Friday, June 20, 2008


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.


erasmus (aka jiva) said...

YAY! tax credits in being nice shocker. BUY YARN! ;)
got any ideas what to do with the HUGE stash I gave you? I know some of the colours are BRIGHT but I'm sure Steve can practice on some.

Mary said...

I have some ideas (mostly sock-based, although I'm toying with the idea of attempting lace-knitting) but it will have to wait, as I have hurt my wrist and cannot knit.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Tax Credits did similar to me, but wrote the money off almost immediately-it seems to be luck of the draw with them!
I'm really pleased this is sorted, but I want to hear about Remploy badness. Pretty please?!

Mary said...

Remploy badness tonight or tomorrow. I just want to let the glorious positivity hover near the top of the page for at least a few hours... ;-)

As a teaser, it's not the type of badness that is going to cost me time or money. It's procedural naughtiness and bad practice. You'll love it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What a relief it must be to have your tax credit overpayment saga ended!

We,a disabled couple (I have severe ME, partner has severe clinical depression, anxiety) recently failed in our WTC review and have been told we owe £3,350 pounds. With our cognitive and other problems it is hard to prove them wrong, although they have yet to be hit with "BB's Oracle" in which i write every cat's fart down to help me remember stuff, including verbatim conversations. It is such a strain on our already stressed lives.

Only found your blog today, and have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read so far :)

Have you written anything on the struggles of childrearing with ME? And what help Social Services have been able to give you? I'd appreciate knowing.

Mary said...


I know what you mean about writing everything down. My Tax Credits file is a real doorstop, but it's been invaluable to be able to review all the facts before each wrangle and confidently say "no, on this day at this time, I called this number and spoke to this employee, who told me this."

I don't have any children. However my best friend is a single father and my close and prolonged experience with his son as well as all the children I used to look after pre-illness, make me feel confident that with appropriate support in place, parenthood would be possible. Not yet - but that's a lifestyle and circumstances thing rather than an illness thing.

It is only recently that I have applied for Social Services help. They have awarded me seven hours of personal care and three hours of social care each week. It hasn't started yet - I'm still getting to grips with the idea of Direct Payments and so on and I have to write a job description - but it should make our lives very much easier.