Alleged DWP debt from the year 2000

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Hi,

I got a letter from DWP on Sat saying I owe them nearly £300.00, when I called they said this was for a crisis and budgeting loan. I am almost positive (given this was nearly 15 yrs ago) I have not had this money. I have contacted my local MP, but they are threatening an earnings attachment if I don't pay by 5th of Jan. I have claimed Jsa only three or four times in my life, the last claim was in 2006. Why was I not notified about this alleged debt then. DWP said they issued letters to two prev addresses, one address is 7.5yrs old and the other is 15yrs old. I have never had any letter. Why couldn't they get my current address from HMRCas I pay tax and ni?

Does anyone have any advice. Do they have to provide proof of this eg a signed application? I don't believe I owe tjis money and feel it is unfair to demand I pay an alleged debt nearly 15yrs old! How can I reasonably defend myself against them ehen all they say is basically you owe it, pay it. I'm now 35 married with a daughter, I was 21 when I allegedly took out this loan.
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  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
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    wssb wrote: »
    Hi,

    I got a letter from DWP on Sat saying I owe them nearly £300.00, when I called they said this was for a crisis and budgeting loan. I am almost positive (given this was nearly 15 yrs ago) I have not had this money. I have contacted my local MP, but they are threatening an earnings attachment if I don't pay by 5th of Jan. I have claimed Jsa only three or four times in my life, the last claim was in 2006. Why was I not notified about this alleged debt then. DWP said they issued letters to two prev addresses, one address is 7.5yrs old and the other is 15yrs old. I have never had any letter. Why couldn't they get my current address from HMRCas I pay tax and ni?

    Does anyone have any advice. Do they have to provide proof of this eg a signed application? I don't believe I owe tjis money and feel it is unfair to demand I pay an alleged debt nearly 15yrs old! How can I reasonably defend myself against them ehen all they say is basically you owe it, pay it. I'm now 35 married with a daughter, I was 21 when I allegedly took out this loan.

    This is difficult because the DWP have vast reaching powers of recovery including attachment of earnings without going to court:

    http://www.jacksons-law.com/news-details/items/dwp-can-recover-benefit-overpayments-by-instructing-employers-to-make-deductions

    So what are your options?

    1. Dispute the debt and ask for evidence that you owe it.
    2. Send them a statement of income and expenditure and offer £** a month.
  • missapril75
    missapril75 Posts: 1,669 Forumite
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    wssb wrote: »
    ... this was nearly 15 yrs ago...I have claimed Jsa only three or four times in my life, the last claim was in 2006.
    Loans don't necessarily relate to JSA only. Could be anything.
    Why was I not notified about this alleged debt then.
    Why would you be?
    If repaying was interrupted or never began, there would have been letters to you. Certainly a new claim would generally mean the social fund recovery department would be advised and they have the opportunity to begin/restart recovery.

    But you refer to several claims, probably of a short term nature and maybe they ended before deductions could begin.
    DWP said they issued letters to two prev addresses, one address is 7.5yrs old and the other is 15yrs old. I have never had any letter......
    Doesn't mean they weren't sent. They'll send them to the last address held.
    Why couldn't they get my current address from HMRCas I pay tax and ni?
    Back then there was less linking than now. They'll use the last address they have for you.
  • wssb
    wssb Posts: 48 Forumite
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    I never said the loan was meant to have been for JSA, they said it was a budgeting loan. My wife used to work for DWP so I know the linking of claims facility has been existent for a number of years. I last claimed in 2006, I don't understand why I was not made aware of this at that time. I don't believe I ever took out any loan with them. I have absolutely no recollection of this, I am as sure as I can be that I have never had a loan from them.

    I feel I am cornered as what can I do if they just say I owe it. My MP is going to request evidence that I had this loan, I would like to see a signed agreement. It is something I never even heard of before now, although I understand this is a significant time ago this allegedly happened.

    I was really looking for advice from anyone who has experienced this.

    Thanks.
  • missapril75
    missapril75 Posts: 1,669 Forumite
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    wssb wrote: »
    I never said the loan was meant to have been for JSA,
    true enough. But your comment that you "only" claimed JSA 3 or 4 times made it sound like the loan was unlikely as you hadn't claimed enough.
    My wife used to work for DWP
    So you'd likely get better advice from her than here.
    so I know the linking of claims facility has been existent for a number of years.
    But not with the tax office 15 years ago.

    I last claimed in 2006, I don't understand why I was not made aware of this at that time.
    I suggested a likely reason why.
    I was really looking for advice from anyone who has experienced this.
    There are two or three threads on this subject current in the last couple of days and a dozen over the last few months.
    Here are a few search results - there are about 6 threads along the same lines on the first couple of pages and likely more on subsequent pages. Hope you find something useful.
  • dearlouise
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    I didn't think debt could be chased after so many years... 7 is it?
  • dippy3103
    dippy3103 Posts: 1,959 Forumite
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    The option to attach earnings has not existed for long. I guess they are working backwards in time.
  • cazz2013
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    It must be the time of year - I have just received a letter saying that I am owing a social fund payment of £450. From where or when I do not have a clue - I was last on income support over 12 years ago. DWP have enclosed in the letter the repayment plan - they are going to automatically deduct £15 a week from my carers allowance - rather a lot of money to pay back each week - but at least it will be over quickly. I genuinely cannot remember owing this money - but they must have got the figures from some-where. At least they have organized my repayment and sorted it all for me, without the need for me to contact them. Gutted to get the letter - but if I owe it (which I probably do - I don't know) I am just glad they sorted it all automatically for me. Try not to worry too much about it over the Christmas holidays, and deal with it in the new year. x
  • missapril75
    missapril75 Posts: 1,669 Forumite
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    dearlouise wrote: »
    I didn't think debt could be chased after so many years... 7 is it?
    Doesn't apply to DWP.
    I think what's usually said is not that it can't be recovered, but that it can't be recovered via the courts.
  • pebbless3112
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    Ha DWP must be clearing up their books or having a long overdue audit!! My husband has just started to claim ESA Contributory because he has cancer and the DWP have just sent him a demand for a loan to be repaid that he allegedly had out in 1988. I find this quite worrying as IDS is intent in austerity cuts but it would seem the DWP loan out money and after reading this forum take their own sweet time getting repaid, just how many outstanding loans are out there!!!!! Seriously 1988 that is a joke would you not say!!!! Just beware all you new claimants keep good records cos you never know when they may come after you and say you had money off them even if you did not!
  • missapril75
    missapril75 Posts: 1,669 Forumite
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    ...just how many outstanding loans are out there!!!!! ...
    Loads.

    It's the abuse of the system and people avoiding repaying that's caused all the tightening up (including scrapping crisis loans).
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