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Disability Living Allowance overpayment £8000 HELP!!!
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# 1
Lemta
Old 19-03-2007, 11:25 AM
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Default Disability Living Allowance overpayment £8000 HELP!!!

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone could advice me what to do...

My mum went abroad on holiday (she suffers from parkinson's disease, Chronic athritis & depression) but her illness became worse and was unable to return to the UK due to illness. I did inform DWP about this and they stopped her Pension Credit but not the Disability Living Allowance. I just assumed that she was entitled to it that's why they didn't stop it. Now (after almost 3 years) she has come back to the UK, I have again informed DWP. Couple of days ago DLA sent her a letter to say that they overpaid her by £8000 as she shouldn't have been paid whilst abroad!!

My question is: is my mum entitled to DLA if she is unable to return to UK because of illness? What other options does she have in terms of reducing this debt?

My mum is unable to deal with her affairs due to illness so I am trying to sort this out for her. Thanks again if anyone can help...
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# 2
christabell
Old 19-03-2007, 11:36 AM
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I think you must go to the CAB regarding this or see if you can find a Benefits Adviser ( many charities have them) regarding this problem. You may get the run around if you contact the DWP's helpline
Good Luck
Today, my BEST is good enough.
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# 3
bigbill
Old 19-03-2007, 11:38 AM
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Default Dla

When did she get the original DLA award or the most recent award before she left the UK?
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# 4
Lemta
Old 19-03-2007, 11:54 AM
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I think she's been on DLA since 2000. She left the UK in Jan 2004 and came back in Dec 2006
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# 5
krisskross
Old 19-03-2007, 12:14 PM
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What sort of medical care did she have whilst abroad?
Does she or another member of the family have a home abroad?
When we lived in Spain we had to inform the overseas branch of the DWP and the only benefits payable were IB or State pension while we were not resident in the UK.

Does she have to make a new DLA claim now she is back in the UK?

Horrid shock though, that is a huge overpayment.
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# 6
Lemta
Old 19-03-2007, 12:26 PM
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Most of the time was spent in hospital. She doesn't have a house, but she has a daughter there who was looking after her. She has to make a new claim & to make matters worse they have lost the recent claim for Pension & Pension credit (she's currently on Widows benefit which has been stopped). All in all it's a big mess cos she's not getting any money from any benefits! They won't speak to me even though I filled in an appointee form which local services did on a home visit...they can't find that either! I don't know whether to laugh or cry!
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# 7
Morglin
Old 19-03-2007, 12:38 PM
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DLA isn't payable after 4 weeks in any hospital, and is not payable after you have stayed abroad beyond the permitted period..

"Going abroad to live or visit
If you are going to live abroad permanently you cannot usually get Disability Living Allowance.
If your visit abroad is temporary, you may continue to get Disability Living Allowance if:
your absence from Great Britain does not last more than 26 weeks (this includes going on holiday), or
your absence is only to get medical treatment for a condition which began before leaving Great Britain........."

and:

"If you go into hospital, nothing will usually happen to your Disability Living Allowance (DLA) straight away.

If DLA is paid for someone aged 16 or over, it will usually stop after the person has been in hospital for four weeks."

(http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTax...its/DG_4016267)

So, there has been a large overpayment, and it will probably have to be paid back (unless you can prove that you notified DLA Unit).

I really would advise you to speak to the CAB or a Welfare Rights Officer to negotiate with the DWP.

Lin
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# 8
Lemta
Old 19-03-2007, 12:54 PM
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Thanks very much Lin for taking the time to give such an indepth reply...and thanks to everyone else! I think I'll have to pluck up the courage to speak to CAB...

Am I right in thinking that she could claim back 26 weeks of DLA as per your post Lin?
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# 9
krisskross
Old 19-03-2007, 4:56 PM
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Just a thought but if her medical care was in the EU, Spain for example she would have needed an E121 to access long term care. The form has to come from the DWP so if she applied for the E121 then they would have been aware she was not resident in the UK. So the error would be theirs perhaps?
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# 10
bigbill
Old 19-03-2007, 10:39 PM
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Some people who had DLA years ago can take it abroad for good, she is not one off them.

She will need to be here 26 weeks before she can claim again.

She could have tried accessing the same or similar benefit while abroad from that countries benefit system, to late now though.
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# 11
Lemta
Old 20-03-2007, 12:58 AM
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She was in South East Asia...and if you ask the people there about benefits, they wil give you a funny look (they don't have it there!) LOL

I phoned again as a lady I spoke to in the DLA advised me to complete a new claim form...but then after checking the qualifying notes have realised that my mum does not qualify anymore as she is over 65. The next lady I spoke to told me to put everything in writing; that I had informed DLA when my mum went abroad and ask them to re-instate the previous claim which they may be able to do. I don't know what's going to happen to the debt though. I'm going to have to wait and see, and if the worst comes to the worst then I will speak to Welfare Rights or the CAB. (I get the feeling everytime I phone up DLA they just want to get me off the phone; their job must be really stressfull!)


Thanks again to everyone.

Last edited by Lemta; 20-03-2007 at 1:00 AM.
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# 12
Morglin
Old 20-03-2007, 5:50 AM
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If DLA unit has given you an overpayment amount, then I would think they have taken the "26 week rule" into account, and the amount they have given you is the amount overpayed by them, but it is something your adviser can check on.

I wouldn't really try to sort this out on the phone - as you say, they are busy, and a lot of the time the phones are manned by those that don't really understand all the rules etc.,

Put everything in wirting, and keep a copy.

The obligation with DLA payments and awards is on the claimant (or their reps) to inform DLA unit of any change to their circumstances..........informing another department of the changes doesn't "count", although I cannot see why it doesn't (what happened to "joined up government??).

Usually, in these cases, it's not classed as any sort of fraud, but the amount has to be recovered (or, as much as they can). The DWP are restricted to the amount they can take back each week from other benefits (generally about £9.00 per week, but it can go upwards, depending on the income of the claimant).

Your mum cannot submit a new claim for DLA at her age, but she may be entitled to Attendance Allowance - although not if she is in hospital.

The CAB will either sort all of this for you, or refer you on the a WRO who will help.

Lin
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