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Resolving tax credit delays for refugee family

Law Centre (NI) helped a couple who had been suffering hardship through unnecessary delays in obtaining Child Tax Credit (CTC). They had been granted refugee status a few days after registering their baby’s birth. They made a joint claim for Child Tax Credit soon afterward but were not given a decision for over four months.

They contacted HMRC on three occasions and were told that their case was with the compliance unit and that they should allow four weeks for their claim to be processed. The same explanation was given to a British Red Cross support worker who enquired why the claim to CTC had not been processed when Child Benefit had been awarded.

British Red Cross contacted us for help and we notified HMRC that if a decision was not made within 14 days we would initiate JR proceedings. HMRC promptly awarded weekly payments of £63.84 and paid nearly £1,295.04 in arrears. 

This case illustrates an issue we have often encountered with refugees experiencing unexplained delays with payment of tax credits. The problems often appear to be resolved only when HMRC are threatened with legal action on a case-by-case basis. We have met with HMRC to address the causes of these delays in processing.

Others affected and their representatives should take advice from the Law Centre. Our specialist social security advice line: 028 9024 4401

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