Tag Archives: benefit overpayments

Benefit Overpayments [ profit ]

We have been viewing a document recently, this document is from the Audit Sub Committee regarding benefit overpayments. Now before i start i want you to note something;

There have been current local authority members and past members who have jumped on this quick time, they have tried to tell us that we simply do not understand what the document is saying, however i think it is important at this point not to forget a vital point, which ever way you may read this document it still clearly states 2 very disturbing points, in black and white!

You can view the document for yourself HERE

Back to document, we accept that there may be points that we simply do not understand in this document and we would not argue the point however within this document medway council have identified the following;

Ovepayment recovery, in terms of the cost to the council, is not represented solely by the cash collected from claimants or landlords. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also allows categories of overpayment for subsidy purposes at varying degrees from 0% to 100% e.g. overpayments as a result of claimant error are reimbursed at 40% in addition to any claimant recovery. It is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment.

I would like to draw your attention to the last part of that statement;

” it is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment”

personally i find it disturbing that medway council council even identify that.

Another point raised within this document clearly states;

Why we need a policy
It is essential for Medway Council to demonstrate that it carries out administration and recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments efficiently and effectively.
By doing so the Council:-
• reduces losses to Public Funds;
• provides revenue for the Council;
• helps reduce the loss from overpayments;
• deters fraud and error;
• demonstrates the Council’s commitment to accuracy and provision of a quality
service to its customers as outlined in its Benefits Statement of Intent.

Again we see that medway council have clearly stated;

” provides revenue for the council”

Now we can say that yes this could be ambiguous however it does give rise to questions like;

1. If the council were to overpay benefits on a regular basis would this or could this be seen as a profitable income during these difficult times?

I am so outraged that im almost speechless, medway council can claim an overpayment is the claimants fault, overpay the benefit, receive a 40% subsidy and then keep all overpayment recovered! I think this is a total outrage and must be challenged!!

In times where families are bending over backwards to keep roofs above the heads of their families we find the local authorities can still profit from our loss.
We will be looking more indepth into this situation and meanwhile welcome views of those affiliated with this document.

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Medway Council Housing Shambles

We received information regarding some more housing benefit overpayments and with regard to the lack of professionalism medway council representatives display. Medway council are and always have been known to refer residents to their website to gain understanding of the benefits process and application, they have also [in court] made clear that if a resident requires advice they can simply refer again to the website. This is of course a ludicrous suggestion now that we know that the disclaimer on the website clearly states that medway council accept no responsibility for the information held within the website. An advice page which informs you that if you do not follow their procedures you could end up prosecuted in court and on the other hand medway council cannot even assure you that what they are telling you is correct!!!!!!

We look at a recent case of benefit overpayment, before we go into detail i want to make it clear that there are more families who are in employment claiming Housing benefit than their are those unemployed.

Right before i get on my soap box, These overpayments are becoming rather popular with medway council and they are becoming more ridiculous by the day. We have just been viewing a letter sent by medway council to a resident explaining that SHE is responsible for repaying the overpayment HOWEVER if you were to look on the rear of the benefit overpayment notification it quite clearly state’s;

if payment is made to a landlord– the social security administration act 1997 imposes a duty on landlords to notify the council of any changes in circumstances, which may affect the claimants entitlement to benefit”

The strange thing about this is that it also states the follow;

youare responsible for telling us about a change in circumstances”!

Yes, yes silly i know but what did you really expect, but there is a point to this!
The point being if you did go to the medway council website to get advice regarding a change in circumstances they make absolutely no reference to the comment above [also shown in the photo below].

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[please click on picture to enlarge]

seems to us that medway council are relying on the fact that you will not refer to the conditions on the back of the notices.

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The £12,500 per month overpayment!

Good morning, today we would like to inform you of the horrendous benefit errors made by Medway Council. What we are about to tell you is on a public document and has been gathered via a freedom of information request. Back in november 2011 a gentleman put a freedom of information request to Medway council concerning benefit overpayments in a one year period. The period concerned was between january 2009 to january 2010. The gentleman concerned enquired about official error, for those of you who are not familiar with the term it simply means error of the council and not that if the claimant. Below is the extract from the FOI:

Dear Medway Council,

With ref to Housing and council tax benefit over payments,Please
could you give the total amounts for the period of jan 2009 to jan
2010 for the following;

1. Total in £s {pounds} of housing benefit over paid which amounted
to official error. ie not due to the error of the claimant.

2. Total in £s {pounds} of Council Tax Benefit over paid which
amounted to official error. ie not due to claimant error.

3. Total amount of HBCT Benefit recovered due to official error.

Yours faithfully,
DT

So its a fair enough question, he simply wanted to know to what extent the council had failed to calculate housing benefit and council tax benefit using their very own method of calculation. So you can just imagine how shocked we were to find out that the errors in the councils calculations amounted to almost £13,000 per MONTH !!

Here i the response to the FOI below:

Dear Mr *********

Request for Information Reference Number:Â Â RFI/4940

Thank you for your request for information which we received on 20
November 2011.

The information you have requested is as follows:

1. Total in £s {pounds} of housing benefit over paid which amounted to
official error. ie not due to the error of the claimant.

Gross amount created 1/4/09 to 31/12/09 i.e. before offseting
by any underpayments was £114,277

2. Total in £s {pounds} of Council Tax Benefit over paid which amounted
to official error. ie not due to claimant error.

Gross amount created 1/4/09 to 31/12/09 i.e. before offseting
by any underpayments was £9,324

3. Total amount of HBCT Benefit recovered due to official error.

HB – Unable to answer as not recorded separately to all other
types of overpayment

CTB – Unable to answer as not recorded separately.
Overpayments are debited back to the council tax account and recovered
as part of all council tax liabilities

If you are unhappy with the information we have provided or wish to
complain about any other issue regarding the Freedom of Information Act
2000 please see the attached handout ‘Request for Information Complaints
Procedures’.

For further information on the Freedom of Information 2000, the exemptions
and how requests are dealt with, you can log onto the Medway Council
website at http://www.medway.gov.uk/freedomofinformation.

Yours sincerely.

Jon Poulson

Jon Poulson IRRV (Hons)

Revenues and Benefits Contract Manager

Business Support Department

Medway Council

Gun Wharf

Chatham

Kent

ME4 4TR

Tel No 01634 333700

E-mail [email address]

show quoted sections

To view the request click HERE

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Medway council benefit fraud

We are rather shocked to learn that a number of convicted benefit fraudsters who have stolen more than £30,000 in false claims have been given 45 years to repay the money!

Shocking as it seems we think that this actually highlights the fact that medway council are more concerned with getting a conviction rather than clawing back the money.

Take a look for yourself HERE

If you have a story about the corrupt medway council then why not get in touch so we can investigate!!

Until next time ………

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Council abuse of rights and position

So Medway unitary authority are in their eliment, they have persistently hounded everyday residents and pushed them beyond all boundries. What does this mean for us then? Well we can be sure that Medway council will some how and for some reason cock up our housing benefit and council tax benefit for those who recieve it anyway.

So far since starting this investigation we have spoken with 49 families ! Yes 49!!!! All of which have been overpaid benefits within the last 12 months. Now for those reading this that feel its an easy mistake let me enlighten you.
Last month we found a document which contained minutes of a medway council meeting, this meeting was in regard to housing benefit and council tax benefit overpayments to medway residents, now this is where it gets interesting! Within the minutes we found that medway council currently view overpayments as a form of “income” ! Yes thats right a source of extra income. Now being rather sceptical we spent a month investigating the possibility of this being true and low and behold guess what? ITS TRUE!!

So how you ask?

Lets show you, when you apply for HB and CT benefit you apply using the forms supplied by medway council, once completed they are checked and verified by medway council, however when you are paid your HB and CT benefit the money comes directly from central government NOT local government.

Once you are overpaid medway council will identify this and inform you of how much overpayment has occured. This is the key part, MEDWAY COUNCIL although did not pay YOU the money they are responsible for collecting the money, money which DOES NOT have to be returned to central government!

So there you have it- benefit overpayments are a source of extra income for Medway Council. !!!

Click Here to view the document yourself

For those sceptical about this or those who feel we re wring watch this space as all documents and links will soon be posted.
Remember if you are having any problems with your HB or CT benefit from medway council please let us know we are here to help. We are currently dealing with many emails so please be patient.

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