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Most benefit claims are now dealt with
by phone. Claim lines are often on 0800
numbers, which are free from landlines
but can cost up to 40p per minute from
If people did not tell the government
immediately when a partner moved in
or out, they had to pay back all tax
credit payments made since the change.
The government did not balance the
overpayment against tax credits entitled
to the person – which could be the
same or more than they were asked to
repay. Many single parents on low
incomes were struggling to pay back
money that they had actually been
Mortgage lenders continued to add
charges to the accounts of people who
were trying their hardest to pay off
arrears. Sometimes these additional
charges could be more than the amount
people could afford to pay towards their
arrears each month.
Citizens Advice helped arrange
meetings with civil Servants to
Citizens Advice worked with the Low
Incomes Tax Reform Group, Child
Poverty Action Group and Tax Aid to
show the unfairness of this system.
As well as giving examples of cases
to Cit.Ad. bureaux helped individual
clients to challenge the repayment
Citizens Advice fed their concerns
into the FSA mortgage market review
and consultation on arrears and
approved persons. Bureaux
evidence was vital to make their case.
The DWP has reached agreement
with 9 major mobile phone networks
not to charge for calls to around 50 of
their 0800 numbers.
The government announced that it
would offset the amount it asked
people to pay back against the
amount the person was entitled to.
This meant many people no longer
had to pay back anything at all.
The thousands of people a year
claiming tax credits who are late
reporting relationship changes will
no longer be asked to pay back
money they were entitled to.
The FSA banned mortgage
companies from continuing to add
charges to the accounts of people
who stick to repayment
arrangements.178,000 people in
mortgage arrears will not incur
additional charges if they keep to