Author Topic: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants  (Read 4379 times)

AccessOfficer

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About £16m has been wrongly paid to pensioners on disability living allowance and attendance allowance, the Department of Work and Pensions has said.

The DWP says 1,600 people have been overpaid by £20.55 to £131.50 a week.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18827775

Regards
AO

ChrisPage

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #1 on: 13 Jul 2012 02:54PM »
Let those who made the mistake pay it back, or just suspend payments to those affected until the amount overpaid is balanced.

Monic1511

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #2 on: 13 Jul 2012 03:34PM »
Biggest problem with these overpayments is that the recipients have budgetted for the income they currently have, now they are going to see payment drop by £20.55 or even as much as £131.50 (HRM & HRC)  which is hard to do, I suppose this means in the next 2 weeks I'll see pensioners with the overpayment letters terrified that they owe thousands and how are they going to afford the things they have committed to now  >angry< >angry<
why can't they take this out of the directors of DWP depts bonuses??

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #3 on: 13 Jul 2012 04:09PM »
Perhaps it has been overpaid by that amount, but how much are the underpayments?  Wouldn't be surprised to find they are actually more...  >erm<

Monic1511

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #4 on: 13 Jul 2012 05:55PM »
Underpayments are "1.3billion  >doh<

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #5 on: 13 Jul 2012 06:05PM »
Underpayments are "1.3billion  >doh<

 >lol< Thought so...  >lol<

Sofie

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #6 on: 13 Jul 2012 06:19PM »
What a surprise, not!

suessad

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #7 on: 14 Jul 2012 06:22PM »
So, if they take back the over payments, will they check their records and pay out the under payments.

Let's hope we can find the lawyers, who took on  the Child Poverty Action Group.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8307059.stm

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jul 2012 09:57AM »
From the last link (thank you suessad) :-
 "Judges in the Court of Appeal ruled the government had no power to recoup the overpayments unless they were the result of misrepresentation or fraud."
So they can only get it back if the claimant has been deliberately defrauding the DWP or if someone agrees to repay the DWP for mistakes made.

DWP said in 2009 "Where an overpayment has been made due to an error on our part, we have a duty to the taxpayer to ask for the money back.
"However, we do not enforce repayment as we know that many of our customers are in a vulnerable position and it may not be possible for them to do so."


Still not entirely clear whether the DWP think they could get payments back if they had been overpaid due to an error by a claimant, but the judges certainly seem to think not.  Misrepresentation is a deliberate act, not a mistake.

devine63

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jul 2012 10:29AM »
So what the DWP should do is to write to those overpaid and say "we made a mistake, you've been overpaid.  We are required to ask for the money to be repaid, but we understand that many people simply won't be able to afford to repay - and if that is the case, all you have to do is tell us and no further action will be taken.  Your payments from (date) will be (amount)."

However what do you bet they actually send a nasty, demanding letter implying that everyone must repay and frightens the life out of the people who receive it?
regards, Deb

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #10 on: 15 Jul 2012 11:06AM »
Part of the judgement was that the court recognised DWP didn't intend the letters "to threaten" or "to alarm unduly" - but that many of the clients were vulnerable and they "ordered benefits officials not to send warning letters in future"

It's true that they do have to ask for the money to be repaid but they should make it very clear that any letter isn't a demand for payment but a request for, say, £2 a week if it is possible for the claimant to afford that. 
I wonder if they actually have done that - has anyone had a request for repayment in the last couple of years; if so, did it read like a request or a demand?

Sofie

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #11 on: 15 Jul 2012 11:15AM »
I'm sure in award letters, they do say if they do overpay you, they can take it out of your future payments?

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jul 2012 12:29PM »
The latest leaflet I have with my IB says that if they pay too much (the example given is if you report a change of circumstances but it's too late for them to stop the next payment; that would obviously only ever be applicable to a single payment) they will reclaim that money, though it doesn't say how they might do that. 
 
There isn't anything about taking it from future payments of IB or anything about what happens if you are overpaid due to a mistake.  There's nothing at all on the letter about overpayments, just about your duty to report any changes.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #13 on: 15 Jul 2012 01:44PM »
The easiest way for the DWP to recover overpayments is through deductions from benefit, and not necessarily from the particular benefit that was overpaid.  Four years ago, I incurred a DLA overpayment when a hospital stay exceeded 4 weeks - a few months later, I received a letter from the Income Support office to inform me that weekly deductions were being made from my IS until the overpayment was cleared (I think I may also have had some excess Severe Disability Premium as well).  I didn't object to that method of recovery; I'd rather 'get it over with' than have it come back to bite me on the backside maybe years down the line..

Worth noting also that if a claimant feels the level of deductions is too high, they can ask the DWP to reconsider the amount, although as far as I recall there is no legal right of appeal on this.

seegee

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Re: Disability benefit: £16m overpaid to claimants
« Reply #14 on: 15 Jul 2012 03:00PM »
That's what I understood, Kizzy - that if there is an overpayment the DWP suggest a repayment, usually not all at once, but if it's too much the person who has received the overpayment can have the payments spread over a longer period, usually without any argument from DWP.

The judgement in that case does suggest, though, that unless deliberate fraud or misrepresentation has taken place DWP has "no power to recoup the overpayments". 

Personally, I would pay it back, too - all at once if I could afford it or in instalments otherwise. 
Trying to argue with DWP when I knew I had had money I wasn't entitled to would feel altogether wrong as well as being ridiculously stressful.