Today is a good day, I have unravelled another mystery of the benefit system, I will relay it to you purely because it might be useful, and also it always helps me to let off steam by writing about it.
So, because I work and the DWP Income Support section takes so long to action the wage slips, invoices etc that I send in I have what is called an “overpayment” situation in which I owe money to the DWP. While I was working last year and not receiving Income Support for five months or so, the payments were deducted from my Carers Allowance, fair enough (though it goes to show how much I was earning as I was still eligible for Carers Allowance which allows you to ear around £100 without any loss of this benefit) so the payments were taken from that. However when my IS was reinstated sometime in December the IS started to take money out of my benefit to pay for these overpayments to!
So in Febraury when I discovered the mistake I contacted CA and asked if this was right. No they said I should only have monies deducted from IS. We will contact the Debt Management department and ask them who should be taking the monies. Message left on phone to confirm that no more monies would be taken of my CA. Job done. Two letters arrive in post one says that I am no longer paying anything towards this repayment the other tells me how much they will deduct and the dates they will deduct it!!!! They are dated the same day???? I assume the monies will be coming off as my benefit is much less than it should be and ties in with the figures in the letter.
March arrives and ……..you know you know, CA has deducted money again. Ring ring….
“Errr money has been taken off my CA again which I was told last month would not happen again as IS are taking it off.”
Nice lady on phone
“Oh yes, I see the notes, they did phone us but they didn’t confirm in writing.”
“But I received a phone call saying that it had all been sorted, someone from your department.”
At which point I knew that what she had said was a blatant lie because she said that she would sort it. I stupidly asked who would reimburse me.
Phone call to CA again yes money was incorrectly taken off, no they will not reimburse. Is this legal??? All the forms you send out say that I receive such and such an amount which is what the government states I need to live on???
Another nice lady on phone.
“You will have to ask the Debt Management team they tell us how much to take off.”
Phone call to Debt Manangement team. Nice lady on phone.
“No monies have been taken out of IS only CA.”
“Oh that seems odd because it is quite a low amount, surely they should only take off the CA that I acutally receive not what I should receive.”
“No they don’t calculate it like that, it is calculated as what you should receive.”
To me this just doesn’t sound logical…….and that is my problem…..I let logic come into the equation. But now I am like a dog with a bone and I go to the IS department and ask them how my benefit is calculated. They confirm what the Debt Management has said, but I say, surely if I have had money taken off my CA then the figure that you are working with in incorrect. Well it must be because you owe money to the CA for overpayments, no, says I, just IS has been for a long time. Well then yes, says the nice man, I will contact them and ask them why they never told us that they were taking this money off so that we can get an accurate figure.