Faulty system led to false debt
Mr K had been working full time and his wife part time, they had
five children together. HMRC informed them that they had been
overpaid on Working Tax Credits for several years. Mr K had no idea
how this could be but due to the pressure had no option but to
write out post dated cheques for the thousands of pounds they could
not afford. HMRC began cashing the cheques and Mr K and his family
left in a panic with no help at all.
Mr K then got in touch with his local Law Centre who decided to
take on his case. They wrote to HMRC asking them to reassess the
matter. The HMRC legal team investigated and soon identified errors
in the system that had caused the problem. Mr K and his family had
never been overpaid. HMRC re-credited the money Mr K had given them
and their lives began to return to normal.
Homeless for the sake of £5?
Mr A, an unemployed husband and father, looking for work lived
with his wife and ten year old son as council tenants. His wife
worked part time but with Mr A struggling to find work they soon
had money problems and a large amount of rent arrears.
The council decided to evict the family, and a date was set for
baliffs to arrive. Mr A. raised what money he could and managed to
pay all but £5 of the arrears that were owed, however when he
returned from court having paid the majority of the debts the
baliffs had already removed the family and their belongings from
their home. The family were housed overnight by an emergency
homeless persons unit and sought to have the eviction reversed the
A duty solicitor from the local Law Centre was working in the
court that morning and successfully argued a previous case that Mr
A. could not have known about, to allow the family to be
reinstated. They are relieved to have escaped homelessness and are
trying to make a fresh start.
£22,000 of debt due to "administrative error"
Mr L. worked as a mini-cab driver commissioned for 20 hours a
week while his wife looked after their small children. Their family
had been assessed for benefits by the local authority and received
a number of these to support them.
After a few years of living in these circumstances, Mr L
received an overpayment notification letter demanding repayment of
almost £22,000. Having looked after their finances carefully the
family were terrified as to how they would cope with repayment. Mr
L contacted HMRC who told him to ignore the letters as they were an
error however they continued to be received in more threatening
Mr L approached his local Law Centre and they wrote to the Local
Authority threatening legal action if this matter was not reviewed.
Upon review the Local Authority cleared the debt and apologised for
the administrative error.