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Problems claiming benefits...

Problems claiming benefits...

Old Apr 21st 2011, 2:04 am
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Default Problems claiming benefits...

Hi all.

I'm new to the forum, hope someone can help.

Came back to the UK to settle down after 9 years of living in Gibraltar (British colony). Worked out there, paid tax, etc. for majority of it. Met someone out there, we had our daughter, separated, he then developed lung cancer (just passed away a few days ago, RIP), I lost my job and found myself with no other option but to return to my homeland, Scotland.

The problem I'm facing now is what they call 'habitual residency'. This is apparently why I'm being refused Income Support. I came back to Scotland on March 29th so it's been just over 3 weeks.

When I was informed of this decision by the 'Decision Maker', there was an option for me to phone up and ask for an explanation, which I promptly did. I was told that generally speaking, after 12 weeks of being back in the UK, they will accept my application for income support. I have since appealed against the decision to deny me income support, explaining why (with several bullet points) I class myself as being habitually resident in the UK and that I'm here to settle down with my daughter (5 BTW), not to wangle the system.

My question is, is there anything I can do to speed this process up?

I find it ridiculous that I'm having to go through all this bureaucracy only to be told no when I'm in genuine need of help, have nowhere else to go, no job, am homeless, can't even get temp housing off the council cos I'm not allowed housing benefit either and I have no money...

... and I'm British!!!

What is this? What do these people expect me to do for the next 9 weeks while I wait for them to rifle through papers and ask the same questions over and over again?

Anyway, my next step is CAB and a meeting with a Welfare Rights Officer. Have already spoken to a local councillor who advised I do the same.

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows something that I don't, I'd really appreciate hearing about it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 21st 2011, 6:57 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by missmaster View Post
Hi all.

I'm new to the forum, hope someone can help.

Came back to the UK to settle down after 9 years of living in Gibraltar (British colony). Worked out there, paid tax, etc. for majority of it. Met someone out there, we had our daughter, separated, he then developed lung cancer (just passed away a few days ago, RIP), I lost my job and found myself with no other option but to return to my homeland, Scotland.

The problem I'm facing now is what they call 'habitual residency'. This is apparently why I'm being refused Income Support. I came back to Scotland on March 29th so it's been just over 3 weeks.

When I was informed of this decision by the 'Decision Maker', there was an option for me to phone up and ask for an explanation, which I promptly did. I was told that generally speaking, after 12 weeks of being back in the UK, they will accept my application for income support. I have since appealed against the decision to deny me income support, explaining why (with several bullet points) I class myself as being habitually resident in the UK and that I'm here to settle down with my daughter (5 BTW), not to wangle the system.

My question is, is there anything I can do to speed this process up?

I find it ridiculous that I'm having to go through all this bureaucracy only to be told no when I'm in genuine need of help, have nowhere else to go, no job, am homeless, can't even get temp housing off the council cos I'm not allowed housing benefit either and I have no money...

... and I'm British!!!

What is this? What do these people expect me to do for the next 9 weeks while I wait for them to rifle through papers and ask the same questions over and over again?

Anyway, my next step is CAB and a meeting with a Welfare Rights Officer. Have already spoken to a local councillor who advised I do the same.

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows something that I don't, I'd really appreciate hearing about it.

Thanks in advance.
I'm sorry about your situation, and CAB is probably a good place to start.

I think this will become more of an issue for returnees as the government cracks down on benefit fraud and, for example, reevaluates criteria for incapacity benefit. You can't blame the government for protecting the taxes paid by long-term residents by making sure you really are returning with the intention to reside permanently.

On the bright side, at least the UK has benefits that many other countries don't provide.

Have you searched for other threads on benefits? There are stacks of them, and also on how to get help finding work.
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Old Apr 21st 2011, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by missmaster View Post
Hi all.

I'm new to the forum, hope someone can help.

Came back to the UK to settle down after 9 years of living in Gibraltar (British colony). Worked out there, paid tax, etc. for majority of it. Met someone out there, we had our daughter, separated, he then developed lung cancer (just passed away a few days ago, RIP), I lost my job and found myself with no other option but to return to my homeland, Scotland.

.
Could you be eligible for any transitional benefits from Gibralter, that would help you keep body and soul together until you are better established in Scotland?
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Old Apr 21st 2011, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
Could you be eligible for any transitional benefits from Gibralter, that would help you keep body and soul together until you are better established in Scotland?
I think it highly unlikely that a non citizen of any British Crown Colony will receive such benefits. Having lived in Bermuda I know there would be absolutely nothing on offer from there in spite of paying local social security up to departure date. The Colony bit doesn't count for anything either in terms of bilateral arrangements or getting credit in the "mother" country for paying taxes in the colony as the relationship simply doesn't work like that and the colony is almost completely self-governing and self-financing in every UK case.

Sadly, being British in the UK, in of itself doesn't count for many things, particularly if you've just come from spending time somewhere else and I agree with dunroving on the principle behind this fact. Something that comes as a rather hard knock for many.

Last edited by Pistolpete2; Apr 21st 2011 at 6:30 pm.
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Old Apr 21st 2011, 11:32 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

There are several threads on HRT and it's even mentioned in threads about JSA. There is no qualifying period but staff do try to apply one. 12 weeks is a new one. It's usually 13 weeks or 6 months.

You'll see mention of this in the other threads and you'll also see people who had no trouble and got paid without a waiting period.

Some offices have little experience of this issue and come to silly decisions.

Sometimes people have said "the wrong thing" and that can cause a problem. Or a simple misunderstanding.

You've done the right thing with an appeal. It shouldn't take too long as someone with a bit more knowledge will look at it and if they don't think they'll win an appeal, they'll change the decision.

Keep your CAB appointment.

Post what happens please.
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Old Apr 25th 2011, 9:27 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

missmaster, your story flies in the face of what happened to me some years ago.

I took a year off work in South Australia, and thought I would have 6 months work in London. I went into an employment office to see if there were any suitable temporary jobs, and they referred me to another office. I was shocked when they wanted to pay for my hotel and all my needs.

I told them I had not come for a handout, and could afford to pay my own way. In turn they were shocked, apparently I was the first to refuse money!!

I found work myself looking in the London Evening Standard, also a small flat in Bayswater near Kensington Gardens, and started work the following week at Holborn Viaduct. A nice easy ride on the Central Line.
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Old Apr 25th 2011, 1:45 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Hi missmaster,

We've got quite a few threads on this subject, but a recent one here, may be helpful to you.

I don't know if this is still applicable, but you should read the details of the Swaddling case here.
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Old Apr 29th 2011, 5:25 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Hi Missmaster, sorry to hear your plight, i'm in the same position and it looks like we will get turned down also. So what happens to us when we have no money and no where to live? I have enough left to rent our caravan for another 3 weeks and that's it after that we have no where to go. So i will be watching your outcome with interest. They have lumped income support in with the HRT too so you can't even get that either. I thought charity began at home! Aren't we meant to look after our own people first? You get penalized for going and having another experience for a couple of years and if you come back to your homeland your an outcast! At least that's how the system is making me feel at the moment. I won't get onto the EU people we have in our area who are getting everything under the sun! So it looks like there will be another four people living on the streets and begging in the shopping centre too in another months time.
The job situation is dire, well in our area anyway, and there are hundreds applying for all the same jobs. there were only three jobs in our area today available, two in a bar and one in a cafe! Not much hope then eh?
Good luck and let us know how you go on so we can add it to the knowledge bank!
Originally Posted by missmaster View Post
Hi all.

I'm new to the forum, hope someone can help.

Came back to the UK to settle down after 9 years of living in Gibraltar (British colony). Worked out there, paid tax, etc. for majority of it. Met someone out there, we had our daughter, separated, he then developed lung cancer (just passed away a few days ago, RIP), I lost my job and found myself with no other option but to return to my homeland, Scotland.

The problem I'm facing now is what they call 'habitual residency'. This is apparently why I'm being refused Income Support. I came back to Scotland on March 29th so it's been just over 3 weeks.

When I was informed of this decision by the 'Decision Maker', there was an option for me to phone up and ask for an explanation, which I promptly did. I was told that generally speaking, after 12 weeks of being back in the UK, they will accept my application for income support. I have since appealed against the decision to deny me income support, explaining why (with several bullet points) I class myself as being habitually resident in the UK and that I'm here to settle down with my daughter (5 BTW), not to wangle the system.

My question is, is there anything I can do to speed this process up?

I find it ridiculous that I'm having to go through all this bureaucracy only to be told no when I'm in genuine need of help, have nowhere else to go, no job, am homeless, can't even get temp housing off the council cos I'm not allowed housing benefit either and I have no money...

... and I'm British!!!

What is this? What do these people expect me to do for the next 9 weeks while I wait for them to rifle through papers and ask the same questions over and over again?

Anyway, my next step is CAB and a meeting with a Welfare Rights Officer. Have already spoken to a local councillor who advised I do the same.

If anyone has had a similar experience or knows something that I don't, I'd really appreciate hearing about it.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 29th 2011, 8:01 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by fatcat65 View Post
Hi Missmaster, sorry to hear your plight, i'm in the same position and it looks like we will get turned down also. So what happens to us when we have no money and no where to live? I have enough left to rent our caravan for another 3 weeks and that's it after that we have no where to go. So i will be watching your outcome with interest. They have lumped income support in with the HRT too so you can't even get that either. I thought charity began at home! Aren't we meant to look after our own people first? You get penalized for going and having another experience for a couple of years and if you come back to your homeland your an outcast! At least that's how the system is making me feel at the moment. I won't get onto the EU people we have in our area who are getting everything under the sun! So it looks like there will be another four people living on the streets and begging in the shopping centre too in another months time.
The job situation is dire, well in our area anyway, and there are hundreds applying for all the same jobs. there were only three jobs in our area today available, two in a bar and one in a cafe! Not much hope then eh?
Good luck and let us know how you go on so we can add it to the knowledge bank!
Fatcat, I am so sorry to hear of your plight, but I don't think you will end up on the streets?

Have you applied to the local council for housing? Not ideal I know but it could be a stop gap for you. I think you have children and they will be obliged to find you somewhere to live as it goes on a points system and you earn the most by having children. My sister is a housing officer but is on holiday at the moment, so I can't ask her, but this is what she has told me happens, though I do think it is going to change in the future where houses will be advertised and people bid for them.

Have you been to the Citizen's Advice Bureau? They will know more than we do, I know I find the whole system very difficult to understand.

Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.


p.s. What's HRT?
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Old Apr 29th 2011, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by Beedubya View Post
Fatcat, I am so sorry to hear of your plight, but I don't think you will end up on the streets?

Have you applied to the local council for housing? Not ideal I know but it could be a stop gap for you. I think you have children and they will be obliged to find you somewhere to live as it goes on a points system and you earn the most by having children. My sister is a housing officer but is on holiday at the moment, so I can't ask her, but this is what she has told me happens, though I do think it is going to change in the future where houses will be advertised and people bid for them.

Have you been to the Citizen's Advice Bureau? They will know more than we do, I know I find the whole system very difficult to understand.

Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.


p.s. What's HRT?
Applying for council/housing association housing is a good idea but that should have been done a long time before you returned. Housing is in such short supply and the waiting lists are years long. There is a points system but even with max points (single females, disabled, at risk children) you can still wait a year+.
Any emergency housing the council can provide would be B&B short term & the type that no one would ever dream of staying in.

The childrens services can help with short term loans (usually pennies) if children are deemed to be in need. The only housing they could help with would be to look after the kids short term again only if they were deemed to be in need or in need of protection.

If it really is that desperate phone Shelter for advice http://www.shelter.org.uk/

HRT is the habitual residence test.
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Old May 4th 2011, 1:02 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by Shellyj View Post
Applying for council/housing association housing is a good idea but that should have been done a long time before you returned. Housing is in such short supply and the waiting lists are years long. There is a points system but even with max points (single females, disabled, at risk children) you can still wait a year+.
Any emergency housing the council can provide would be B&B short term & the type that no one would ever dream of staying in.

The childrens services can help with short term loans (usually pennies) if children are deemed to be in need. The only housing they could help with would be to look after the kids short term again only if they were deemed to be in need or in need of protection.

If it really is that desperate phone Shelter for advice http://www.shelter.org.uk/

HRT is the habitual residence test.
I am surprised you can apply for council housing before you are actually in the UK.
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Old May 4th 2011, 2:48 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by windsong View Post
I am surprised you can apply for council housing before you are actually in the UK.
I just googled and selected the first LA that came up. It didn't seem to exclude people not yet in the UK.

One category of people eligible to apply included people returning to the UK. If one couldn't apply until actually being there I suppose it would say people who have returned.

However, it is a points/priority based system and I imagine someone already in the UK - actually in need - would get some priority because of that.

Worth pointing out that the waiting period can be quite short if you are willing to accept anywhere in a LA's area.
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Old May 4th 2011, 3:46 am
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by BristolUK View Post
I just googled and selected the first LA that came up. It didn't seem to exclude people not yet in the UK.

One category of people eligible to apply included people returning to the UK. If one couldn't apply until actually being there I suppose it would say people who have returned.

However, it is a points/priority based system and I imagine someone already in the UK - actually in need - would get some priority because of that.

Worth pointing out that the waiting period can be quite short if you are willing to accept anywhere in a LA's area.
What is an LA? Local authority?

So this means they find you a house - wherever they want - and you move in when your name comes up? I guess it's hit or miss whether it's a good area or not - that's the problem. It could be in a rough area.

Are there any choices?

What about pets? Can you take pets in LA homes?
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Old May 4th 2011, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by windsong View Post
I am surprised you can apply for council housing before you are actually in the UK.
You cant offically, you need a residential address from which to apply from. Not useful if you dont have relatives but if you do & you've been using their address for mail etc you use their address.

As for where they put you there is some choice. Local authorities have a 'choice based lettings system' now. It means you get assessed, are given points and a priority status. Most let you log on online and will tell you which homes you can 'bid' on. Depending on your priority you can bid away and not get an offer for years or get one pretty quick if you're a single mum with no support etc. But you choose what to bid on but obv many houses coming empty are in areas you may not want to live in. People dont move out of the nice areas once in there! But if you really are desperate and need housing you have to take whats on offer yes!

Here is the site for Liverpool to give you an idea www.propertypool.org.uk
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Old May 4th 2011, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Problems claiming benefits...

Originally Posted by windsong View Post
What is an LA? Local authority?
Sorry...yes.

So this means they find you a house - wherever they want - and you move in when your name comes up? I guess it's hit or miss whether it's a good area or not - that's the problem. It could be in a rough area.
Yes, pretty much. I worked in an advice centre back in the 90s and occasionally something would be offered to someone within a couple of days of the person applying.

While it would be in an area most people wouldn't want, there are some happy with it. Or desperate. Or just not knowing what they let themselves in for.

Are there any choices?
Yes. It was possible to select an area you wanted but then find it was grouped with somewhere you didn't want and it would be difficult if you were offered the one you didn't want because officially it was in your chosen area.

But judging from the above post and what I just saw on the Bristol site, it's all a bit different now.

What about pets? Can you take pets in LA homes?
Yes. I can't imagine that has changed.

In some authorities, perhaps all now they combine LA (council) housing with Housing Associations with one application covering the lot. It's possible there might be some conditions/restrictions applying to Housing Association properties that wouldn't apply to LA properties.
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