The council should explain withholding our money

Thursday, 4th August

• REGARDING energy payments issued by Camden Council on behalf of the government, I have been battling against the odds to claim these since April.

I took the payment voucher to the post office along with a utility bill and bank statement but they refused to cash it unless I produced a passport or driving licence, which I don’t have.

I phoned Camden to ask if the money could be paid into my bank account but they said it was not possible, although they might be able to pay it into my council tax account.

I asked if others were experiencing similar problems and was told that those who collect their state pension from the post office are sometimes recognised by the counter staff so photo ID is deemed unnecessary.

Others had been placed on a list to be contacted in due course. Meanwhile I should “sit tight” and wait for a phone call from them. But it never came.

Eventually I was given an appointment so I could be supported to apply online. It was agreed I could produce utility bills, bank statements, and NHS numbers as proof of identity.

But when I arrived the interviewer told me that she could not assist me as I didn’t have any photo ID, and I should not have been given an appointment.

I asked if the money couldn’t simply be paid into my bank, but she shouted “that’s not how we operate” and she began firing questions at me. “Have you got a Freedom Pass… a good birth certificate?” I felt as if I was trapped in a “where are your papers?” interrogation.

I asked how I might get a birth certificate and was told, “that’s for you to figure out”. I left the building feeling humiliated.

Camden waited until late July, after the CNJ contacted them, to send out an amended letter to some, but not all, claimants. The rest of us have been left in limbo. High time Camden explained why they are withholding our money.


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