By – Cara Ellen Rose
Ever decreasing circles ?
Claims of incompetence and injustice are rife this week, due to a company employed by HMRC to check child tax credit claims of their clients were up to date. Families have been left to struggle for months with their claim inactive, and many are claiming the reasons divulged to them for this drastic action are false.
Concentrix Corporation, an American company, was brought in to perform automated 'compliance checks'. it is those checks that have left many living on the breadline feeling victimised and dehumanised, as many say these checks are resulting in suspension termination of their claim. Whilst these investigations are in place, the client has to survive without this money and many are having to turn to food banks to survive and feed their families. There have also been many cases where the client has been asked to show evidence of their entitlement, and even once they have done this, have still been refused payment.
the triggers of these checks are not made public, but possible reasons for a break in support include:
Bills that are still in joint name, eg mobile phones, utility bills
cedit cards still in joint names
joint bank accounts (even if they are not used)
Electoral roll records still listing your ex-partner as a resident in your home
council tax bills that still show an ex-partners name
tenancy agreements in joint names registered at your property
Your child's details appearing in financial records (if they are an adult but still living at home)
A victim of a recent investigation, recieved her letter notifying her of a cancellation on friday. This was a great shock to her as she recieved the letter the day HMRC were due to credit her bank account. Her local mp has been contacted, but was not available. as yet there has been no response, leaving her to go a whole weekend without guidance. As someone who works very hard, with two autistic children to look after, this has caused unwarranted stress and impacted her family greatly. A benefit that is a lifeline to a household has been snatched away with no acceptable explination.
There are many others experiencining similar issues, with some waiting as long as eight weeks. Cases have also been reported in which the client has been called a liar, and been degraded by Concentrix staff. Many are finding this too much to bear, and are making emotionally charged calls to the firm, feeling suicidal at the loss of their lifeline. Staff of the company have been given limited, if any, training to deal with these calls which has called those monitoring the phones in distress due to the suffering of those calling to find out how they are supposed to feed their children and keep their homes.
This is not the first time an outside company has been brought in to provide a service to those needing suppport. ATOS was contracted to perform similar checks, and also medical examinations on disabled people in 2012. This resulted in thousands of deaths, and the suffering of those who are vulnerable in our society. It would appear the cull of those recieving benefits has now shifted to single working parents who need to top up their earnings to survive.
Advice given to resolve this issue has been limited, but many have said calls to local MP's could help resolve these issues relatively quickly. it has also been reported that a meeting with a CAB advisor can aid a return of tax credit payments. However many are expressing outrage at not recieving a full refund for the time they were without vital support.
The tory government claimed nobody would get left behind in our society with them in power, and many voted conservative for this reason. The people targeted by these concentrix investigations are single and low income parents, trying to work and support their families, but are not making enough due to the absense of a reasonable living wage in this country. This benefit would not even be needed if those who are vulnerable could earn enough to live. Until the government realises the struggle of those in need, we are destined for many more repeat mistakes of this nature.
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