Tag Archives: housing benefits

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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CECO complaint after thought

Whilst taking some time to re-evaluate the whole CECO business we thought that there must be some more weight we could throw at this, however it wasn’t until our second benefit specialist came up with some valid points that the entire thing started to unravel more.

We have included part of the information and guidance which is contained in the email sent to our office regarding the email received from the CECO;

“After reading this awful example of legal underarm throws it has a hidden pitfall for the CECO, i find myself looking at the following:

Representation: rep·re·sen·ta·tion/ˌrepriˌzenˈtāSHən/
Noun:
The action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented.
The description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature.

False: Adjective:
Not according with truth or fact; incorrect.
Not according with rules or law.
Synonyms:
spurious – sham – bogus – untrue – counterfeit – phoney

I look in to the possibility that the CECO did in fact make a false representation, one which i feel is easy to identify, the CECO reply contained information which simply is not true, further more and more disturbingly the CECO reply and mainly due to the false representation could and has led to loss.

The actions of medway council have led to a resident being made liable to pay for overpayments that he/she had never received.

We look at these issues arising from the false representation and the loss that this action has caused the resident and we compare it to the following legislation. Fraud Act2006

Looking at this act we can comfortably identify the following;
Fraud by false representation

(1)A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b)intends, by making the representation—
(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2)A representation is false if—
(a)it is untrue or misleading, and
(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
(3)“Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—
(a)the person making the representation, or
(b)any other person.
(4)A representation may be express or implied.
(5)For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).

Simply comparing the CECOs actions with that of the fraud act 2006 1a, we can see that it is a criminal offense to dishonestly make a false representation, which is exactly what the CECO did, further more to make gain for himself or another (that being medway council).

You will note that even if the CECO were to ‘claim’ that they were not quoting the HB regulations when referring to the ‘its no-ones fault’ comment the still made false representation as the fraud act clearly states:

A representation is false if—
(a)it is untrue or misleading, and
(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

So you can see that there really is no argument here, the comment had been made as an official and formal response to a registered complaint, the intention of the CECO was to re-affirm the reasons why medway council had the right to recover the HB overpayments, this actions has therefor caused loss to the resident.

“Gain” and “loss”

(1)The references to gain and loss in sections 2 to 4 are to be read in accordance with this section.
(2)“Gain” and “loss”—
(a)extend only to gain or loss in money or other property;
(b)include any such gain or loss whether temporary or permanent;and “property” means any property whether real or personal (including things in action and other intangible property).
(3)“Gain” includes a gain by keeping what one has, as well as a gain by getting what one does not have.
(4)“Loss” includes a loss by not getting what one might get, as well as a loss by parting with what one has.

We rest our case

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Medway Council AGAIN

As expected this morning we received our confirmation that the actions of the CECO were in deed totally wrong, we are now finding ourselves very worried at the idea that there could also be hundreds if not more residents out there who have fallen victim to the actions of Medway council regarding benefit overpayment and recovery.

We already knew that the response from the CECO was wrong and ill written BUT for the sake of clarity we had the whole thing re-assessed by an impartial legal specialist.

There were a great number of concerns given regarding the process and the response, medway council will now have 1 opportunity to make things right. We have been informed that the legal representative was so appalled by the unprofessional response that she has agreed to fight this case on behalf of our resident.

please get involved

We therefor ask if you or anyone you know are currently having to repay benefit overpayments that you contact us asap so we an assist and help you find out if you are even liable to repay the money in the first place.

Please email : Bailiffchaser@lawyer.com

R

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