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How often would you say that your partner stays ? As there are strict guidelines on this with a tax credit (and any benefits) claim
And whose name is XXXXX XXXXX tax in ?
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I can only imagine the worry this is causing you,
First I assume that the rental agreement is also in joint names, but do you have evidence that only you pay the rent, the council tax and all other bills.
Does he pay you any money at all, do you get money fro maintenance for the children, and is this paid through the CSA?
Where does he live usually, does he pay his own rent and council tax, and bills
Where does his mail go to? What address is he registered for with the doctors and dentists.
Where do you go at the weekends if he stays? Do you do things together as a family like eat together, do his washing, visit relatives, spend holidays together?
I know I am asking alot of questions, but we need to see how intertwined your lives are, so I can advise further
First please try not to think the worse.
There are still single claimants with tax credits whose exes still live in the same house so just because he is there at weekends does not mean that they are automatically going to treat you as having made a fraudulent claim, which does not appear to be the case anyway.
First you need to give the lady the facts tomorrow -
1) You are separated and have been since xxx date
2) that all the bills apart from the council tax are in your name, as this was tied in with the rental agreement from 2 years ago. But that you can provide evidence that you pay all the bills, and if she would like, you can send copies of bank statements and copies of bills to back this up.
3) State how things are with sleeping arrangements and eating and your general lives, and that he comes to see the children at weekends, and as he has no family, he has no where he can take the children, but if the tax credit office wish to treat him as still living at the property, then that would be a fair assumption, although you must give as much information, to support the fact that you live separate lives.
4) Offer any other evidence of how you live your life as a single person, especially at weekends, when he is there.
5) Advise her to wish to comply in any way possible, and ask her what other evidence would help support the facts as they are.
6) List as many social events that you do just you and the children, or just him and the children, especially family events, holidays and days out.
It would be better if he was paying CSA - so see if you can track what payments he has given you - and the fact these have been few and far between further supports the fact that this is not a relationship, but just two parents, one of which cannot afford to move out, but pays nothing towards the upkeep of the house or your life. Just support for the children to spend as you see fit.
Please do not worry - (and I know its easier said than done) as the truth will help you and this dreadful time
And the CAB are right in their advise
it says on the letter if i dont reply before the 15 th may my claim will be cancelled -should i have just not bothered phoning just let the claim be cancelled and set up csa with him and mysel and me do more hours so i dont need to claim?? im so confused --will the police be involved ?? will they be knocking at my door if i just cancel claim and how do they go about getting the money back :(
No it means that your claim will be canceled and the amount they feel has been overpaid demanded back, so you did right to contact them straight away, then this gives you a chance of explaining the position, and get them to consider the claim fully.
I would still urge you to set up CSA with him, as you do have the right to have a regular amount, and this further endorses the position, but I would wait until such time that this matter has been settled, incase tax credits feel you are just doing this to cloud the issue, and you do not want to jeopardise the position at this stage.
No police will be involved, this is a civil matter at this stage and would only EVER become a criminal matter where huge or serious amounts of fraud are involved (someone claiming for 10 children that do not exist, or someone with claims in several names and addresses)
You do not fall into that category - based on what you have advised
If after a review they decide its not a single claim, then they will work with you, as to how you can pay this back, and often this is by reducing any continuing due claim (as a joint claim if this is how it ought to have been) , or setting up a payment plan with you, where there is no longer a valid claim.
The key is here is that you appear to have done nothing wrong, so I cannot see how the tax credit office can not give you a listening ear on this position.
And yes its alot of money when you write it down but unless you acted in a fraudulent manner, or made a false claim, which does not seem to be the case, then HMRC (at worst) will just want the money paid back.
A best they may revise the claim, with your agreement.
I have seen those cases that lead to jail and they are claims that amount to vast amounts of money (£40,000 + a year) to people that do not exist (other than through identity theft) and hoards of children that do not exist. or have more income that advised, and properties all over the place, real fraud cases, of which this is not one.
You are welcome and I am sure it will all work out fine