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DWP Overpayment
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# 1
SteveMetal
Old 12-07-2010, 9:56 PM
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Default DWP Overpayment

My wife has received a letter from DWP Debt management about an overpayment for Carer's Allowance which she owes which dates back to January - March 2002.

The letter is asking her to pay back the money immediately and giving her the option to contact them to discuss repayment terms. The letter ends in:
What happens next
If we do not hear from you by 03/08/2010 we will consider taking further action to recover this money from you, therefore please do not ignore this letter.

Now I am aware that they cannot take court action to recover this money due to the debt being over 6 years old, and the only way they can get the money is by deducting it from benefits (which she currently does not receive).

I am guessing that going by the wording in the last paragraph they are aware of the fact that they cannot enforce this debt and are hoping she will just pay up.

She is not even convinced that she owe's this money as she thought she had finished claming this benefit back in October 2001, but she is not certain on this.

Are there any template letters which I post off to them requesting information of the dates and payments for which she has supposedly received these overpayments, and also requesting proof that she owes this debt. And due to the age of it would it be worth sending a letter stating the fact that it is over 6 years old and has become unenforceable in law. Again, are there any template letters for this?

I've seen the Statue Barred template letters but i'm guessing that the wording on this letter would not be suitable for the DWP.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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# 2
alwaysonthego
Old 12-07-2010, 10:40 PM
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Try www.nationaldebtline.co.uk for template letters.

You should send a letter, recorded delivery, saying that your wife does not acknowledge the debt and would like to proof of how they have worked out the debt. As you have correctly said if she does owe this money, although they cannot enforce it throgh the courts if it is statued barred, they can take it out of her benefits.
I'm a Board Guide on the Benefits & Tax Credits, Food Shopping & Groceries, Freebies (no spend required), Health & Fitness, Marriage, Relationships & Families, Music MoneySaving, Special Occasions & Other Celebrations boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. However, please remember board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this).
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# 3
alwaysonthego
Old 12-07-2010, 10:52 PM
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http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/en...7154_91011.pdf
I'm a Board Guide on the Benefits & Tax Credits, Food Shopping & Groceries, Freebies (no spend required), Health & Fitness, Marriage, Relationships & Families, Music MoneySaving, Special Occasions & Other Celebrations boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. However, please remember board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this).
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# 4
SteveMetal
Old 12-07-2010, 11:22 PM
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Thanks for the link, that is the standard Statue Barred letter, is it best just to send that letter off or is it worth me asking them to prove she owes this money by providing copies of the supposed overpayments? I'm guessing and hoping that they would no longer have these documents.
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# 5
SteveMetal
Old 12-07-2010, 11:32 PM
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Also does the Statue Barred letter apply to the DWP, as they are a bit different to the usual Law firms. I know the 6 year rule still applies, but is it still classed as Statue Barred?
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# 6
alwaysonthego
Old 13-07-2010, 7:40 AM
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Statued Barred basically means that they cannot take you to court to pursue it, so yes providing that she has not been in contact with them within the 8 years then it will be SB.

I am going to move this thread to DFW to see if you get any more response.
I'm a Board Guide on the Benefits & Tax Credits, Food Shopping & Groceries, Freebies (no spend required), Health & Fitness, Marriage, Relationships & Families, Music MoneySaving, Special Occasions & Other Celebrations boards. I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. Any views are mine and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. However, please remember board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this).
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# 7
munchings-n-crunchings
Old 13-07-2010, 8:46 AM
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Even though the over payment is not recoverable through the courts, you are correct in the fact is is, and will be recoverable from any benefit.
It may be the case, that your wife is not currently in receipt of benefit, but later in life, it could be deducted from any pension entitlement, which is a vulnerable time to be having a debt recovered.

Try and get clarification of how the overpayment came about, and to make a payment arrangement if the money is owed.

Regards
Munchie
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# 8
beanielou
Old 13-07-2010, 9:13 AM
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Actually DWP have quite far reaching powers to recover money owed to them.
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# 9
SteveMetal
Old 13-07-2010, 2:13 PM
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I shall send a letter off, not acknowledging the debt, requesting information on the exact dates of this debt and to provide detailed information on how this debt came about, including proof of any overpayments which were received.

Not sure if they will be able to find this information due to the age of it, but maybe that's the best route to take for now.

And if they can not provide this information then surely they cannot chase a debt which they have not proof of.

Last edited by SteveMetal; 13-07-2010 at 2:19 PM.
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# 10
Ames
Old 13-07-2010, 5:31 PM
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DWP debts don't become statute barred to the best of my knowledge. Debt to the government is a whole different kettle of fish to commercial debt.

But all is not lost.

How was the debt incurred? If your wife was at fault, ie didn't tell them of a change in circumstances, then it will need to be repaid.

If the DWP was at fault, ie they were given all the information they needed at the right time etc, then all they can do is ask for it back.

You probably need someone like CAB or DIAL to help fight it though, it's a really tough area to get results from.

Sorry it's not better news.
Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
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# 11
crabyducky
Old 13-07-2010, 11:06 PM
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I was under the impression that DWP could take overpayments out of your wage packet if you wernt on benefits.

My brother in law had an overpayment from them which he neve paid back due to the time scale and the fact he didn believe he was overpayed, then when he went to claim benefits after being made disabled he found he was not able to claim as it was on his file as benefit fraud.
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# 12
Gill247
Old 14-07-2010, 10:31 AM
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I worked for DWP Debt Management for 10 years. You should take this seriously and deal with it now becuase;

a) Benefit debt is not time barred.
b) Once the overpayment is calculated and in the system it will not be forgotton about. If you wife is on benefits then a % of these will be deducted to pay towards the overpayment. If you wife is working then the overpayment will be passed to another department that will request details of your wifes income and expenditure and if a payment plan is not reached then it is highly likely they will arrest a % of wages. This is extremely common for DWP. They will puruse debt until it is recovered. When someone dies in the UK with any outstanding overpayments these are recovered from the estate and take priority over any other claim. Millions of pounds are recovered each year through Recovery from Estates. As someone else has commented, it is best to sort this out now as it will not go away.
c) DWP would not have written to your wife if they did not have evidence of this overpayment. Records are held back to 1980. You can request copies of the calculation and any other evidence, i.e., copies of your wifes signature on claim forms.
d) overpayments can occur and be liable for repayment even if your wife did nothing wrong.

DWP has an extremely high success rate in recovering overpayments. Although many people appeal the overpayment decision only a tiny percentage have the decision overturned.
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# 13
Marisco
Old 14-07-2010, 10:38 AM
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Hi Gill, Just as an aside, why can the DWP claim back money if it is their fault? That is very unfair if someone has done everything by the book, i.e informed them of change of circumstance etc.
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# 14
SteveMetal
Old 14-07-2010, 11:10 AM
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Thanks for your input Gill, regarding the debts not being time barred, I've seen this listed on a few different debt sites:

Benefit Overpayments & Social Fund Loans

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has 6 years to take action through the courts to recover benefit overpayments and social fund loans. This time starts running from the date of the final decision made on the overpayment and from when the social fund loan was due to be paid. But the DWP are still allowed to make deductions from your benefit for a debt over 6 years old as they dont need to go to court to do this. This applies to overpayments of benefits such as income support, job seekers allowance, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and paying back social fund loans.

So it looks like the Statue Barred does apply as they cannot take her to court over this, but they can get the money off her in the future through any benefits she may possibly claim.

Rather than go down the Statue Barred route I shall be sending a letter off, requesting information on the exact dates of this debt and to provide detailed information on how this debt came about, including proof of any overpayments which were received.

She probably will end up arranging a payment plan with them as like you and other people have said, she will sooner or later end up paying for it.
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# 15
Gill247
Old 14-07-2010, 5:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marisco View Post
Hi Gill, Just as an aside, why can the DWP claim back money if it is their fault? That is very unfair if someone has done everything by the book, i.e informed them of change of circumstance etc.

This is becuase DWP have different powers than say a credit card company or debt recovery agency. Benefits are paid from public money therefore DWP have a responsibility to ask for this money back even if the claimant has been honest and provided all information on time. The most common overpayment is caused whem a claimant notifies DWP of a change in circumstances but it is too late to stop that weeks payment, so then there would be an overpayment of 6 days etc.
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# 16
Gill247
Old 14-07-2010, 5:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMetal View Post
Thanks for your input Gill, regarding the debts not being time barred, I've seen this listed on a few different debt sites:

Benefit Overpayments & Social Fund Loans

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has 6 years to take action through the courts to recover benefit overpayments and social fund loans. This time starts running from the date of the final decision made on the overpayment and from when the social fund loan was due to be paid. But the DWP are still allowed to make deductions from your benefit for a debt over 6 years old as they dont need to go to court to do this. This applies to overpayments of benefits such as income support, job seekers allowance, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and paying back social fund loans.

So it looks like the Statue Barred does apply as they cannot take her to court over this, but they can get the money off her in the future through any benefits she may possibly claim.

Rather than go down the Statue Barred route I shall be sending a letter off, requesting information on the exact dates of this debt and to provide detailed information on how this debt came about, including proof of any overpayments which were received.

She probably will end up arranging a payment plan with them as like you and other people have said, she will sooner or later end up paying for it.
Hi Steve,

The above is correct however please note that where it states 'The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has 6 years to take action through the courts to recover benefit overpayments and social fund loans. This time starts running from the date of the final decision made on the overpayment' this means that the 6 years starts from when your wife was notified of the overpayment, i.e., as this was 'when the final decision was made on the overpayment'.

I can understand that if this overpayment dates back to 2002 it can seem ridiculous that they would only be contacting your wife now, however Debt Management have such a backlog that it can sometimes take this long to calculate and make a decision to recover.

I think you are doing the right thing in writing back to them to ask for details of the overpayment and evidence of this.

DWP are very good in agreeing payment terms. They would rather have this being paid off at 10 per month than taking it to court for earing arresstment or deducting from benefits. They will probably ask for a copy of income and expenditure to come to an agreed amount.

Good luck!
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# 17
SteveMetal
Old 14-07-2010, 5:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gill247 View Post
DWP are very good in agreeing payment terms. They would rather have this being paid off at 10 per month than taking it to court for earing arresstment or deducting from benefits. They will probably ask for a copy of income and expenditure to come to an agreed amount.

Good luck!
Thanks Gill,

I would rather not provide them with copies of income and expenditure, we would probably offer them something like 50 per month, once we've received proof of this overpayment, surely they will accept that.

Last edited by SteveMetal; 14-07-2010 at 5:44 PM.
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# 18
beanielou
Old 14-07-2010, 5:49 PM
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Unlikely they will accept an offer of payment without proof of income/exp.
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# 19
SteveMetal
Old 14-07-2010, 8:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beanielou View Post
Unlikely they will accept an offer of payment without proof of income/exp.
Surely they are not going to turn down an offer of payment if I refuse to give them details of income etc. I'm concerned that if I give them these details they will ask for a ridculous amount of money per month.

Anyway, before we even contact them about sorting out a payment plan I will be writing to them wanting to see detailed proof of this overpayment.
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# 20
aleaper
Old 18-07-2010, 9:39 PM
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Default Incapacity Benefit overpayment

Hi folks
I am also in a similar situation. I recently received a letter from DWP stating that I owed them around 370. When I asked 'what for' ? they said it was for an incorrect payment of incapacity benefit dating from 1997 !!

Re. them being able to deduct from benefits does this apply to Inacapacity Benefit as this is not listed under the benefits they can deduct from?
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