Housing have actually been decent so far with me. I said I was paying the rent in full weekly and they accepted £20 on top of that to go to the month’s arrears which I got due to housing benefit backdating their suspension of my claim for a month. I was very grateful to talk to a human being who saw the £10,000 I supposedly owe and treated me like a human being.
Council Tax sent me a bill today in which they’ve added all the supposed overpayment to my current council tax (which doubled from £25 to £50 when they suspended my claim automatically as I’m on direct debit). What with full council tax for the year as well, this bill amounts to £5,000. The bill also said they were changing my direct debit payments to £600 a month for the next six months to clear this up.
This time I almost lost it. I’ve sort of been coping so far with this whole cock up but have been dreading the arrival of the postman each day and and am feeling a massive sense of relief every time I open a letter to find it’s not another disaster. I phoned up Council Tax and pressed buttons until I got a real live human being, after listening to their promotion for their automated online system several times. Real person told me that despite the situation they couldn’t do anything like suspend the overpayment until the decision was fully processed and that I just had to wait until the court summons and sort it out then. I don’t want to go to court. So I hung up, phoned up the CAB (lovely people, so helpful and sympathetic) who said nag your councillor. I did that and then cancelled my direct debit and set up a standing order for £70, nothing like the £600 odd they want but at least it shows willing. How long I can keep these payments going I have no idea but at least I won’t have to worry about whether I’ve breached savings limits.
Councillor said they’d just been told that housing benefit hadn’t received my last letters. Considering they’d been sent via email to the same address as the first, with the same reference and I’d received the automatic acknowledgement I really fucking doubt it. No doubt the non-receipt is what gave them the excuse to suspend my claim. Bastards.
I cannot tell you how terrifying this all feels. Not that there would be any point in the council making us homeless but the fact that this is possibly a risk and I have no idea how much money I will have to pay, let alone at what rate and for how long is all making the ground under my feet feel like quicksand instead. I’m worried for my children’s future. No doubt that is an exaggeration of the possible consequences but I’m being chased for £15,000 I wasn’t aware I owed and I still haven’t been told why.