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Overpayments of benefits due to official error

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Overpayments of benefits due to official error

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To what extent are overpayments due to official error recoverable from the claimant?
I am not talking about where the claimant has made erroneous or negligent declarations, rather where eg claimant has made a disclosure and department has not acted upon it.

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  • KatrinaWavesKatrinaWaves Forumite
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    Which benefit? 

    the onus is also on the claimant to check their award notices to see if mistakes have been made. 
  • NedSNedS Forumite
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    On UC all over-payments are recoverable, regardless if they are due to official error.
  • edited 27 July at 4:45PM
    calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    edited 27 July at 4:45PM
    BriNylon said:
    To what extent are overpayments due to official error recoverable from the claimant?
    I am not talking about where the claimant has made erroneous or negligent declarations, rather where eg claimant has made a disclosure and department has not acted upon it.
    For legacy benefits overpayments caused by official error are not recoverable but officiously official error needs to be demonstrated.
     As Ned says for UC all overpayment are recoverable regardless of cause (which unfortunately doesn't give DWP any incentive to resolve errors quickly).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    At one time, letters to claimants about overpayment due to official error were worded in such a way that people thought they had to repay it.  The letter wording was changed after a legal challenge.  That was for legacy benefits e.g. ESA, JSA.  The change of rules, enabling all over-payments to be recovered, was brought in, in my opinion, due at least in part because insufficient staffing levels meant they didn't have time to do changes in a timely manner.  I know that some changes weren't actioned for over 6 months from the date of receipt where I worked.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    TELLIT01 said:
    At one time, letters to claimants about overpayment due to official error were worded in such a way that people thought they had to repay it.  The letter wording was changed after a legal challenge.  That was for legacy benefits e.g. ESA, JSA.  The change of rules, enabling all over-payments to be recovered, was brought in, in my opinion, due at least in part because insufficient staffing levels meant they didn't have time to do changes in a timely manner.  I know that some changes weren't actioned for over 6 months from the date of receipt where I worked.
    That reinforces my opinion too. The change is contrary to natural justice.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • speedfreek1000speedfreek1000 Forumite
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    NedS said:
    On UC all over-payments are recoverable, regardless if they are due to official error.

    Unless you can demonstrate that recovery would cause the claimant hardship.

    That might lead to reduced re-payments or it being waved. But apparently very difficult to get them to agree too. 

    I'd also keep all paper work as it's highly probable that it will periodically re-appear in random DWP debt trawls and they try and recover it again.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    speedfreek1000 said: That might lead to reduced re-payments or it being waved. But apparently very difficult to get them to agree too. 
    Correct but unfortunately the last bit of your sentence is the most telling!
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
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