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Council tax and housing benefit

angnryanangnryan Posts: 4Member Listener
Hi, I've just claimed council tax reduction and housing benefit after living off a small inheritance and my carers allowance for a while, problem is before they will look at my claim I have to send original receipts for everything, some are online purchases and I don't know if they will accept a print out of them as they say copies are not accepted, also will they want my food shopping receipts too, there is no phone number for me to ask them either, any advice would be much appreciated 

Replies

  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 185Member Talkative
    I am not sure why it's any of their business what you spent money on. Surely it's about what you have to live on? I think you should check with the Citizens Advice Bureau or similar organisation to find out more information. In this country the data protection act should prevent them from being nosy and looking into your details.

    TK
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 103Member Talkative
    Unfortunately when it comes to benefits they have every right to ask these sort of questions. Income Related benefits and tax payers money etc means that inheritence/savings does affect means tested benefits and will indeed stop them completely if a person has over a certain amount. As you had an inheritence and are now claiming HB etc again then they want to know what you spent that money on. The reason this is, is because they need to check that you haven't spent this money in order to claim the benefits. This would be called deprivation of capitol. If they decide that this is what's happened then a claimant will be refused that benefit because they will be treated like they still have that money.

    @angnryan bank statements would be one thing you could send but you'll need to find out how many months you need to send. Those bank statements will highlight exactly what you spent that money on. For housing benefit and council tax you'll need to ring your local council to ask them. You should be able to google the name of your local council to find out their telephone number. Carers Allowance, i'm guessing you would have been claiming Income Support also along side this? If so then it would be DWP that you should ring to ask any questions. Please don't delay do this because they will want all that evidence by a certain amount of time, otherwise your claim will be refused. Hope this helps.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 185Member Talkative
    The whole situation regarding ESA is disgusting. If they deprive people out of what they should get there is no way to do anything about it. Due to a judge refusing to grant me disability benefits I was forced to live on minimal money for 18 months until the judge's decision was overturned and a new decision made. The disability benefit was then backdated those 18 months but ESA refused to backdate anything because "It wasn't their fault". The whole system is set up to punish those who need more help the most.

    TK
  • angnryanangnryan Posts: 4Member Listener
    Thanks everyone, as mentioned above I was in is with my carers but that stopped when I got the inheritance, I've only bought settees and a mattress to help my neck pain as I've got cervical spondylitis the rest has gone on daily living and bills, my only income is the sixty odd pounds a week carers allowance 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 1,351Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    angnryanangnryan,

    I am not aware of any requirements for you to show your current expenditure when applying for housing benefit. Housing benefit looks at set figures when assessing your income, and apart from needing to know about your rent (of course), including any service charges, no other expenditure information is needed. However, as Poppy123456 suggests, another reason they may be asking is to check what you have spent the inheritance on, so they can make sure you haven't used that up 'too fast'. If that's the case, then the evidence they are asking you about should be your past expenditure, not what you spend now.

    I can't advise so easily on council tax reduction, as schemes do vary depending on where you live, and your local authority can consider 'financial need' - which may be way they want this evidence. On the other hand, it could also be the same issue as with housing benefit - checking up on how you have used the inheritance. 

    I can't see why a print out of online evidence of your food shopping shouldn't be accepted. Firstly because it would be unreasonable of your council to require evidence that you can't produce. Secondly, because as a disabled person online shopping is perhaps an accessible way for you to shop, so discriminating against you because you can't produce receipts sounds potentially unlawful to me. 

    As regards food shopping, if what they are looking for is whether you are in financial need, then I assume they will want to know about all your expenditure, so yes, I assume they will need evidence about that too. It may be unreasonable of them to ask you for evidence which doesn't exist or which is really difficult for you to provide, though.

    Because council tax reduction schemes are locally based the best people to advise you would be the local CAB. I'd also suggest checking that your actual council tax liability has been worked out correctly, too. Also, because you don't have those savings any more, perhaps you could now claim Income Support again? The DWP will then probably require some of the same information about how you lived on your savings and what you spent money on (by the way, your expenditure all sounds very reasonable). 

    I'm assuming in this advice that Universal Credit isn't available for carers in your area.

    It's worth saying that even if you spent some of the money on things you didn't necessarily 'need', such as the settees, if you did it because you fancied a nice new settee and not because you wanted to get benefit again, they shouldn't treat you as still having the money. It's perfectly reasonable to want to replace furniture when you come into some money. As for the mattress, that is for your neck pain and so entirely reasonable.

    Will

    PS Topkitten, I'm not sure of exactly the situation. If a disability benefit is backdated and your irESA should have been more because of the disability benefit then you can get the arrears paid back to the same date. If however you weren't getting any irESA at all, because you'd claimed and it was refused, and you only claimed ESA again after the disability benefit decision was changed in your favour, you can still get all the backdating as long as you claimed ESA within 3 months of the decision to award you the disability benefit.

    If you hadn't made an original claim for ESA which was refused, and you only claimed again after the disability benefit decision was changed, unfortunately backdating is limited to three months.

    If you feel that you were misled by the DWP about what you should do or you asked them for advice and they didn't tell you to claim ESA again after the favourable decision, you might have to try to get your money back by complaining.

    Hope that helps - it might be better to start a new thread if you still want advice about this.

    Will

    The Benefits Training Co:
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    Lee Kempson
    Jayne Knights
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 185Member Talkative
    It all happened years ago. I had applied for ESA but was refused. I also applied for another benefit which I think got refused as well. Until I was classed as disabled I wasn't allowed anything except Incapacity Benefit. When I claimed and was successful they said I couldn't backdate the ESA because I wasn't, at the time, disabled even though the DWP decision was backdated 18 months. So many years on it would be pointless to try to get it.

    TK
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