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DWP ESA Overpayment?
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# 1
IanG1471
Old 02-04-2012, 7:11 AM
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Default DWP ESA Overpayment?

I am disabled and claim ESA (Support Group), DLA, I also receive a small amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.

In December last year, I was awarded my Occupational Pension early from my previous employers based on permanent incapacity. The Pension is for approx 100 per week, so over the 85 weekly disregard for ESA. Thus my ESA should I believe be reduced by 50% of the excess over 85.00 so circa 7.50 per week.

As required, I immediately informed both the DWP and the local authority about the pension, sending in full details to the DWP by Special Delivery (I have copies of all the information supplied plus the Special Delivery receipt and copy of the delivery confirmation). I also visited the local authority who more or less straight away reduced the amount of housing benefit & council tax benefit I receive, based on the Pension. However in the calculation they still treat me a being in receipt of full ESA until such time as they are told otherwise by the DWP.

By mid January this year, I had heard nothing from the DWP, so made a series of phone calls to them (all logged on my itemised billing on my home telephone and I have details of whom I spoke to). I was repeatedly told I would be rung back by the ESA office dealing with my claim, but despite staying by the phone at the agreed times and until much later, no one has ever rung back.

In February I again wrote a new letter to the DWP, also sending in copies of the information previously supplied and asking them to expedite the change to my ESA. I again sent all this by Royal Mail Special Delivery and have the receipt and copy of the delivery report).

By mid March, still nothing from the DWP and I was still being paid full rate ESA (in fact even last weeks payment was at the full amount again).

As I was getting no joy from the DWP despite even more phone calls, I felt I had no option but to write to my MP. At least I received a reply from her stating she has forwarded my complaint and details to the DWP's Regional Director and written a covering letter. So hopefully this should be taken note of.

Now the problem, due to being 'overpaid' the ESA by circa 7.50 per week, the local authority base both my Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit amounts as being in receipt of this overpayment - thus I receive 7.50 less HB and 7.50 per week CTB and have to pay this out of my money (ie ovepraid 7.50 but losing 15 because of it).

Also I receive carers from the County Council who again treat me as being in receipt of the excess ESA, hence I am also paying them 7.50 per week extra for my care.

So overall by being in receipt of this 'extra' 7.50 that I am not entitled to, I am paying out 22.50 per week. I spoke to the local authority about it however they say when it is eventually sorted out, they can only backdate any correction made to 4 weeks with regards to the HB and CTB, but the County Council will not backdate any change with regards to paying for my care.

The question is, should this overpayment now be regarded as official error by the DWP and written off instead of being trated as an overpayment? I have, after all done everything (and more) than I should need to have done in informing them. It is fully down to them that this mess has arisen. Plus is it possible to recoup from them the extra payments I have had to make to cover my HB and CTB and also my care package?.

I just have a feeling they will still treat it as an overpayment and take it back, which will then have a knock on effect on my other benefits and care package (I will be treated as still receiving full ESA if it is adjusted to cover an overpayment apparently!) So I will be worse off for an even longer period.

Any help appreciated.

Ian
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# 2
Molly41
Old 02-04-2012, 7:17 AM
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I am in exactly the same position (reading your post has spooked me as it is a re-run of my case) and like you wrote to them twice and delivered by Special Delivery. Im no further forward too so will be very interested in any replies.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
When the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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# 3
IanG1471
Old 02-04-2012, 2:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly41 View Post
I am in exactly the same position (reading your post has spooked me as it is a re-run of my case) and like you wrote to them twice and delivered by Special Delivery. Im no further forward too so will be very interested in any replies.
Hi Molly,

Albeit it is a bit of a relief to know it is not just me, I do feel for you as I it seems we are up against a brick wall with this.

I really would love to find out if this overpayment can be written off now as it is a worry and a real pain. The worst thing is, that if I had failed to inform the DWP of my pension I could be prosecuted!!. I personally feel the DWP should be prosecuted for not dealing with matters in a timely manner.

I will let you know how I get on anyway and hopefully members here maybe able to offer us both some advice.

Ian.
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# 4
Molly41
Old 02-04-2012, 6:30 PM
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Likewise I will also let you know how I get on. I have just had the forms through to update pension details and no doubt that will trigger another letter from me with copies of all the letters i sent and postage details as I dont want to be accused of not informing them.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
When the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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# 5
rogerblack
Old 02-04-2012, 6:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanG1471 View Post
I really would love to find out if this overpayment can be written off now as it is a worry and a real pain.
As I understand it - and I can't find the exact provision in question - the overpayment is not recoverable only if you do not know that it is an overpayment.

If you do, then it may well be.

(This is probably only true until the debt is 5/6 years old)

After sending the first letter recorded delivery, and not getting anything, you could in principle make the argument that you assumed that it must be right.

After the second - this gets hard to argue.

The best tack is probably to put the money aside, in a high interest account.
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# 6
Elvisia
Old 02-04-2012, 6:59 PM
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I was at the CAB the other day as I have an overpayment issue too, and they said - and it's on the DWP website - that if the overpayment is your fault it's repayable, if it's their fault (and you have evidence of this) you don't have to repay it. Is there anyway you could get to the CAB? However you sound as though you now what hoops to jump through.

Otherwise put it away just in case, and then make an appeal if it looks like you'll end up out of profit. I think you'll find getting your MP on the case works wonders! It did for me!
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# 7
jonliv
Old 02-04-2012, 11:17 PM
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OP Were you on Incapacity Benefit when you started to receive your occupational pension? and are now migrated to ESA? Are you on the highest rate of DLA?

If so these transitional arrangements may apply to you and your occupational pension will be ignored for the purpose of ESA

41. Contributory ESA customers and Incapacity Benefit customers who claimed after 2001 have
half the amount of any income from occupational pension over 85 per week deducted from
their contributory benefit. However Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance
customers who claimed benefit prior to 2001 or are entitled to higher rate care component of
DLA have any occupational pension fully disregarded.
If, on migration to ESA, ESA rules are
applied to these customers, those with occupational pensions over 85 per week could see
a significant reduction in their benefit. Therefore to ensure that customers do not see a
reduction in their benefit on migration the occupational pensions disregard will be carried
forward into ESA for customers who currently have any occupational pension disregarded.
This will mean that there will be different rules for the treatment of occupational pension in
ESA until there are no customers with an occupational pension disregard remaining on ESA.
This will protect the level of benefit for up to 30,000 people.
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# 8
Molly41
Old 03-04-2012, 5:29 AM
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Hi. I dont know about the OP (but our cases are identical on paper) but I was always on ESA Contributions in the Support Group. I even sent them a calculation (my own) of the amount that I owed them. All I got back was a letter stating that they had looked at my claim and the amount I was getting was the same as before! I am on high rate DLA for both Mobility and Care.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
When the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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# 9
IanG1471
Old 03-04-2012, 5:56 AM
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonliv View Post
OP Were you on Incapacity Benefit when you started to receive your occupational pension? and are now migrated to ESA? Are you on the highest rate of DLA?

If so these transitional arrangements may apply to you and your occupational pension will be ignored for the purpose of ESA

41. Contributory ESA customers and Incapacity Benefit customers who claimed after 2001 have
half the amount of any income from occupational pension over 85 per week deducted from
their contributory benefit. However Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance
customers who claimed benefit prior to 2001 or are entitled to higher rate care component of
DLA have any occupational pension fully disregarded.
If, on migration to ESA, ESA rules are
applied to these customers, those with occupational pensions over 85 per week could see
a significant reduction in their benefit. Therefore to ensure that customers do not see a
reduction in their benefit on migration the occupational pensions disregard will be carried
forward into ESA for customers who currently have any occupational pension disregarded.
This will mean that there will be different rules for the treatment of occupational pension in
ESA until there are no customers with an occupational pension disregard remaining on ESA.
This will protect the level of benefit for up to 30,000 people.

Hi,

No, my pension only started after I was migrated to ESA. When I was on IB I was not in receipt of the pension.

I only receive the middle rate of DLA hence the info you posted does not apply in my case. Thanks anyway though as it maybe of help to others.

Ian
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# 10
IanG1471
Old 03-04-2012, 6:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerblack View Post

The best tack is probably to put the money aside, in a high interest account.
I would do that but as I stated in my first post, due to receipt of this 'overpayment' of ESA, I am assessed as being in receipt of this extra amount for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and also for paying for my care package.

Thus although being overplayed by circa 7.50 ESA, it has the knock on effect of reducing my HB and CTB by the same amount (meaning I personally have to make up the extra) and also pay an extra 7.50 per week towards my care package. So trying to 'save' this overpayment is in reality impossible due to the extra I am having to fork out,.

If the DWP don't write it off (or even if they do) I will still be worse off overall due to this delay in processing the information about my pension. The longer this goes on the worse off I will be as the council will only backdate any change to HB/CTB to 4 weeks and the care package will not have any backdate applied.

I presume ultimately my only options maybe either to take my case to the independent case examiner or take the DWP to the small claims court to recover the losses?

Ian
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# 11
Better Days
Old 03-04-2012, 4:28 PM
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When I first claimed IB I was also overpaid as a result of an occupational pension. As I claimed IB part way through the year I wrote to the DWP giving them details of my pension and the letter was hand delivered to the local JCP.

They didn't action my letter and I didn't follow it up as I was in relapse at the time and very poorly indeed.

The next year they sent me a form relating to my occupation pension. I filled it in and returned it. The DWP then wrote to say that I owed them about 100. I wrote back and told them that they had been informed of my situation, but they hadn't acted on it. It went to their compliance section who dithered for a year (yes a year) and then wrote and told me they wouldn't be pursuing the 100.

With regards to getting some sense out of the DWP have you telephoned and asked to speak to a manager? This can sometimes facilitate the process.

With regards to filling in the annual form with regard to the pension - make sure you send it back quickly even if you don't know what the uprated amount will be. I had my benefit stopped without notice one year as I was waiting for notification of the uprating.
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# 12
Molly41
Old 03-04-2012, 7:55 PM
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With my case the DWP did action it and sent me a letter stating thy had re-looked at my claim as there was a change to the money coming in and then went on to state that there was no change. I had sent them a letter with my calculations of my overpayment but still no change. So what do I do now? I absolutely refuse to telephone them as I just get told such conflicting information.

I agree about getting the forms back promptly and have sent mine back by return post as I knew it was going up by 5.2%.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over and through me. When it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
When the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Molly41 is online now
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# 13
Byatt
Old 03-04-2012, 9:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonliv View Post
OP Were you on Incapacity Benefit when you started to receive your occupational pension? and are now migrated to ESA? Are you on the highest rate of DLA?

If so these transitional arrangements may apply to you and your occupational pension will be ignored for the purpose of ESA

41. Contributory ESA customers and Incapacity Benefit customers who claimed after 2001 have
half the amount of any income from occupational pension over 85 per week deducted from
their contributory benefit. However Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance
customers who claimed benefit prior to 2001 or are entitled to higher rate care component of
DLA have any occupational pension fully disregarded.
If, on migration to ESA, ESA rules are
applied to these customers, those with occupational pensions over 85 per week could see
a significant reduction in their benefit. Therefore to ensure that customers do not see a
reduction in their benefit on migration the occupational pensions disregard will be carried
forward into ESA for customers who currently have any occupational pension disregarded.
This will mean that there will be different rules for the treatment of occupational pension in
ESA until there are no customers with an occupational pension disregard remaining on ESA.
This will protect the level of benefit for up to 30,000 people.
Where can I find this quote online please? I have just been told I have been overpaid and owe them money, and this despite having all information about my Occ Pension for years! It appears somewhere along the line, details have not been updated. I have also told them about the info quoted by jonlive (thanks btw), and nothing has happened. It's all very frustrating.

Sorry OP, I don't have an answer for you.

edit: I did have a call one day recently from the dept dealing with my occ pension details and they asked if I had TWO pensions as they had 2 sets of details. I said I should be so lucky. Never heard anymore.

Last edited by Byatt; 03-04-2012 at 9:09 PM.
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