Income support and Direct Payments

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xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 11 Mar 2013 04:46PM
Thanks Hurtyback, I definitely would have forgotten that. I'll make sure Mum (or my carer, whichever one takes it for me) remembers to ask.

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 03 Jun 2013 11:45AM
Two and a half months later, I finally have a response.
They're docking me money every week because they claim I have savings of just over 7500.

The /only/ way they could have come to that figure is by including my Direct Payments back account. I may have gone over my personal savings limit by a few hundred once or twice, but /never/ by fifteen hundred pounds!!

So my letter didn't help, my social worker's letter didn't help, some (excuse me) stupid idiot has made the decision that it's my money, my savings, and therefore I need to be docked 6 a week. Which isn't much in and of itself but it's not my money!

Mum's going to call them up shortly and try to get an explanation, and request to appeal the decision. Then we'll write to confirm appealing the decision. But I'm so upset. Everyone I've spoken to about it, both here and at the JCP, has assured me that it'll be alright, that I won't be docked money (or much of it) for being over the limit occasionally, for a few days. But this decision is absurd; I am not the only person in the country on both Income Support and Direct Payments!

Hurtyback

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 03 Jun 2013 12:08PM
Oh boo, I am sorry to hear this  >hugs<

ditchdwellers

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 03 Jun 2013 01:55PM
Sorry to hear that some numptie can't get their head around DPs.  You need to challenge this if you have the energy.  Do you think your MP might be able to help?

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 03 Jun 2013 02:35PM
Mum's now spoken to somebody at JCP who said straight away that he understood the problem, that Direct Payments should not affect Income Support, and that the decision was wrong. So yay? I've got to write to the relevant office and include all the info again - the letter from my social worker, and the DP bank account statements. I'll send a copy of my original letter as well.

I just feel sick with stress. It's taken nearly three months for them to review the case and make a decision - I'm not sure I can cope with another three months of uncertainty and stress. The decision is /wrong/ and I provided all the evidence they needed to make the right decision. I think you're right, ditchdwellers, I should involve my MP in this because to take three months to make a wrong decision after the evidence I provided isn't right.

Sorry, everyone. I'm usually quite together and manage to cope with things but between this and an ongoing issue with social services about care costs, I'm barely managing to hold it together at all.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 03 Jun 2013 05:26PM
No apologies needed, Sparks - none of this is your fault and I think you may well be entitled to seek 'financial redress for maladministration' under the DWP's own Special Payments Scheme. (Come back and read this later if you're 'up to the back teeth with it all', which is totally understandable!)

The DWP's own definition of maladministration includes mistakes (and delays), so you've got a good case here (I used to deal with the SPS claims for a while when I was deputy supervisor for the Income Support section).  You can put in a request for an SP at the same time you re-send all the other evidence - your social worker may help with drafting this.  It's important to emphasise just how much stress you've had (and how this has affected existing health problems).

Also include in your SP request letter a note about the phone call that's just established the DWP error:  ideally, staff should keep written records on calls like this (we used to do this, but unsure of how it works now that telephone enquiries are mainly dealt with by call centres, so play safe..)  It could read something like this:

"On 3 June my mother telephoned the department on my behalf and was informed, by the member of JobcentrePlus staff (name if you have it) taking the call, that my benefit should indeed have not been affected by the Direct Payments going into my bank account.  This member of staff stated categorically that the decision was obviously wrong and that I should send all the information again, which I have also enclosed."

Mark it all for the attention of the Income Support supervisor as well  >thumbsup<

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 04 Jun 2013 06:32PM
I didn't spot your response before Mum wrote the letter for me, Kizzy, but we need to write separately to the MP - would it be worth asking through him?

The letter's been posted, anyway, with the information the chap on the phone told me to send. Today's been a washout and nothing more's been done (care agency let us down so we've ended up with no care at all today, when usually we have two calls :S ) but hopefully in the next few days either Mum or I will be able to formulate a letter to the MP.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 04 Jun 2013 09:17PM
Quote
we need to write separately to the MP - would it be worth asking through him?

Certainly if he could write a letter of support to enclose with any other documents you send in relation to a Special Payment, it can only add weight to the claim - hope you find him willing to assist..

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 28 Jun 2013 12:51PM
And now they're telling me I've been overpaid by 385 over the last year and have to repay it.

I'm sitting here in tears. I was told on the phone the decision was wrong, I've appealed the decision, and now this has landed on the doorstop.  I've had no response to the appeal, I've had no acknowledgement that they've got it (although I sent it recorded delivery and royal mail says it's arrived), just nothing. So I don't know if they've denied the appeal or whether this is from the first decision.

In the meanwhile I'm doing my ESA migration and fighting with social services over care charges and trying to support my mother in her bad health right now, and I'm more depressed than I have been in a long time and I just don't know how I'm meant to keep fighting this. I'm so, so tired. I just feel like giving up.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 28 Jun 2013 01:05PM
Sparks - please try not to panic, the staff that deal with overpayments are in a different location than those who are handling your actual live claim (probably in another county even) so it's more than likely that the o/p bods are still using old - and incorrect - information because the revised facts haven't reached them from the benefit processing office yet!  Just disregard that letter for now and don't agree to repay anything.   If you receive further correspondence from the overpayments office, send it back to them with a note that you disagreed with the original decision, were further advised by JC-Plus themselves that it was wrong, and that you are waiting to hear the outcome.  It will get sorted eventually, hang on in there..

Monic1511

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 28 Jun 2013 03:18PM
Sparks

If you notice your money going down phone the overpayments team and tell them that you sent in an appeal on whichever date as you disagreed with the decision and ask that they stop all direct deductions until your appeal has been heard and deceide.
you could also contact your MP again and ask him/her why the overpayments team are trying to recover a debt when your in the appeal stage and haven't even had a decision yet.   >bighugs<

Monic

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 28 Jun 2013 06:52PM
Thanks, Kizzy and Monic. I feel a little calmer now (spent the afternoon watching the tennis and crocheting, and very determinedly ignoring the Real World). I know you're right, Kizzy; they'll just not have been notified about the appeal. But getting any brown envelope, as you know, is incredibly stressful, and I just panicked when I saw what was inside it. I think I automatically assumed there'd been another cock-up and the appeal had been denied, but it will just have been automatic based on the original decision.

My money has been reduced because of 'my' savings, Monic (ie, the DP bank account), but I'll have to keep an eye out to see if they take any more as deductions because of the overpayment issue. I'm not due any money until next Thursday so I'll check then - although I have to admit I'm struggling to even log in to online banking at the moment, it's panicking me so badly.

Thank you both. Sorry to be so panicky. I never used to be so anxious; depression is an old friend, but anxiety is new this year, and is basically because of this Income Support issue, and a social services issue, and first Mum's ESA and now mine. I get to every Sunday and I quote Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter - 'lovely day, Sunday. No post on Sunday.' !!

xSparksx

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 18 Jul 2013 03:07PM
Phone call from JCP today, following my MP's complaint to them. So, movement! The woman was nice, said that yes, it was a mistake, that they want to rectify it as soon as possible. But...they want my DP bank account statements again. The statements which I sent to them in early June following a phone call with them....

And of course *head against wall* they wanted original copies, which I sent, and I'd only switched to online billing partway through the year so some were paper copies, and I can only get copies of those by physically going to the bank (not easy, when I'm over-exhausted from the heat and shouldn't really be going out of the house until my birthday outing in early August), handing over 5, and getting them posted out to me, to arrive some 10 days later.

The woman said she'd call the Peterborough JCP (my regional one, I guess? It's where I sent the statements, anyway, with a covering letter) and then call us back. But if they can't find them, I'm going to insist that they cover the cost of replacing the statements AND postage, since I've already paid that twice to send them statements!

Edited to add: they've called back, and they have found the statements - still sitting at Peterborough, 6 weeks later, and nobody had done anything with them...anyway, the statements are being sent to the complaints resolution people, and they'll sort it out from there.
« Last Edit: 18 Jul 2013 03:13PM by xSparksx »

ditchdwellers

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 18 Jul 2013 03:13PM
Good to hear you are making progress, and I think you are quite right to ask them to cover your costs, considering your expenses to date and not to say the aggravation!

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Income support and Direct Payments

  • on: 18 Jul 2013 05:21PM
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...they've called back, and they have found the statements - still sitting at Peterborough, 6 weeks later, and nobody had done anything with them..

 >doh< >doh<  the very least that could have been done in that office was for the current 'holder' of your statements to enter a note onto the system that could be seen by call centre staff and other processing staff in the event of a query - just 'all statements recd (received) re DP' plus initials of holder would have covered it... and taken less than 30 seconds to do.  I despair of the way the benefit processing has gone now compared to 'on my watch'  >erm<  Thank goodness you're gradually getting somewhere with it, even though it's been a long - and unnecessary - old haul!  Look forward to the next 'instalment' ...