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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector


13 Posts

Posted - 13/08/2010 :  18:57:49  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
Hello everybody!

My personal grievance with HMRC is to the tune of £4248.

I was on long term incapacity benefit (almost 8 years, on and off) because, and I'll be blunt (whilst hoping not to cause any offence to anyone reading), I went nuts. I won't bore anyone with the details of my illness or medications.

As I managed to reclaim my sanity and make my way back to normality, the lovely (no sarcasm, they really were) people at the job centre helped me look for permitted work, but instead they convinced me how much more fantastic Disabled person's Tax Credits were. They would be a replacement for IB, as I couldn't work more than 16 hours AND still receive IB. I had been on IB more than long enough to qualify, and my job was 16 hours. Perfect. They, and an agency that was also helping me, filled in all the forms for me and I started to receive my lovely tax credits.

As the people helping me had explained that I must (MUST), I faithfully gave all the details asked of me at the end of every tax year. They asked me if I received certain benefits, which I didn't, and I sadi "no". They asked me for my P60 amount, which I gave. They asked me if I received any other benefits or income and I said "no". They asked if the were any other changes, to which I also gave honest replies.

Roll on 5 years to the end of tax year 2009, and I made my renewal claim on the phone (as always, since my very first renewal claim in 2006 was "lost"), weeks passed and finally I received a letter asking me to send in proof of any earnings and benefits for the last 5/6 years. Well, why on earth would I have all that stuff still?

I called the number at the top of the letter, and was connected with a delightful (now I'm being sarcastic) lady, who told me I was not entitled to the money I was receiving and that she was kindly backdating it for a year so that I could pay it back. I argued that surely that was unfair, as I couldn't have had any knowledge that I wasn't entitled, as I simply fill in the forms/give the answers and let them work it out for me! I couldn't understand quite what I'd done wrong here. But that's ok, I would have a right to appeal, she said. Hmm.

Still not understanding, I called the helpline for a deeper explanation. Aha, I'm a scumbag fraudster. I should have told them that I was no longer receiving IB. And the way he explained it to me (as if I have been helping myself to something I had no right to) I "should have known" that I "should have told them" that I was no longer receiving IB. Because apparently, they thought I was still receiving it. Interesting, as there is no way that anyone working 16 hours or more CAN receive it. And no one working under 16 hours can receive tax credit. It doesn't say ANYWHERE on my award notices that I am supposed to be in receipt of IB, so how on earth could I possibly know that I'm supposed to be on it?? And when they asked me if I have any other money coming in except for that from my employment, or if I'm on any benefits, and I said "NO" then surely that means that NO I'm not getting any benefits?

I've been driving myself crazy, because I'm starting to feel as if I'm being treated as a criminal, when I really and truly believed I had given them all the information required. I'm perfectly able to accept that I'm no longer entitled to it now. I've been able to increase my hours and can now masquerade quite well as a perfectly normal person. What I don't accept it - If I'm not given some sort of timescale of entitlement, or a criteria, or am asked any questions about something that is apparently an integral part of my "entitlement"... How the hell am I supposed to know what I am or am not entitled to?

To be honest, if I'd known it would end up like this I wouldn't have bothered getting work and would have stayed suicidal on the sofa watching Jeremy Kyle and Trisha all day.

Thank you for reading my ridiculously long rant. I really hope someone can reassure me that I'm not a great big fraud :(

Kerry

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Ali M-W
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3558 Posts

Posted - 17/08/2010 :  17:43:18  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Hi Kerry - you don't need me to tell you that you're not a "great big fraud", because clearly you have been very badly mistreated and have done incredibly well to keep your patience with that vile woman who lacks the imagination to comprehend that the people she deals with probably have far more integrity than she does, and probably needs to adopt the stance that callers are all scroungers in order to justify how she treats them. The alternative for her would be the revelation that she is propping up an awful, injust system and she would probably end up quitting her job and racked with guilt at how she has treated people who genuinely sought her assistance. She's been trained and shaped to behave that way, and is a drone. Well done for not sinking to her level. Maybe one day she will gain some insight into how things really are, but until then, she will stay nasty, spiteful and employed by what is, by all accounts, a terrible, hierarchical organisation. Her loo breaks will be monitored, her calls timed, and every aspect of her "performance" monitored and endlessly criticised against ludicrous targets. Let her live in her own self-perpetuated pergatory, and don't accept that just because she sees you as a scrounging criminal that you are anything but an honest person trying to get on in life as best you can.

My own rant now over, I thought you might be interested in the info below? Forgive me if the paragraphs have moved around or the text appearance is uniform and hard to pick out as a different section, as I have just cut and pasted this from "Latest News", and it tends to go funny. But I thought there might be something you can use...




Tax Credit Overpayments and Mental Health
Alison, 15th June 2010

Receiving a tax credit overpayment demand is incredibly stressful, creating massive instant debt out of the blue, placing victims at the mercy of the ruthless, all-powerful Revenue, and often arising from official errors or inbuilt system quirks which victims fight for years to resolve. Victims report being treated like criminals by bureaucrats.

Suicidal thoughts, despair, depression, family hardship, relationship breakdown, intolerable stress, physical and psychological illness, loss of sleep and feelings of helplessness are frequent side-effects of Gordon Brown’s “Flagship” Tax Credits.

Tax credits, when they go wrong, bring court threats and life-wrecking bills and leave people physically and mentally battered. Imagine how much worse the situation is when the victim is already a mental health survivor, suddenly facing the added worry of either finding money they do not have for a debt they never created, or desperately seeking exoneration in a system where, by default, the claimant is always guilty until proven innocent, and the Revenue acts as judge and jury in its own cause.

For the last five years, countless claimants with mental health needs have come to Tax Credit Casualties for support, exhausted by the bureaucracy, degradation and injustice heaped upon them by Brown’s Treasury. It is bad enough that some of the lowest paid, hardest working families in Britain, because of state ineptitude, are forced to devote hours of their precious time to doing the Revenue’s job for them, painstakingly evidencing what officials did wrong until, years later, they are heard.

Yet to have to do this if your average day is already a battle against chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and debilitating illness is intolerable. We cannot hold people with mental health needs hostage to state-created debt, beating on a bureaucratic brick wall. “Reasonable adjustments” must be made to the dispute process so that people living with mental illness do not end up capitulating to state-sanctioned bullies simply because they have no more fight left in them. It isn’t fair, and it is certainly not in the public (taxpayers’) interest.

Tax credit policy does not match the experiences of mental health survivors, who report no let-up in bullying tactics – condoned by Brown – whilst their health deteriorates. Meanwhile, here’s what the policy says:



Mental Health

We will need a letter from a health care professional or mental health social worker explaining the mental health problem to enable us to deal with these cases. In most cases the evidence provided will be sufficient to relieve the customer from responsibility for payment.

For sole debts we will write to the third party and the customer to let them know that we will not continue with recovery of the overpayment.
For joint debts we will continue with recovery from the other partner…
(Ref: HMRC Leaflet ‘How HMRC Handle Tax Credit Overpayments‘)


The following excerpts come from the HMRC Debt Management and Banking manual:


DMBM555610 Tax Credit overpayments: Mental Health cases: Overview

Introduction

This guidance is for the recovery of Tax Credit overpayments where it is claimed that the claimant, or one of the claimants in a joint household, is suffering from a mental health problem.

These cases should be dealt with locally. The number of cases received is small but due to their sensitivity they must be handled carefully and sympathetically.

If you receive information/evidence about the mental health problem of a claimant you can agree not to pursue that claimant for payment. This is to prevent any detrimental effect or unreasonable distress to the claimant (This text has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000).

In the majority of cases, the initial contact about a claimant’s mental health problem will be from a third party on behalf of the claimant, such as from a doctor or psychiatric nurse. Organisations such as MIND and Citizens Advice Bureaux can also be involved.

Note: Mental Health cases should be overseen by a Higher Officer or above.

The Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) has produced guidelines which provide additional information and understanding about dealing with customers with mental health problems. These guidance lines can be found in the DMB Guidance Gateway under ‘Good Practice Guidelines.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DMBM555620 Tax Credit overpayments: Mental Health cases: Evidence required

The Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 defines a person with a disability as someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a long-term adverse affect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. This definition should be used when considering the effect of the mental health problem on the claimant’s ability to repay.

The evidence should include the nature of the illness and as far as possible, whether the illness is likely to be long-term (for example schizophrenia) or where the prospects for recovery are expected to be good (such as depression).

If the initial approach is a letter from the third party explaining the mental health problem, or includes such a letter from the claimant or third party, treat this as evidence obtained, see DMBM555630.

If the required evidence is not initially available, you should write to the claimant or third party asking for documentary evidence about the nature of the illness and its prognosis (likely outcome) from the claimant’s

community psychiatric nurse
general practitioner (Note: some GP’s charge a small fee for this service)
psychiatrist
mental health social worker
other healthcare professional

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DMBM555630 Tax Credit overpayments: Mental Health cases: Evidence obtained

Only in exceptional circumstances will the evidence received be insufficient to relieve the claimant from responsibility for payment.

If the evidence satisfies you that the claimant should not be pursued for payment of the overpayment(s), you should

For sole debts
write to the claimant and/or the third party to advise that the overpayment(s) will not be pursued
(This text has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
For joint debts
write to the claimant and/or the third party to advise that the overpayment(s) will not be pursued from them and ensure no further correspondence is issued to the claimant
make the following Retained note in Household Notes on the NTC system ‘’Mental Health case – decision to relieve [XXXX] from responsibility for payment of [£XXXX (original amount of the client’s share of the overpayment)] for the year/period [XXXX]. Made by (the decision maker’s name)’’
enter the same note on IDMS
remit any overpayment(s) due from the claimant under Type 5a (Hardship)
continue to recover the other claimant’s share of the overpayment (note; the Tax Credit and IDMS systems will continue to reflect a joint record and this cannot be amended at present)
ensure that any court entry is done manually, not through the County Court Bulk Centre (CCBC).
We need to remind HM Revenue and Customs that by statute it must exercise discretion, and write off tax credit debts for claimants who have mental health needs; to fail to do so is in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act.

We also need to remind our politicians that failure to ensure that policy is consistently applied is sanctioning the abuse of people with mental health needs, and will not be tolerated any longer.

If you go here ( You must be logged in to see this link.) and scroll down to the date shown (15th June 2010), you should be able to click into the template letter I have drafted, which I hope may be of some help?

Best of luck! Ali.




Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 17/08/2010 :  17:47:42  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
I can see the link to the letter isn't there, so try here:

Draft letter arguing for writing off an overpayment in the event of the claimant having mental health issues making recovery likely to damage their psychological health:

You must be logged in to see this link. (look on Page 2 of the discussions).



Also, for anyone wanting a draft letter for people who advised HMRC of errors in their award only to be held responsible for HMRC failing to correct them:

You must be logged in to see this link. (on Page 2).



And finally, a draft letter asking for an overpayment caused by non-return of a renewal letter to be written off:
You must be logged in to see this link. (second post on page)

Hope that helps you, Kerry! I know some of these won't apply, but they might to others...



Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



13 Posts

Posted - 17/08/2010 :  21:49:20  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
Thankyou Ali.

It's so nice not to be berated for doing "the wrong thing". The whole thing is actually a massive source of potential embarrassment, which I know HMRC count on, - I've had to own up to past mental health problems to friends and my employers, just to explain why I'm in the situation I'm in. What about the thousands of other people out there in a similar situation who don't even feel they can do that? Why should anyone have to explain themselves to anybody, just for going to work?

I haven't taken medication for a long time, as it made me feel so bad I felt I'd rather do it on my own (no doubt HMRC will jump all over that) but I've been considering going to the doc for a while now to discuss this. Maybe that should be my next port of call. I'm going to look at those letter templates, and go through them with my wonderful aunt and uncle, who are being kind enough to help me (again, something some people won't be lucky enough to have). I found this site after they had helped me write a letter and send it off. I noticed that the advice said not to pad it out too much, which we unfortunately did, but I will be following all the advice on here from now on.

In the meantime I intend to splash the TaxCC.org poster all over Liverpool, probably a hotbed of people who need to know about it.

Thanks for the advice, all help very much appreciated, Kerry
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 17/08/2010 :  22:54:05  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
Thanks for that, and for spreading the word that there is help available to others in the same boat, and believe me, it's a big boat. You're right - Liverpool has many victims, and the same is true all over Britain, with the Revenue even chasing people who have made a new life overseas. The misery and despair you have been feeling seems to be pretty universal, and anything we can do to support each other and score more wins for the innocent, and get this system changed, the better.

Being cast by HMRC as criminals and villains not to be trusted has caused too many good, honest people sleepless nights, and given that one the first Ministers to oversee tax credits, Dawn Primarolo, actually famously stated "Most tax credit claimants are honest", it is plainly unjust for the Revenue to wriggle out of its Duty of Care and lay the blame at the door of the innocent. Even without mental health issues, believe me, this "system" cuts people down to zero, just as the "system" has done with countless salaries, and we are on a drive at present to see justice done, particularly in relation to people with mental health needs, or those with disabilities or serious health issues. It is unfair to persecute people just for trusting the Treasury to work out their entitlements correctly. The powerful should be accountable, not those who have been disempowered and oppressed. The reason the Revenue and successive governments have not debunked the myth of the scrounger and fraudster is because to do so would redirect the accountability and blame to where it belongs - the rich and powerful, and our elected leaders. It is so much easier to blame us, persuade the uncritical public to subscribe to the lie, and then deny us the Amnesty we deserve.

If you decide to get your GP to write a letter in support of a write-off, you will be inviting HMRC to live up to their express policy of exercising discretion, and I would be most interested in the result!

Please do log on here You must be logged in to see this link. and rate our suggestion with 5 stars! It may well be overlooked as the Labour Link suggestion also was, but we can but try. Please, whilst there, search "tax credit overpayments" and rate the other two suggestions which say similar things. Thanks!

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



13 Posts

Posted - 26/08/2010 :  21:19:56  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
It's been brought to my attention on another person's thread that as I was on long term incapacity right before I started receiving tax credits I probably should have been entitled to them the whole time. The nasty cow on the phone didn't ask me how long I'd been on them - about 4 years, maybe more! She just patronised me. A lot.
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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



13 Posts

Posted - 14/09/2010 :  19:45:06  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
It's been about a month since I sent off my appeal (sorry - dispute!) form. Still no kind of answer from them. I have nominated my kind uncle as someone to act on my behalf.

I'm kind of wondering what I should do in the meantime? I know I should have sent off for my records, how drastically important ARE these to me? As I'm not really disputing information I've given them that they haven't acknowledged..

I'm saving some other bits of information for when they get back to me asking for more information.

Is it worth me getting in touch with DWP and asking for some proof of having been in receipt of long-term incapacity?

Sorry for the barrage of questions! :(
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Ali M-W
Mod



3558 Posts

Posted - 15/09/2010 :  19:51:37  Show Profile Send Ali M-W a Private Message
No need to apologise for asking questions! Please do!

I would recommend sending off a data request. It costs the price of a stamp, and there's a template on the home website (click "Home" at the top of the page here or go to You must be logged in to see this link.) which is reasily found in the "How to dispute" section. Having this info proves what you did and what they didn't do, and will help you win your case.

It would not hurt to get the DWP to provide evidence of your incapacity claim if they will do this.

Do also, if you can, involve your MP and your GP to write letters of support.

Do let us know how you get on. Good luck! Ali.

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.
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Va_Lerne
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



United Kingdom
2 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2010 :  20:32:43  Show Profile Send Va_Lerne a Private Message
Hi again (just getting my sense of where things are here)..New person today and finding other people caught in a seeming trap of TC lack of proper information.

I think it's a great idea to get a subject access, but where, what address do I get it from when it is the DWP JobCentres? And would this include the former Social Security, because only 8 years ago (?) they administered my IB and SSP claim because I remember sending off the sick notes to them. Also, our local JCP was closed pre 2008 and they were the office that took me on the Disabled Tax Credit scheme --who like Kerry recommended and with the New Deal urged this scheme. I found this information which I think is the missing link to what how I am going to start my hunt for the requested information of how I originally qualified for WTC disability element in the first place and how I should if I am interpreting it correctly SHOULD still be entitled under the "Qualifying Beneits and Fast Track Procedure". Here is the link: which starts at the introduction and gives good information about "prescribed Disabilities" then comeing to 'qualifying benefits & fast track". Those of us in 2006 (in my case) were brought on under this requirement. You must be logged in to see this link.

The other link which describes this 'savings provision' is found at You must be logged in to see this link. . Importantly, those of us who were on IB for a long time in previous claims meet condition A: Box A
Qualifying Benefit
1. For at least one day in the 26 weeks immediately before your claim, you were getting:

incapacity benefit (long-term or short-term higher rate); or
employment and support allowance for at least 28 weeks (including periods on statutory sick pay)
severe disablement allowance; or
a disability premium in income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit or council tax benefit, or would be entitled but are over 60.



And as long as
5. You qualified for working tax credit as a disabled worker, under either 1, 3, or 4 above, in your last claim and

• you renew or make a further claim for working tax credit within 8 weeks of the date your previous award ended
.



If this info is somewhere else, I'm sorry. I know I still have to find i.e. DIG for the information showing that I was on IB, but at least it is a start. And the information about 'what makes a person disadvantaged again is important revisting.A person is treated as being at a disadvantage in getting a job if

•They are, or have been, in receipt of a qualifying benefit or qualify via the Fast-Track procedure
And

•They have one of the prescribed disabilities

Best of luck,
V.
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samthe
Mod



341 Posts

Posted - 05/10/2010 :  17:59:32  Show Profile Send samthe a Private Message
You need to look at this:

You must be logged in to see this link.
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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



13 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2010 :  11:09:38  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
Hi all :)

Thanks for the advice and replies. I haven't posted anything on here whilst I waited on a response from the IR. I received a letter yesterday (a far less hostile letter too) telling me that they have looked into my case and it's my fault. I'm pretty damn sure it is not. They said I didn not meet the criteria for the Disability element and that I should have seen that I was receiving it and told them. As I was on long term, higher rate IB within the time frame before I started claiming WTC I did indeed meet the criteria. I don't understand why they keep saying I did not?
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 07/11/2010 :  11:45:18  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by KerryM

Hi all :)

Thanks for the advice and replies. I haven't posted anything on here whilst I waited on a response from the IR. I received a letter yesterday (a far less hostile letter too) telling me that they have looked into my case and it's my fault. I'm pretty damn sure it is not. They said I didn not meet the criteria for the Disability element and that I should have seen that I was receiving it and told them. As I was on long term, higher rate IB within the time frame before I started claiming WTC I did indeed meet the criteria. I don't understand why they keep saying I did not?



You need to lodge an appeal against the decision as soon as possible.

Then you need to find out which one of the tests for the disability element they think you don't meet, then tell them why they are wrong.

The dis element has 3 tests:

1. You must work 16 hours
2. you must be at a disadvantage in getting a job (which is satisfied by meeting a list of criteria set out in leaflet TC956)
3. You must be in receipt or have recently received a qualifying benefit.

Providing you got long term IB within 183 days of your original tax credit claim and you have not had any breaks in your Working Tax credit of more than 56 days, then you have satisfied Part 3. Your qualifying benefit is the disability element of WTC itself, not IB (that was only your qualifying benefit for the first 183 days of your tax credit claim).

So you need to find out whether it is 2 or 3 above that they think you fail to meet. They can't just say they don;t think you are entitled to the disability element. They need to be more specific, be insistent.

Contact someone like Taxaid, LITRG or CAB for some help.

MF2
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KerryM
Rank; Hector Tax Inspector



13 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2010 :  00:24:22  Show Profile Send KerryM a Private Message
Oh god, thank you. I haven't appealed against the decision, only disputed the fact that I should have to pay. Am I wasting time doing the wrong thing? This started in June. I believe there is only a short window for appeals too..

As far as I'm aware it's number 3 I don't meet - they said it's because I didn't inform them that I wasn't getting IB any more. It made no sense, as it would be literally impossible to do so whilst getting WTC. I panicked and asked to dispute.

I'll call tomorrow and dig more.
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missfroy2
Mod



298 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2010 :  07:44:51  Show Profile Send missfroy2 a Private Message
Firstly, don't panic.

If they are right and you don't agree with the overpayment that has resulted - that is a dispute because you agree there is an overpayment but don't think you should pay it back.

An appeal is different and is used where you think the decision itself is wrong (and if it were to be corrected there would be no overpayment). Sounds to me like this is what you are trying to do.

You can appeal late, so don't worry about it too much but I would definitely recommend you get advice on what to do next to protect your position.

As I said above, you don't need to be getting IB now. IB is payable before WTC, but some HMRC staff have got this wrong in the past. Again, get it checked by an adviser who will be able to get it sorted for you.

MF2
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