Remember the ongoing saga of the Tax Credits problems?
Today I checked my bank statement, as you do, and saw that on 9th June, a payment of just under £20 was made straight into my account with the reference "Working Tax Credit".
PANIC! I don't want Tax Credits! I don't want to be entangled with them at all! I have an ongoing dispute with them! Why are they putting money into my account with no explanation?!?
Straight on the phone to a chap called Bob, who had a dig through my file and found a letter, dated 3rd June, which has been sent to me, but hasn't arrived here yet. So he read out the relevant bits to me.
An overpayment was made to me in the tax year April 2004 to April 2005.
This Inland Revenue intended to recover this overpayment by reducing my Tax Credits payments during the tax year April 2005 to April 2006.
I spoilt this plan by getting sick and eventually losing my job in June 2005. So that is why, in July 2005, I got a bill for over £500, consisting of the original overpayment, minus the £20 they had already recovered by reducing the payments I'd received between April 2005 and June 2005.
Communications since then have been variations on a rather repetitive theme of:
"Give us money!"
"I don't have that much money. And even if I did, I'm not convinced I owe it to you."
"Oh. Okay. (pause) Give us money!"
However, the letter I haven't received yet apparently says that the Appeals and Complaints bunch have reviewed my case and decided that the overpayment was due to "official error" and as such has been written off. This means that the money they "recovered" between April and June 2005 was in fact my money, so I can have it back. That's what the mystery payment into my bank account was about.
I'm so relieved. I was going to blog about something very very naughty which Remploy have done, but this is so much better. I hated the idea of being in debt, I hated the idea that I had somehow incurred debt without knowing I was doing it, and the letters demanding repayment and threatening legal action were really, really upsetting. But it's all over now, and I don't have to deal with them again.
I would say I'll try not to spend all of my almost-£20 at once, but thinking about it, I've probably spent more than that in phone calls and postage and photocopying and so on during the three-year course of this dispute. Definitely worth it to not have a £500 debt over my head, though.