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  1. #1
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    Housing benefit has been stopped. Advice please

    My husband and I have not lived together for over 10 years, our finances are separate, we've never bothered to get a divorce, no need to pay lawyers. We have always remained friends and I visit often.
    Our daughter chose to live with her Dad so she could stay at her school when I moved 250 miles away.
    When she finished uni, the council were told she had finished full time education and for some months she lived with her brother while trying to get a job in her uni town. No luck, so she returned to London. The more she was with her Dad, the more she felt he was very forgetful, on a visit I noticed too and we took him to the doctor and after many tests, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, he has many other health problems too, is an amputee, in a wheelchair and suffered many strokes.
    Our daughter remained with him, just working part time for two years or so and then, last year I was so worried about her depression from living with her Dad, I insisted she live with me to have a break. We were visiting him roughly 1 week in 4 -6 and our son visited for a night when possible, so our daughter has not lived with him for almost a year.
    He didn't want to move from his home and live with me, so we found a lovely sheltered housing place nearby so he was familiar with the area and could retain his friends, very important for someone with dementia, not to have big changes.
    Five year waiting list - BUT if he was on the council housing list he would likely be in within 6 months. Despite being in agony awaiting surgery, the council refused an appointment, he and my daughter had to wait 6 hours in a council office and his situation explained. He seemed to fit the criteria, mental and physical health problems, but no, he had a home so wouldn't qualify to go on the housing list -even though he cannot afford the rent and they won't pay it!!
    He is incapable of moving or arranging anything because he has dementia and private landlords don't have facilities for people with dementia and need disabled living access for wheelchairs.
    For some years, we (his family, me, our daughter and son) have all chipped in to top up the rent for him so he wouldn't need to leave his home. When the Govt cut rent, we chipped in even more.
    Probably due to the attempt to have him put on the council housing list, he was sent a new massive form, which of course he could not complete. All his benefits were stopped so that our son had to put £2,000 to pay all the bills while the situation was resolved and he proved that he was disabled and entitled to benefits (can you grow a limb??). Our son wrote three times via registered post and they kept losing the letters, but eventually his benefits were reinstated and the letter clearly said that our daughter was a non dependent.
    Suddenly the council kept sending letters asking for information about our daughter, despite her never having claimed a penny in carers allowance nor unemployment benefit (I have kept her when necessary, she never wanted to enter the hideous benefits system), it eventually transpired that they believe she has been living free with her father since Unit and should have paid rent!
    She filled in forms several times saying when she worked and how much she earned when she worked and now they are demanding a complete breakdown of every penny she has had for 4 years and if she doesn't give that, his housing benefit will not be reinstated at all.
    We are in a terrible quandry. When she worked part time, she paid for all the food and some of the rent (the family paid the difference), all his benefits went on the rent which is high. When she lived with me or was unemployed, we all chipped in to pay the difference.
    We are afraid to say we have been paying the difference in case they say he has had extra income. Are family allowed to help? Our daughter, who has never claimed a penny in benefits and has contributed to the rent the council do not pay and has paid her own portion of the council tax and has clearly never been listed as a dependent since she left Uni, is being pursued.
    Can they demand that she pays more of the rent when she has never been claimed for?
    Can they say he has been receiving extra income if we say we have been paying the rent over and above the benefit given?
    What a mess. We are trying to help and deal with things during visits. He doesn't have a social worker and when I tried to get one, they said social workers don't help with finances, so who does for someone so vulnerable?
    This sounds complex, I hope someone can offer some advice, you can probably tell that I am very stressed about it.

  2. #2
    Registered User jeany123's Avatar
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    If he is over 50, Age Uk will be able to help why don't you get a appointment with them,

    Best wishes Jeany x


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  3. #3
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    So sorry to hear about this and I really hope you receive the help and reassurance you deserve soon - wish I could help in a practical way!


    Quote Originally Posted by pinkangora View Post
    My husband and I have not lived together for over 10 years, our finances are separate, we've never bothered to get a divorce, no need to pay lawyers. We have always remained friends and I visit often.
    Our daughter chose to live with her Dad so she could stay at her school when I moved 250 miles away.
    When she finished uni, the council were told she had finished full time education and for some months she lived with her brother while trying to get a job in her uni town. No luck, so she returned to London. The more she was with her Dad, the more she felt he was very forgetful, on a visit I noticed too and we took him to the doctor and after many tests, he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, he has many other health problems too, is an amputee, in a wheelchair and suffered many strokes.
    Our daughter remained with him, just working part time for two years or so and then, last year I was so worried about her depression from living with her Dad, I insisted she live with me to have a break. We were visiting him roughly 1 week in 4 -6 and our son visited for a night when possible, so our daughter has not lived with him for almost a year.
    He didn't want to move from his home and live with me, so we found a lovely sheltered housing place nearby so he was familiar with the area and could retain his friends, very important for someone with dementia, not to have big changes.
    Five year waiting list - BUT if he was on the council housing list he would likely be in within 6 months. Despite being in agony awaiting surgery, the council refused an appointment, he and my daughter had to wait 6 hours in a council office and his situation explained. He seemed to fit the criteria, mental and physical health problems, but no, he had a home so wouldn't qualify to go on the housing list -even though he cannot afford the rent and they won't pay it!!
    He is incapable of moving or arranging anything because he has dementia and private landlords don't have facilities for people with dementia and need disabled living access for wheelchairs.
    For some years, we (his family, me, our daughter and son) have all chipped in to top up the rent for him so he wouldn't need to leave his home. When the Govt cut rent, we chipped in even more.
    Probably due to the attempt to have him put on the council housing list, he was sent a new massive form, which of course he could not complete. All his benefits were stopped so that our son had to put £2,000 to pay all the bills while the situation was resolved and he proved that he was disabled and entitled to benefits (can you grow a limb??). Our son wrote three times via registered post and they kept losing the letters, but eventually his benefits were reinstated and the letter clearly said that our daughter was a non dependent.
    Suddenly the council kept sending letters asking for information about our daughter, despite her never having claimed a penny in carers allowance nor unemployment benefit (I have kept her when necessary, she never wanted to enter the hideous benefits system), it eventually transpired that they believe she has been living free with her father since Unit and should have paid rent!
    She filled in forms several times saying when she worked and how much she earned when she worked and now they are demanding a complete breakdown of every penny she has had for 4 years and if she doesn't give that, his housing benefit will not be reinstated at all.
    We are in a terrible quandry. When she worked part time, she paid for all the food and some of the rent (the family paid the difference), all his benefits went on the rent which is high. When she lived with me or was unemployed, we all chipped in to pay the difference.
    We are afraid to say we have been paying the difference in case they say he has had extra income. Are family allowed to help? Our daughter, who has never claimed a penny in benefits and has contributed to the rent the council do not pay and has paid her own portion of the council tax and has clearly never been listed as a dependent since she left Uni, is being pursued.
    Can they demand that she pays more of the rent when she has never been claimed for?
    Can they say he has been receiving extra income if we say we have been paying the rent over and above the benefit given?
    What a mess. We are trying to help and deal with things during visits. He doesn't have a social worker and when I tried to get one, they said social workers don't help with finances, so who does for someone so vulnerable?
    This sounds complex, I hope someone can offer some advice, you can probably tell that I am very stressed about it.

  4. #4
    Registered User cragmaid's Avatar
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    Phone Citizens advice on Monday...phone Social Services Adult Social Care....phone or write to your MP Local Radio and/or Local TV.......well at least phone the first two.....use the words vulnerable adult, and without assistance , if anything should happen to him tell them you will hold the LA responsible.
    Maureen.

    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." said Christopher Robin to Pooh. ( AA Milne)

  5. #5
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    hello pinkagora -

    I would definitely get in contact with the citizens advice bureau - they are really really good at dealing with all things relating to benefits and should be able to give you other advise as well as to how to help your husband and daughter.

    as cragmaid said I would phone them first thing on monday.

    good luck with everything

    brodie

  6. #6
    Registered User meme's Avatar
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    your daughter is/was a non dependent living with her dad and therefore her income or lack of decides the amount of rent and council tax she contributes...my son is a non dependent living with me and he does not claim benefits either but has to pay the above (or rather someone does!!) get advice from the cab...they will I imagine advise your daughter to provide as much info from the past 4 years as possible, then when the council let you know the amount owed the cab solicitor may help your daughter not have to pay the full amount...do let us know what happens
    The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by meme View Post
    your daughter is/was a non dependent living with her dad and therefore her income or lack of decides the amount of rent and council tax she contributes...my son is a non dependent living with me and he does not claim benefits either but has to pay the above (or rather someone does!!) get advice from the cab...they will I imagine advise your daughter to provide as much info from the past 4 years as possible, then when the council let you know the amount owed the cab solicitor may help your daughter not have to pay the full amount...do let us know what happens
    Thank you, it just seems totally unfair that she HAS been paying, so how can they expect her to pay more. The cost of the flat is high and she has never claimed. How can they demand money from someone who was never listed as a dependent and who has been paying rent and the remainder of the council tax? Crazy. However, I am getting help from a long serving city councillor who knows my husband and I hope he an break through this nonsense.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeany123 View Post
    If he is over 50, Age Uk will be able to help why don't you get a appointment with them,

    Best wishes Jeany x


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    Thank you very much, will try to involve them for the future, regardless of this issue.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cragmaid View Post
    Phone Citizens advice on Monday...phone Social Services Adult Social Care....phone or write to your MP Local Radio and/or Local TV.......well at least phone the first two.....use the words vulnerable adult, and without assistance , if anything should happen to him tell them you will hold the LA responsible.
    Social Services say he has to be referred by a doctor and they aren't there to help with finances anyway! I can go directly through them but it will take longer to get a caseworker assigned to him.
    Citizen's Advice seems to take weeks to get an appointment so I have contacted local city councillor who is very nice, not sure if he can help, but he is trying to get council to at least say what they want.
    Thank you to everyone for offering advice and support.

  10. #10
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    Housing Benefit disaster finally averted.

    Thank you for your offers of advice. I contacted our City Councillor who knows the person in charge of housing benefit and explained the situation and that far from my daughter being reliant on her father, he is reliant on her.
    Turns out, the benefits should never have been stopped in this situation, they don't know why the staff member was insisting on knowing her pay and intimate details of her finance. When someone is in a two bedroom flat, they have a larger allowance if two people live there and smaller if one - should be the other way round I'd have thought, the extra person could pay the difference. However, since our daughter has been living with me for the last year, they have overpaid him and will deduct £10 or so a week for a couple of years to get it back.
    The stress this put our daughter through has been incredible, she has been hounded and wrongly made to seem responsible for her sick father not having his rent paid, I literally feared for her last week.
    No apology by the way.
    Because they are all so inefficient, no-one wants to advise a change of circumstances, every month, either my daughter or I came to check on my husband, spending a week cleaning and sorting, imagine trying to get the £20 for each of those weeks.
    The inefficiency at these offices is disgraceful. A million people unemployed and they employ lazy, inefficient people who lose papers and don't know what they are doing. Had we not been assisting, my (estranged) husband would have done nothing until the bailiffs turned up to remove him because of unpaid rent. Hundreds of vulnerable people are being treated like this and no-one cares. Because 3% of claims are invalid, 97% of people are treated like liars and thieves.
    The local Citizen's Advice has closed and my husband could never have organised himself to get so far away to the nearest one for help.
    Benefit Street portrays people on benefits as cheats and the Olympics portrayed disabled people as able to run miles in seconds on bouncy legs (which cost thousands of pounds and are unattainable to all but the rich), it is a sad world for people who are genuinely defenceless.
    Contact your local County or City Councillor if you have problems, they may be able to help by speaking to the person in charge and cut to the chase.

  11. #11
    Registered User garnuft's Avatar
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    Well said, Pinkangora.

    It is indeed a sad world for people who are genuinely defenceless and the system and people who work within it, can talk as much as they like and pat themselves on the back all they want, in truth they fail most of the people they come into contact with.

    I dread to think what it must be like if a disabled, vulnerable person has no family to support them.

    It's time it changed.

    By the way, age is no barrier to neglect by the system, my son is 26 years old and severely disabled and is supported by ignoramuses in the same way my 86 year old mother was.

    It's time it changed.
    “I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.”
    ― Dorothy Parker

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