it will come good 

    Usually around if you just want to rant 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    edited July 4
    Hi @u08cad

    Thanks for your reply.

    Sorry to hear you're in Crisis, but I'm glad at least that you have support from your GP. Do ensure you speak with them or the Crisis team if you ever feel as though your mental health is becoming difficult to manage. Furthermore, Mind have lots of useful resources that can help a person in crisis such as yourself, this page of coping methods for example is always really helpful.

    A couple of other places you could contact should you need support:
    • Samaritans, who you can contact any time on 116 123
    • The Shout text service, which you can access by texting "Shout" to 85258

    How is your child coping at the minute? Are they okay? 

    I'm sorry to hear about what happened to your dog, that sounds awful. You clearly have a lot going on at the moment, please ensure you try and find some time to relax and do something you enjoy, it's so important in order to relive some of the pressure you're under.

    Do get in touch with us at [email protected] if you want to chat further about anything, or if you'd like us to explore what local support we could find for you.

    It might be worth contacting your local Welfare Rights, or seeking some help through Advice Local, for your benefit concerns. 
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  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    My child is as ok as can be when money is so tight. I had just had to cancel his football and Beavers and any idea of getting to Scotland to visit his Dad or sort the flat due to my health and the vet bills then this. He knows to finish everything on his plate because we simply cannot waste food and he knows not to expect much for his birthday.  I guess at his age as long as they are fed it is ok
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Thank you Jane. For the last 6 years I have been nothing but resilient so it is not a wee rant for the sake of it. People really do get exhausted from ‘the system’ whether it is CMS/UC/PIP other legal matters/NHS.

    Things had just been looking up again after being dreadful 3 or 4 years ago and now this. No choice but to plod on xx
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,160 Disability Gamechanger
    Children can be more resilient than we give them credit for and accept change..

    Your love support and protection are more important than material things

    But I know how heart breaking it is to have to say no to him 

    If his dad wants to see him he should pay the expenses 

    Keep strong it will get better even though it feels everything is against you currently 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,588 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 4
    One of my two specialist areas is overpayments and has been for many years.  I’m in the habit of choosing my words very carefully thanks to ensure they are accurate. A lot of people really don’t like that but what you see as some kind of judgement on you is nothing of the sort. It is a determined attempt to get people to focus on fact and nothing else. 

    At the present time you need to go find an advice service to advise and represent and that is all you need to do. Seeking advice from multiple sources and especially online will not make things clearer and will worsen your anxiety. Seeking advice from a forum is also not going to resolve it. You are at the point where your anxiety and worry is getting in the way of making simple decisions like getting advice and representation. That is what you need now. One source of advice and representation only.

    It may help before you do that to understand some of the basics here.

    1 - it is open to any decision maker to look at the same facts and draw a different conclusion. There is nothing wrong with that and it’s not worth arguing about as it will go nowhere. It would be a very stupid and rigid benefits system indeed if DMs could not do that because then no decision could be changed ever.

    2 - if this were any other benefit then the argument you’d be having would be about recoverability and failure to disclose or misrepresentation. Clearly there is no failure to disclose or misrepresentation here but unfortunately that goes out the window with UC where essentially all overpayments are recoverable so you are left with the option of arguing they should use their discretion to not recover or a technical argument. Both of those options aren’t really ones to pursue by yourself. The discretion can’t be dealt with by an appeal tribunal as it’s discretion and there’s no right of appeal. You will lose your appeal unless you can construct a technical argument and that really is one for a welfare rights adviser.

    3 - hard to judge anything with UC but clearly the idea this was a change of circs case is likely nonsense. It has to be a supersession. Additionally there is no one single decision to supersede here. There is a new award and decision for every assessment period so DWP need to be put on the spot and asked for every single decision and consequent calculation. Their tribunal subs for UC are hilariously awful and can be easily ripped apart but only if you know what you’re doing. It doesn’t guarantee a win but it does add a little frisson to any argument for the use of discretion.  Being blunt, it does not appear that you have got to grips with even the basics of what your arguments need to be  so, again, go and get advice and representation. 

    4 - it does strike me here that there were periods when this property should have been disregarded, including arguably when minor repairs were being done, but that’s an argument about amounts recoverable and not recoverability and, again, you need expertise at this point. 

    5 - I’ve seen enough of these cases to know that for as long as you think you’re “fighting the system” or focus on how stressful it all is then you will be unable to focus on the very clear technical matters which need addressing and it will very much remain seemingly insurmountable and stressful. Put that to one side and focus solely on what your case is. At this point if you believe that your case is that they shouldn’t have changed their minds then your tribunal argument is going to struggle. A tribunal might yet decide that there were no grounds for supersession but that has to be clearly expressed along side other technical issues. 

    It most certainly isn’t that you’re fighting the system or that there’s some intrinsic unfairness in DWP revising a decision. 
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    edited July 4
    Ok I agree with some of what you are saying and not with some of what you are saying so just leave it there. I am arguing that it shouldn’t have taken them 6 months to review a decision they should have made in January. And there are multiple things about the journal that don’t make sense. Like the 3rd decision saying the second decision stands but the second one didn’t disagree with the first decision at all they simply decided that at 6 months it should have counted as capital and as per the rules. They called it a change of circumstance I was led to believe this was a supercession which looks forward but wasn’t sure if the effective date could be 6 months ago. I am trying to get to grip with the guidance but as UC keep contradicting themselves it is difficult to know what they should have done. It also made a reference to a form and said that they changed the original decision because they didn’t have access to the info the first time but they did. There is no new information they have missed out a huge chunk of facts and interpreted it differently. The overpayment is currently with mandatory reconsideration done verbally so again I can’t argue much as the call handler just raised it herself as my journal is closed so I can only call the helpline. The only local help I can find is Citizens advice I can’t find any other local representatives. Who usually take this type of work on? Are citizens advice able to handle this sort of thing because I’ve not found them great in the past.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    And incase you hadn’t noticed I have been very much trying to get to grips with the the technical issues. I have spoke to a friend who works with dwp and have read the CPAG reports and have downloaded a copy of the universal credit guidance but it is incredibly technical and like you say I have no representation because I don’t know how to find anything. The welfare rights page doesn’t point me to anything local just citizens advice and we don’t even have a proper local office and I haven’t found them great in the past. Judging where you think I’m coming from and telling me to get my head together isn’t hugely helpful because that is exactly what I HAVE been doing. I’ve successfully won a wtc credit tribunal in the past and a CICA tribunal. I’m just finding this particular one way too technical. Thank you for the technical points you have raised they are good pointers for where to start. But I will wear my badge of fighting the system because it has worked for me in the past and given me the tenacity to not give up and get to the bottom of what is needed. We all have our own journeys and the way I look at things is as valid as the way you look at them. But as you say the crux is in the technicalities which is what I’m trying to get to the bottom of.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,588 Disability Gamechanger
    I have not told anyone to “get their head together”. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I have simply suggested you focus on the issues at hand. I have no doubt there are elements of UCs behaviour which make no sense or are contradictory but most of what you seem to want to argue about is irrelevant and the complication of doing this as a lay person is that you often can’t see the wood for the trees. The fact you think for example that the decision was 6 months too late is neither here nor there. All that matters is what the decision was.

    As regards representation you need to go with what you have. If that’s CitA then yes they should be capable of handling this but if they’re not then direct your tenacity to saying so and demanding better. 
  • Peter99Peter99 Member Posts: 61 Connected
    edited July 5
    @u08cad
    I am so sorry for what you are going through but try to see what Mike is saying. Please don't give up. Perhaps you should try and read up on the circumstances why a second home should be disregarded for the purpose of entitlement to UC. Build up your own narrative and anecdotal.  Good luck.
  • Beesmummy798Beesmummy798 Member Posts: 71 Courageous
    @u08cad I can't advise sorry but I can sympathise with your circumstances. I have a 4 year old son and life is a daily struggle financially, physically, mentally etc. I can't even, at times, buy him diluted orange juice at 60p and instead he thinks it's his birthday when I do. So I def can sympathise on that issue. @mikehughescq is only trying to help and guide you, his explanations are both factual and to the point. He won't beat around the bush, he will get to the point. If you read his posts there's nothing personal that's directed to you. You will get good info out of it.
    Everyone is trying to help out in their own way x 
  • Peter99Peter99 Member Posts: 61 Connected
    @u08cad
    To give you an idea, please read the UT Judgements on capital/home disregard CIS/1198/2012, CH/1751/2012. 
    As Mike rightly said, don't bother about what DWP said. It is your story that counts and if DWP cannot prove you wrong, you WIN. It is as simple as that.
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Thank you so much. I will look up those judgements and see the conclusions that the UT drew. This feels hopeful now
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    @Beesmummy798 thank you. It is exhausting. I’m sorry you have these struggles too :(Yes I seen have that his advice is direct bordering on brutal. Rubbishing individuals and ushering them to find legal help which isn’t readily available when we have a part time CAB office isn’t hugely helpful. The guidance is complex and we are all trying our best to navigate it. Tone is key and when people are disabled and struggling, harsh words and criticisms aimed at what you are trying to do without offering firm solutions  tear people down not build them up. Understanding whether decisions are supercession, supercedung, the effective date, whether a decision is advantageous to the claimant or punitive are technical to understand. Given that these text boxes are a minefield to produce a coherent argument when you have brain injury or neurodiverse problems, a softening of tone would go a long way to help. Where as other people have pointed me to specific guidance relevant to the case that should be helpful and in a positive manner with no blame apportioned. There are ways to try to get someone to clarify things without making them feel more worthless and exhausted than they already do. 
  • Peter99Peter99 Member Posts: 61 Connected
    @u08cad
    The Government has deliberately and intentionally destroyed the Welfare advice system so claimants will have no where to go for a good and correct advice. I remember when a friend of mine seeked advice at Citizens Advice where he was told he had no chance of winning but when ahead by himself and WON at the Tribunal. 
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    It’s frightening isn’t it. The advice I’ve had from UC on a past issue was dreadful and I took their advice to apply for uC in the first place because I was too ill after the stroke. I’ve won a wtc tribunal and had to take a CICA clsim to tribunal. I’ve always won the contact arrangement asked for at court over multiple child hearings but after the stroke I’m not quite as sharp with paperwork. I feel there is a case here. Sometimes Upper Tribunals ignore the law in point anyway if it breaks natural justice. I will do some digging once I am feeling up to it. Just having two tribunal cases to refer to is a massive boost. I can’t view them as In not a benefits adviser but I’m sure CAB can. 
  • u08cadu08cad Member Posts: 18 Listener
    edited July 6
    @Peter99 I know the schedule 10 rules and it should disapply for 6 months with a discretionary period thereafter. DM1 took ages to make the original decision and there was a lengthy phone call. DM2 and 3 looked at it for five minutes! It’s the UC terminology that is really testing. There was a review decision which took place 6 months late which upheld the original decision but led to a change circumstances with effective date of end of 6 months grace period. Then a MR saying they had looked again at decision two and upheld it however the letter clearly shows they have not upheld it  they have suddenly superseded   decision 1 and 2 and not upheld decision 2 at all and withdrawn all UC ever. This is based on ‘new infomation’ that DM 1 would not have had available but it was because the info mentioned was on the original form given to DM1 and they even quote it. Trying to unravel which decisions are valid, allowed and can be upheld and from which date is the headache and  if the backdating of a decision is detrimental to the claimant is also part of  some of the guidance. I just need to keep reading the guidance and asking relevant questions to points I don’t understand as none of the UC advisors I have spoke to can understand my journal as it makes no logical sense as it stands.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 5,002

    Scope community team

    Hi @uo8cad,

    Firstly, I'm sorry that you're in this situation. I can imagine that it's stressful, especially when you've been struggling to access expert advice in your local area.

    I'm glad that you've found the technical pointers and other bits and pieces of the advice above helpful. Please do continue to ask questions as you come across other points you're unsure of. 

    You're right that minding your tone is really important, especially on an online forum. It can sometimes be difficult to detect people's tone through written text, and misunderstandings do happen. It doesn't seem as though mikehughescq intended to make you feel worthless, and his signpost towards expert advice is because, although the community is hopefully a good place to get advice and support, there's only so much our members can do and getting one-to-one expert advice where possible is the best option.

    This is a friendly reminder to everyone on the thread to be mindful of their tone, and to refrain from posting personal attacks against other members. Here is a link to our house rules, in case anyone needs a reminder.
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