Jasmine was born in Jamaica and came here to join her mother in 1998. After 12 years in the UK as an ‘overstayer’ she got indefinite leave to remain. At the same time, she applied for child tax credit (CTC) and child benefit (CB) for her 3 children. Although CB came through right away, nearly a year later she had received no CTC. Our advisor wrote to the Tax Credit Office (TCO) several times over the next few months, reminding them of Jasmine’s eligibility from the date of her original claim, with no substantive reply.
Finally, after 4 months, Jasmine received an award notification, which was both insufficiently backdated and included an overpayment with respect to one of her children. After being assisted in appealing, she received another award notification, now backdating her claim too far, and simultaneously making a demand for an overpayment of £1817.99, though with no explanation of how it had arisen. Appeals against overpayment are not allowed, so our advisory made a complaint. The TCO responded with incorrect information, and continued to demand repayment. We lodged a 2nd tier complaint, again unsuccessfully. Finally, our advisor lodged a complaint with the independent adjudicator, who ruled that Jasmine did not have to repay the overpayment, and made a small compensation award in recognition of the TCO’s mistakes and poor complaint handling. All of this took just over a year.