I've recently been hit with rent arrears bill, although my ESA wasn't stopped. Is this right? — Scope | Disability forum

I've recently been hit with rent arrears bill, although my ESA wasn't stopped. Is this right?

kk34
kk34 Member Posts: 3 Listener
Hi, I am in receipt of esa support group & pip - in nov 2019 my HB was stopped as my pip stopped for an assessment, because of covid,I didn't get an appointment until May 2020 & pip was reinstated , I have recently been hit with a rent arrears bill of almost £10,000 although my esa was not stopped..is this right?

Comments

  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    Wow that's a lot of arrears to have to deal with! I've had a situation with hb in the past and mine was stopped because they were told my esa was stopped which it had been by mistake anyway the esa got put back into payment in 2 weeks and had arrears paid to me.... I later however found out that the housing benefit people didn't know it was put back into payment and because I didn't contact them to tell them the situation they just stopped my claim! I assumed they found out it stopped so they would know it was restarted? But nope!
    I was able to prove I was on esa for the whole period using bank statements  and a letter from esa saying the dates I've been receiving esa and it was eventually cleared thank goodness! So maybe its the same here? They have been told you are no longer getting the same money /income so it's been stopped? I hope it is something that simple and you manage to get it sorted out! Probably just confused things more (hope not) but thought maybe it could be similar? ☺️👍
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,351 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 29
    Exactly as Emily says, it sounds as if your HB was suspended and never restarted because you didn't keep them informed of your circumstances. You need to speak to your Housing Benefits office. Provided you continued to receive income based ESA throughout you should be able to get it reinstated.

    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,376 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @KK34 and weclome to the community.

    I am surprised that you have not heard anything previous to this, however I have known it to happen and the amount of stress it can produce, so I hope you are managing to cope.

    As mentioned above hopefully it is something that can easily be resolved. As well as speaking to the housing benefit team I would strongly suggest speaking to your landlord as soon as possible, if you have not done so already. Whilst it is easy to get angry and start shouting at them please don't do so. It does not put you into the mind state to take in what is being said, and sets up an adversarial relationship between you that won't help you in the long run. 

    As a starting point to the conversation you could mention the above and let them know you are checking the housing benefit. The important thing is you engage with your landlord as soon as possible and let them know what is going on.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,429 Disability Gamechanger
    This is the trouble, and problem that benefit claimants get into by not keeping all the benefits paying parties informed or updated of their entitlement. It clearly states on the housing benefit award letter and all the other information that comes with it.That if your circumstances change notification is required so that your benefits can be continued or amended.. Failing to do this can lead claimants having to pay back overpayments.
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    @kk34 just wondering if you managed to find out what happened? 
  • craftyarts
    craftyarts Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Oh dear what a worry for you kk34 . You need to contact the Housing Benefit department and make a appointment to show them your paper work to endorse what you are saying is correct . This shortfall fall should then be reimbursed to you and all should then be sorted out for you . I realise is is a very worrying time for you . You can contact Citizens advice to help you fill out forms if need be and advise you of a advocacy service in your area , meaning someone will be with you to support your case which can be very reassuring. Turn 2 Us can also be helpful regarding benefits 
  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,414

    Scope community team

    Hi @kk34 and a warm welcome to our community.

    That must have been discomforting news to receive, to say the least.  Has the advice on this thread helped you better understand what your next steps should be?  Also, have you had any update since you first posted?  I hope so, but please let us know if you need any further support.  
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  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,414

    Scope community team

    Morning @kk34

    Thinking about your situation more, I wonder if Scope's 'Manage debt to pay off rent arrears' webpage could be handy.  If you have time to give that a read, it might hold some useful pointers for dealing with the arrears faced.

    Take care and hope to speak again soon.
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    Any news @kk34??  I know its none of my business really just hoping it was a misunderstanding and you managed to get it sorted out 👍😊 xx
  • kk34
    kk34 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi, thanks for replying, I've been working with the money hub but it's not really much help,more frustrating than anything - I have got my CT reinstated & backdated but because of a break of 3 weeks on my pip HB won't backdate it although there was no break in my ESA & pip isn't classed as an income but this has happened more or less every year (30 odd) I always found the money & paid it to stop evictions, this has made me so Ill that I had a heart attack & ended up on life support due to an accidental overdose as it affected my mental health ten fold.I think my last option would probably be to contact my local MP.
  • craftyarts
    craftyarts Member Posts: 19 Connected
    Oh my goodness, you must be beside yourself and I am so sorry to hear the predicament that you find yourself in and can see you feel very isolated because of this situation that you find yourself in at this moment in time. I would still contact Citizens Advice and see if there is a advocate group near you to support you to help sort this out with you , as the old saying goes two heads are better than 1. They can also  direct you to the debt advice service which could be helpful to you in your situation . I am not sure if you have worked and in what area but Turn2 Us are aware of grants that are available.  Maybe talk to your GP how low you have got ? Plus when restrictions are lifted maybe think of joining a community group to alleviate feeling isolated.  It does not hurt to contact your MP .
    I wish you the very best of luck sorting this situation out swiftly .
  • kk34
    kk34 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi to everyone that replied,  I kept the rents informed on everything...Jan 2020 I requested a housing officer to come and see me at home,which they did,everything that was requested,I provided,letters,my kids work contracts,bank statements- the only thing I couldn't produce was my pip entitlement letter as I hadn't had my assessment ( pip stopped 3rd nov 2019 &I got my call 11th May 2020) my ESA never stopped  - council tax reinstated &backdated but HB are arguing the fact that because pip was only backdated to 9th Dec 2019 - 4 weeks gap & I should have made a new claim , why? When pip is not classed as an income when it comes to HB & if i make a new claim,I'd be accepting that I owe this money & I don't-  I have contacted the mp but to be honest,not much use - it is very obvious that they don't read the entire email - I have received emails that they had submitted to the council & they wasn't anything to do with my case . It was saying that this lady was going to be evicted,her kids had left home & her property was too large & this was an urgent request to stop an eviction!! I am not being evicted,4 of my kids are still at home and 1 grandson, I  have a 3bed house ,so far from too big, I did contact the mp's office to let them know as I then had that extra worry that this other lady had now lost her home because they had put my name & address on her email - when does it end?
  • Geoark
    Geoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,376 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi kk34

    I'm sorry to hear about the health problems this has caused you.

    PIP is not counted as income, but like other benefits it comes with certain benefits that are not always immediately obvious.

    For example if you get the daily living component of PIP then your housing benefit is not affected by non dependents. During the period where there is a gap then non dependents do affect your housing benefit.

    As at least some of your children are of working age and working, as you had to provide proof otheir work contracts, then they are classed as non dependents and affect your housing benefit. 

    As the tenant you are responsible for the rent, regardless as to who actually pays it. The fact this happens every year and you have been in a position to cover it in previous years, should have been an indicator that something was amiss. Personally I believe it is always better to inform them of changes in benefit, even if you expect it to be temporary. Yes you may have to pay some rent in the meantime, but once sorted you will be able to either recover some, or all the money if the benefit is reinstated at a later date, as your rent account will be in credit. What you won't get is your current situation.

    Hopefully someone who knows better will be able to give you some advice,  personally if they are willing to accept an application for the rent during the four weeks not covered, and I don't know what the rules are, I would strongly recommend you do so. It would unlikely cover all the rent owed but would hopefully reduce it significantly for you, and remove some of the stress.

    Hope you get some resolution soon.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 3,351 Disability Gamechanger
    Geo ark geo ark may well have identified the cause of the problem. While your PIP was stopped you would have been subject to non dependant deductions which could have resulted in nil HB entitlement.

    I am puzzled. Your last post was in June, three months have passed, have you made no progress since then?

    Trying a local advice group to see to see if they can an advocate for you to local authority may be helpful.

    The underlying issue is that if the council insist that the claim was closed and a new claim was needed they would not have been able to accept one and you would need to claim Universal Credit for help with rent. If the claim was only suspended then they should be able to reinstate it.

    Do you know why there is a 4 week gap in your PIP? Normally following a review the new award should continue from the previous award.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.

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