Tag Archives: council tax benefit

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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Selling you to kent police

So just when you think Kent police are upholding the law of the land and working in tandem with the local authority Medway council, you end up finding a real kick in the teeth!!

What do you mean i hear you say??

Well let us show you!

Some would say if you have committed fraud then you have broken the law, i mean once its been identified you have broken the law surley the police should be brought in to prosecute yes? Well according to a joint policy between Medway council and kent police , you are seen as a profit making machine for kent police! Just check out this paragraph extracted directly word for word from the joint policy;

9.1. Kent Police will charge the local authority the standard rate of £212.65 per arrested person for each suspect arrested and subsequently dealt with. This charge will include all costs for arrest and detention, interpreter’s fees, medical advice, use of audio and visual recording equipment, photographing etc. It will be the responsibility of the Area’s Business Manager to raise the appropriate invoices based on return from the Custody Inspector.

9.2. The LA will identify the name and address of whom the invoices should be sent to. Payment terms will be in line with Kent Police normal procedures. In exceptional circumstances the costs may be greater, but this will be agreed in advance with the LA.

9.3. If the police have an interest in the arrested suspect and also wish to interview the person, any charge may be waived.

For those who would like to see for themselves check out the policy here;

Click meClick me http://www.kent.police.uk/about_us/policies/n/n102.html

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Medway Council cutting corners

So here we are again! More problems with benefits.

Are you getting those annoying letters from Medway Council ? Those letters telling you they have overpaid you? Well guess what your not alone and trust us when we say YOU HAVE got a chance to put them straight!!

How ? we hear you ask.………

Well if we told you the correct sequence of events for overpayments you can then asses the way you were handled and go from there, if your still confused after this then simply email us and we will talk you through step by step to make sure YOU are not the victim again!

Ok here goes a crude step by step of what SHOULD happen.

1. Medway council identify overpayments made to you

2.medway council investigate the overpayment and find that you have been overpayed for one of two reasons;

A. “official error” has caused an overpayment (( official error being error on all parts by the council))

B. overpayment caused by the claiment ie YOU , maybe your information you supplied is incorrect or not upto date.

3. Medway council find through investigation that offical error has caused overpayment and YOU the claimant could not be expected to know you are overpaid ; the result of this would require the following to happen;

A. A detailed breakdown of your benefit account sent to you explaining they overpayment and whos error contributed to the overpayment. Medway council CAN NOT demand ANY of that money back!

4. Medway council investigate account and find YOU are to blame for the overpayment;

A. Medway council must send full breakdown of account and error explaing who is responsible for the overpayment, in this case YOU must repay the money.

So as you can see in the real world Medway Council will always and always have simply sent you a letter confirming overpayment has taken place and not even giving YOU the chance to find out who was responsible. They constantly request you start to repay this overpayment and in most cases take it direct from your benefit before you recieve it!

Why not take a look at just one freedom of information request that we have found regarding medway council HERE

How would you feel if i told you that some residents who have been found guilty of benefit fraud somewhere in the region of £20,000 have been given 45 years to repay that money at a rate of £12 a week on average!

Come on speak up let u know whats happening to you and lets fight them together.

Next week we will be interviewing a resident about his experience in court fighting medway council. Also dont forget to check. Www.whatdotheyknow.com for all new and interesting freedom of information requests.

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