Why has my benefit been suspended?
The Council are obliged to suspend your Housing and Council Tax Benefit payments for the following reasons:
A doubt regarding your entitlement:
If the Council have any doubts as to whether you are receiving the correct amount of benefit, the Council are obliged to suspend your benefit payments until such time as the query is resolved. We will not usually take this action if we suspect that you are being underpaid.
Failure to provide the Council with sufficient information to make a decision:
If you fail to provide sufficient evidence and information to support your on going claim, the Council have the right to suspend your future payments.
Whilst the Council decide whether to recover an overpayment:
If during the life of your claim an overpayment occurs which the Council have the right to suspend your on going payments until it has resolved the question of recoverability. In practice this rarely occurs.
An appeal, by the Council, is pending about a claim or similar claim:
If the Council challenge the decision of a tribunal, court, or the Commissioner, and the Council feels that the decision will adversely affect the entitlement of one or a number of it’s claimants, the Council have the power to suspend any future payments until such time as a decision on the Council’s appeal is made. Again, this situation rarely occurs.
Why do you suspend benefit payments?
The Council will suspend your benefit payments in order to minimise the risk of you being overpaid benefit which you might be asked to repay at a later date, which may in turn lead to you receiving less benefit in the future, and placing you at greater risk of debt and legal action, including eviction.
What happens when you suspend my claim?
The Council are obliged to notify you in writing about the suspension of your claim. The Council will advise you of the reasons why we took this action and the ways in which you can remedy the situation. Usually the remedial action will require you to provide the Council if further evidence and information to substantiate your on going entitlement to Housing and Council Tax Benefit.
The Council are also obliged to inform you of the timescales in which you should respond to our request. The statutory period we will give you is one calendar month from the date of the notification letter.
Can I appeal against the decision to suspend my claim?
No, you have no right of appeal against a suspension of your benefit as no decision has been made. If we reinstate your benefit at the same rate based upon the same calculations you also have no appeal rights. If we reinstate your benefit at a different rate you will acquire new appeal rights for the new decision we have made about your benefit entitlement.
What happens when I provide the information and evidence you require?
Once the Council has received the information and evidence that it has asked for and we have sufficient evidence either to supersede (make a new decision), or revise (correct an earlier decision) your benefit award, we will write to you advising you of your new benefit award. We will also write to inform you that we have lifted the suspension in cases where we do not make a new decision.
Your benefit payments should recommence within 14 days of us making the decision about your claim.
Alike all benefit decisions the Council will write to you notifying you of the decision we have come to, the calculations we used to reach this decision, and we will explain your rights and responsibilities, including your rights of appeal against the decision.
What happens if I fail to respond to your requests?
If after one calendar month the Council haven’t heard from you the Council will terminate your benefit award.
If you provide some information or contact the Council within the calendar month the Council will usually offer you a further period to provide the evidence and information required. This time limit extension will also have a definite end date, and will not be further extended without good cause.