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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 April, 2003, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Child tax credit worries continue

BBC News Online recently highlighted problems with the new child tax credit system. The Inland Revenue says it is prioritising payments for people who received the old-style tax credits, but some readers are still having difficulties.

The George-Davidson family, from Manchester

"It is now the 25th, and I have checked with the bank again this morning and there is no payment," says Mark George-Davidson.

"Come next week it will be four weeks without payment."

Mr George-Davidson, who lives in Droylsden near Manchester with his wife Alison and their three children, is still waiting for a child tax credit.

It is a nightmare. What was wrong with the old system?
Mr George-Davidson

He says the Inland Revenue has promised to make the payment on three separate dates, but he hasn't received a notification letter or the money yet.

The George-Davidson family used to receive Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), the old-style credit system, which was replaced by the Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit on 6 April.

Mr George-Davidson says he is 100% sure he elected to be paid weekly when he applied last year, and therefore should have received payment by now.

"We were promised payment on the 9th, 12th and then again around the time of the Bank Holiday weekend. But now I can't get through to the helpline. It is constantly engaged."

They keep on saying, don't worry you will get your money backdated, but some people are not in a position to worry

"It is a nightmare. What was wrong with the old system? The old system was great. The money was there in the wage packet.

"It doesn't sound like a much to some people, but it is worth 28 a week... We haven't got the luxury to wait."

"They keep on saying, 'Don't worry you will get your money backdated,' but some people are not in a position not to worry."

Amanda Wilson from Hull

"As each day goes by with no sign of any award notice or payment into the bank. I feel the panic and worry grow," Amanda Wilson wrote in an e-mail to BBC News Online.

Ms Wilson, from Hull, has five children, including Megan Elizabeth, a 13-week baby girl.

She used to receive about 153 WFTC, and her family will qualify for more money under the new system.

All I have done is worry about money since I got her home

All the household bills and expenses come out of the salary of her partner, a lab technician.

With no tax credit payments, she says she is making do with child benefit to get by.

Ms Wilson says she waited until after her baby was born before submitting her tax credit claim, which means she missed the original 31 January deadline.

Megan Elizabeth developed jaundice after the birth, and she was in and out of hospital, says Ms Wilson.

It was therefore difficult contacting the Revenue.

I don't think it is a realistic system for the average person

"Under WFTC, I got the money within seven days. I think it is terrible... It is very embarrassing to ask for help, even when you understand something."

She says the stress and frustration of not being able to plan has taken away some of the enjoyment of having her daughter.

"All I have done is worry about money since I got her home."

But her big concern is whether she can afford new shoes for one of her sons. He received a letter telling him he would be sent home from school next term, if he didn't have the full uniform.

"What about lunch money? What if I run out of nappies for the baby? How can I pay the mounting bills I have?

"I don't think it is a realistic system for the average person."

Credit update

The Revenue said it was "too early to evaluate the introduction" of the new credits, and that it still had until 2 May for the monthly payments to be paid.

It did, however, admit there had been problems with the computer system.

In a statement, it said: "This is the biggest and most complex system that the Inland Revenue and [computer company] EDS have developed - it does work. Millions of payments are being made.

"We are experiencing occasional periods of downtime and slow running but this is not unusual when systems of this scale are introduced."

MPs are being "inundated" with queries about the credits, say the Liberal Democrats.

Are you still having problems claiming the new tax credits, or have you now received your payments? Are you still waiting for a weekly payment, or are you due a monthly amount on 2 May? Are you still having problems getting through to the helpline? Send us your comments using the postform.

Your comments:

I am worse off than I was last year
Judith Jones, England

I filled in all of the relevant claim forms and have not received any further correspondence regarding tax credits. However this morning I have received my pay slip and with a 3.8% pay rise. I am 23 per month worse off than I was last year.
Mrs Judith Jones, England

A good number of us, it seems, used the online system, and are still waiting for the supposed paperwork to arrive. Why didn't the Inland Revenue at least put something on the website about the problems it was having, and what was being done? Perhaps if they had been open about the problems they were having the government would have been forced to allow them more staff to sort it out. I applied in October and have heard nothing, from other comments on the page it is apparent others have had the same experience. They must have been experiencing problems even then, an update on their website then would at least have saved us thousands of pounds in fruitless phone calls.
Paul, England

Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to give this credit to everyone with children?
Caron, England

I got a notification for my husband to fill out more paperwork, the problem being that my husband is out in the Gulf and could not sign the paperwork. I managed to get a letter from my husband's base saying that he is in the Gulf, yet all I got was another letter stating that my husband had not filled in the requested paperwork. As it stands there have been letters upon letters explaining that my husband cannot sign at this moment in time and if they do not let me PP the letters I cannot give them the information they want. No money has been forthcoming from the tax office and the phone lines are constantly engaged. The only reply has been yet another reminder that the paperwork has not been filled in yet.
Desiree, UK

In view of the fact that the helplines appear to be unavailable to so many of us waiting to hear about our claim, the Tax Credit has a duty to post a message on the phone line, or a message on their website to provide an update. I would advise people to go to their local welfare rights advice agency as they can advocate on your behalf. And often CAB's are given a direct line link to government offices to help expedite claims or deal with problems. Also CAB's right across the country will collect actual evidence of the problems claimants are having and this is used to lobby for appropriate changes.
Jackie Taylor, Liverpool, England

No-one need suffer hardship with the contingency plans in place right now
Greg, UK

Don't get angry - get paid - go into your local Inland Revenue enquiry point with proof of ID and your award notice (if you have one) and you will be given a payment to cover the first payment period. If you don't have an award notice the Revenue staff will estimate your entitlement and make a provisional payment. If they pay you too much they will recover the excess from later payments when everything is running more smoothly. No-one need suffer hardship with the contingency plans in place right now.
Greg, UK

The biggest problem seems to be getting through to the helpline - it is just impossible. Surely an organisation as large as the Inland Revenue could divert staff resources to manning the phones?
David Smart, England

Nina Caruana, Suffolk

I applied for weekly payments via the IR website in November 2002. I have yet to receive any kind of acknowledgement of the application, let alone a decision on how much I should be getting. The helpline is constantly engaged, and my finances are looking bad, especially given the NI increase.
Gerry Walter, UK

Wouldn't it just be a lot easier if the government didn't tax us so much in the first place?
David, UK

All these problems calculating and distributing this "tax credit".. Wouldn't it just be a lot easier if the government didn't tax us so much in the first place? Of course, being Labour, their instinct is to tax everyone to the hilt, then make supplicants of us all by so graciously giving back a fraction of the money as "credits". Well, thank you kind Chancellor, I'm tugging my forelock here, ever so grateful for your bountiful largesse...
David, UK

I would have had 240 from the other system by now!! That's a big hole in the family finances. Maybe I should get the Kids to eat less!!
Jess Humphries, UK

The new Child Tax credit has not been publicised very well and I would have thought that anyone who had received the previous Child Tax payments should have automatically been sent the necessary forms to make the claim month ago as the IR has know about this since last year. A total mess as usual.
Martyn Roberts, Wales

I received my notification months ago, but its now four weeks since we were supposed to have received our first payment. and still nothing, I have spoken to them five times, and each time a different story. now I cant even get through to the helpline, we have no money, no food. and no way to get through to them and fix the problem. It seems anything that works (like the old system) this government is intent on destroying.
Luke Walter, Dudley, England

With the old tax code and before the NI change I was 100 a month better off. I have still had no notification of entitlement under the new system, even though I used their online submission. I dread to think how long I may have to wait to get anything. It is impossible to get through on the helpline.
S Cooper, UK

Fortunately we have been receiving our new tax credit weekly since it began. We filled our forms in November and in January received notification that they had received the forms and they were being processed, in March we received notification of exactly what we would receive, in fact last week we received two payments due to the bank holiday Monday. I feel for the people who aren't receiving the money but did they fill their forms in correctly?
Jane , England

I think it is un acceptable and I have emailed my MP. You should too.
John Bryant, UK

If I pay my taxes late, the Revenue will charge interest and penalties. Will they be paying interest and penalties on these late payments? I don't think so!
Will Robert,

We filled in our form last year and sent it in on time. We recently received a letter showing a larger amount as they had us down as being disabled (which we are not). When we asked them to rectify this, they stated that it must have been an inputting error. Now instead of just flagging our application as not being disabled, they have resent us an empty form to start again with!
P Griffin, England

I have been lucky enough to receive payment of credits - but the payment was erratic. I expected teething problems, but as a working single mum I depend on these credits to be able to cover my daughter's nursery fees. I have had to go into the red to pay them and I am not sure when I will receive the next credit.
Emma, Kent

The system is a disgrace - I have been trying the hotline to advise of the birth of our fourth child, and the fact that we may be overpaid - engaged tone every time - when is this farce going to end? Why did they not implement a system to track progress and report changes online? It might have taken the pressure off the phone lines.
David Norris, UK

I know I have just had a comment published. but I thought I would just take a moment to say how much I agree with John Bryant, and that I have also emailed my MP. This is a disgrace.
Luke Walter, Dudley, England

Well, no written notification of the award, but some money went in to the current account yesterday, this after many many phone calls! I am disabled, so maybe that helps to expedite things?

I too am now out of pocket and can get no answers from anywhere. The helpline is always engaged. I earn 70 a week, my rent is 50. I desperately need this sorting.
Pamela , England

I have started receiving credits into my bank this week, 4 so far in 1 week. As I have not yet received the new notification from the IR telling me exactly what to expect I have no idea if the amounts are correct, or even mine. What a state of affairs this is.
Mr Adrian Lee, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

Nothing yet and can not get through on the helpline! Also know lots of other people who have heard nothing! come on Mr Blair!! Sort it out!
Martin Pearson, UK

We filled in the application on the internet, which wasn't easy in itself (it took 2 hours) but as yet, we have received no notification or confirmation of them receiving our application, either by e-mail or post. Neither, like many others, have we received any payment. The "helpline" is permanently engaged. Unlike others, we can survive without payment and it is those that we feel most sorry for, but as a matter of principal the very fact we still haven't had any contact at all is very frustrating and worrying.
L Laurent, Redditch, UK

I sent my form etc months ago. I know they received it as I was contacted by 'phone to verify a small detail. Since then, absolutely nothing. No contact, no money and no idea about what is going on. As we find it impossible to contact them by phone, how on earth are we supposed to find out what is happening?
Diane Chell, England

I received a phone call 3 months ago asking for some finer details so obviously they were dealing with it, so where is our money? We received the old style tax credit and I don't see any sign of the new one! I can't even get through on the helpline number and I've been trying for over a month!
Louise C, Dorset

Submitted my application on line but received no acknowledgement yet! With our household income reducing following tax code changes, the tax credit is vital. Will the Inland Revenue add interest to the payments which could have accrued if the money had been in my account?
Jonathan Grimsey, Macclesfield, England

My life is very difficult in this moment , no payment on tax credit ... and my bills do not stop!!!
Andre Palma, UK

I used to get 180 a month (WFTC)and am now told I will get nothing despite no change in my circumstances. This may be because it is built into the benefit they have shown but I can not get hold of anyone to discuss this with. I have tried every day this week at various times between 8 am and 8 pm and only ever got an engaged tone or "sorry, there is a fault!".
Steve Cox, England

We are a family with three disabled members, one of them a severely disabled child. NO calls are returned as promised. Our files have mysteriously disappeared. A family of five now cannot apply for Housing benefit because there is no award letter, or payment! We work to maintain self respect, but instead the slowness of the government is going to force us onto the dole!
Ruth Leslie, UK

My experience is similar to S Cooper. The Q&A briefing sent to me by my MP has one question: Why do I sometimes have trouble getting through to the helpline?" Well, despite many tries I have NEVER reached anyone who can help. And following the online instructions to contact my local IR Office drew a complete blank. This is Child Support all over again. They never learn!
A Eatough, UK

I'm annoyed that the tax credit calculation is based on a previous years earnings. As a family earnings are reduced whilst the Mum is on maternity leave, my wife was subsequently made redundant also but the tax credit was based on one year when we had two full salaries.
Roger Kirby, UK

What astounds me is that these people (the Inland Revenue) won't even admit to their being a problem. Crazy.
David Hemsley, UK

I was recently made redundant; so I notified the Inland Revenue of my change in circumstances, they promised to update my details and send me a new assessment - more fool me I've been waiting 5 weeks now!!! Absolute travesty. I've tried to phone them - I'm quite sure my engagement before my marriage was shorter - the phones are constantly engaged.
Raj Patel, UK

I am sickened by the new child tax credits. I am disabled and my wife cares for me and our children. Stupidly we applied for the child tax credit last year believing the hype and thinking that we would be better off. We are in receipt of some income support. Now that the credit has come through and we have informed the benefits agency, we are going to loose our help with our mortgage payments, prescriptions, dental treatment, school meals, council tax relief, and so on. So could you get someone from the government to please tell me how I am going to be better off? I have worked my finances out. By stopping hot school dinners for the children, not taking any more of my prescriptions for my disabilities, and refusing to pay council tax, I will be able to pay my mortgage and only be 10 a week worse off than I am now. If I pay everything properly, my family will be 30-40 per week worse off. (I require many medications, + paying council tax, etc). So how is this going to help get my family and especially my children out of poverty? We already purchase their clothes and school uniforms at charity shops. We never take holidays. Our house is in poor repair because we don't have the money. Please get a politician to comfort me and let me know what I should do now.
Very Unhappy, England

I filled in my forms last November, having received WFTC for the last year. I was asked to confirm the birth dates for my two children and had to send their birth certificates!! HELLO I've been receiving WFTC for a year!!! I received confirmation of the amounts to be paid and was asked to confirm if I thought it was right. How am I supposed to check to see if its right when I don't know how they worked it out.
Debbie, Forest of Dean, UK

I was expecting my tax credit as usual and wrote three cheques which should have been covered by the payment, but because I didn't receive it I have incurred nearly 100 of bank charges and have been forced by my bank to return my cheque book and card as apparently legally you are not allowed to anticipate funds. I now have no money at all and even when it does come through I will still owe these bank charges. I am a single working mother and rely on these payments to stay afloat. I feel angry, let down and humiliated. Those who are entitled to tax credits are the least able to afford this delay.
Penny, UK

Six Forum: Tax Credits
17 Apr 03  |  Have Your Say
More tax credit confusion ahead
17 Apr 03  |  Business
Revenue denies tax credits 'chaos'
16 Apr 03  |  Business
Tax credit delay infuriates parent
15 Apr 03  |  Business

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