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Select Committee on Work and Pensions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter to the Secretary of the Committee from the Torfaen Citizens Advice Bureau (OP 03)

  Dear Miss Young

  We are writing to you with regards to Mr. C and would like to submit the details of his case to the select committee looking into ONE.

  The facts of the case are as follows:—

  Mr. C had been unemployed since March 2000 and had been applying unsuccessfully for jobs in industry, which was his field of expertise. Mr. C had always wanted to be a teacher and when he heard of the new Graduate Teachers Programme he applied. He was accepted in June 2000 on the scheme and told his ONE Personal Adviser about the scheme and his plans.

  In January 2001 Mr. C via the job Centre was offered a job in industry at about £22,000 per annum. Around the same time he was told that he would be able to start on the Graduate Teachers Programme after Easter earning around £9,000 per annum. Mr. C went to see his ONE Personal Adviser for advice, as he did not want to loose the Teachers Post.

  He was advised to take the job in Industry for 10 weeks, to claim Working Families Tax Credit and then when the Teachers Post started he could take that job and put in a change of circumstances form with the Working Families Tax Credit so that his Working Families Tax Credit benefit would increase immediately. Enclosed are the prompt sheets Mr. C took with him to the interview with his ONE Personal Adviser when he was seeking advice about benefits before deciding on which job to take.

  Mr. C was most concerned about his finances as he is a married man, with 3 children under the age of 6 years and a home owner. Mr. C was most concerned as he realised that he would need the Working Families Tax Credit to supplement his wages as a teacher. Mr. C was very reluctant to follow his ONE personal Advisers advice about claiming Working Families Tax Credit while in the higher paid job but was finally persuaded and reluctantly applied.

  The result of following this advice was that Mr. C applied for the increase in his Working Families Tax Credit award because he was now in the teaching post, he was told that the award ran for 26 weeks and could not be changed. This was the very thing that Mr. C had wanted to avoid and it has left Mr. C in severe financial difficulties. He has in fact lost out on £1170.34 Working Families Tax Credit.

  Mr. C contacted the ONE service, who verbally agreed he had been given bad advice and the Manager Mrs. D was very supportive, when he had a personal interview with her. She contacted the Inland Revenue oil his behalf to see if she could get the award altered, but they said no. She then advised him to put in an Appeal to the Inland Revenue. At no time did she advise him that he could seek financial redress from the Job Centre and even when Mr. C asked was told that there was no scheme for compensating people. Mr. C contacted the Inland Revenue and they agreed that lie had been given bad advice and he should be financially compensated by the Job Centre.

  We have contacted ONE and the Benefits Agency on several occasions with no response until we wrote to the chief executive in June 2001. The Special Payments team were investigating Mr. C's claim for compensation and seemed hopeful for an early settlement but now everything has come to a stop. Mr. B from the special payments team has contacted Mr. C to say that he can do nothing until after the Inland Revenue Appeal has been heard and this can take anything from 14-18 weeks.

  Mr. C in the meantime has been forced to take out loans in order to pay his mortgage and this has meant that although financially he was £ 1170.34 down on the Benefits he should have received it has cost him a tot more than this in the effort to keep his home. Mr. C feels as if he is being passed from one department to another each agreeing he should get financial redress but no one willing to admit that they should be the one to pay.

  In this particular case ONE has given out wrong? Bad advice which has cost the client money. They have also prevented him from taking advantage of their Work Trial Scheme by failing to do the work cheeks needed before he started his teaching post (which meant that he lost 2 weeks additional benefit), and added to which they gave him the wrong tax code. All in all Mr. C would not say that he has had a very happy experience of ONE.

  We would be very grateful for any assistance you could give Mr. C as this case is still ongoing and it looks as if it could drag on for another 3 or 4 months at least just waiting for the appeal to be heard.

  Yours sincerely

  A Williams

  Torfaen CLS Supervisor

  4 September 2001


  1.  Mr. C was unemployed from March 2000.

  2.  He joined the graduate teachers programme in June 2000.

  3.  Offered a job of £22,000 in industry in January 2001.

  4.  January 2001 informed he would start teaching after Easter holidays.

  5.  Went to see his ONE personal Adviser for Benefits advice and advice on his best options. Mr. C was worried about his finances when he started his teaching position, as he would need the Working Families Tax Credit to make the position viable so that he could pay his mortgage and other financial commitments.

  6.  He was advised to take high paid job for 10 weeks and apply for Working Families Tax Credit. Then finish job go back to Jobseekers allowance before taking up teaching post and putting in change of circumstances form for Working Families Tax Credit.

  7.  As a result of the advice of the ONE adviser client has lost out on £1,170.34 in Working Families Tax Credit and is now in financial difficulties. He was advised by the ONE personal Advisers Manager to put in an appeal to the Inland Revenue, which he did and as a result his compensation claim is now being held up another three to four months.

  8.  Since April 2001 he has been passed from one department to another and is in financial difficulties because of poor advice from his ONE Personal Adviser.

  Dear Miss Young

  Further to the letters we have written about Mr C and his claim for compensation from ONE. The case seems to have been concluded now.

  Since last contacting you we contacted Mr C's MP Paul Flynn and he has worked hard on Mr C's behalf. A few weeks ago Mr C was contacted by the Special Payments team and has now received a cheque for the Working Families Tax Credit he lost due to the bad advice he was given. As far as I am aware Mr C has not been compensated for the extra expenses he incurred as a result of this bad advice nor has he been compensated for the stress, anxiety and emotional hardship he suffered.

  Mr C is doing well on the Graduate Teachers programme and he was the first person to take it up in our area. His Headmaster is so pleased with him that he is now being asked to talk to other people who are thinking of joining the scheme and he has been taken by his headmaster to talk to other head teachers who are thinking of taking on someone under the scheme.

  We have copied all our correspondence onto disk for you but unfortunately we do not have access to a scanner to copy the letters Mr C was sent by the Benefits Agency detailing the advice they had given him. I hope this will not cause too much of a problem.

  Yours sincerely

A Williams

Torfaen CLS Supervisor

12 November 2001

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