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    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 11:05 AM
    • 7Posts
    • 1Thanks
    nomad2017
    Universal credit is a nightmare!
    • #1
    • 7th Jan 18, 11:05 AM
    Universal credit is a nightmare! 7th Jan 18 at 11:05 AM
    Good morning everyone and sorry if my English is not so perfect. I am seeking for some advices. I lived before in France and I moved in UK for professional reasons. I heard about "universal credit". I thought to myself that perhaps I could go and claim for it why not? I had nothing to lose and it's never a bad idea to have some extra money, the answer would be either yes or no, end of story. It was not clearly showing on universal credit website which conditions are required to obtain universal credit (eg: you can get UC if you are on a low income.. but they don't tell you the amount of this low income!)

    Anyway I went to JobCentre in August 2017 to claim, I gave them my work contract with the annual salary written on it (19 000 pounds), my ID, my tenancy agreement etc.. I've been told that my application will be studied. 6 weeks later I received 598 pounds from them. I was like: wow! I can have universal credit + my work salary. I was really happy about it. Then next month the "nightmare" began.. They began to ask me my payroll details every month (or I could face a 50 pounds civil penalty), which I did. According to them I was too rich for them, so they stopped paying me universal credit. Last month I gave them my payroll detail as usual (the amount hasn't changed) and.... they sent me 598 pounds again. I called them to say that I have probably been overpaid and they told me that in fact I have been overpaid 1196 pounds (598+598) and that a decision maker will be assigned to my case to tell me how I can repay the money back.. it's been a month and no one came back to me.. Plus I asked them to freeze my account meanwhile so I won't get a third 598 pounds overpayment, the froze the account but this morning I saw that they will pay me in 6 days.... I'm afraid of having a third overpayment...
    As for me I don't want to repay them back 1196 pounds, it is clearly their fault, I gave them all documents required and they made the decision to pay me, knowing that my annual salary is 19 000 pounds (approx 1300 pounds a month), plus they want me to pay a civil penalty because they can't do their job properly..... did someone here encountered the same thing with universal credit? if they ask me to pay back THEIR mistakes, is theire any solution so I can keep their money and most important avoid paying a civil penalty? I never attempted fraud, It was supposed to be simple: "yes you can have UC" or "no you can't have UC".. If I knew this system was so terrible I wouldn't even walk to JobCentre.. Thank you for reading me and any advice would be highly appreciated
Page 1
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 7th Jan 18, 11:40 AM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,426 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #2
    • 7th Jan 18, 11:40 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Jan 18, 11:40 AM
    Good morning everyone and sorry if my English is not so perfect. I am seeking for some advices. I lived before in France and I moved in UK for professional reasons. I heard about "universal credit". I thought to myself that perhaps I could go and claim for it why not? I had nothing to lose and it's never a bad idea to have some extra money, the answer would be either yes or no, end of story. It was not clearly showing on universal credit website which conditions are required to obtain universal credit (eg: you can get UC if you are on a low income.. but they don't tell you the amount of this low income!)

    Anyway I went to JobCentre in August 2017 to claim, I gave them my work contract with the annual salary written on it (19 000 pounds), my ID, my tenancy agreement etc.. I've been told that my application will be studied. 6 weeks later I received 598 pounds from them. I was like: wow! I can have universal credit + my work salary. I was really happy about it. Then next month the "nightmare" began.. They began to ask me my payroll details every month (or I could face a 50 pounds civil penalty), which I did. According to them I was too rich for them, so they stopped paying me universal credit. Last month I gave them my payroll detail as usual (the amount hasn't changed) and.... they sent me 598 pounds again. I called them to say that I have probably been overpaid and they told me that in fact I have been overpaid 1196 pounds (598+598) and that a decision maker will be assigned to my case to tell me how I can repay the money back.. it's been a month and no one came back to me.. Plus I asked them to freeze my account meanwhile so I won't get a third 598 pounds overpayment, the froze the account but this morning I saw that they will pay me in 6 days.... I'm afraid of having a third overpayment...
    As for me I don't want to repay them back 1196 pounds, it is clearly their fault, I gave them all documents required and they made the decision to pay me, knowing that my annual salary is 19 000 pounds (approx 1300 pounds a month), plus they want me to pay a civil penalty because they can't do their job properly..... did someone here encountered the same thing with universal credit? if they ask me to pay back THEIR mistakes, is theire any solution so I can keep their money and most important avoid paying a civil penalty? I never attempted fraud, It was supposed to be simple: "yes you can have UC" or "no you can't have UC".. If I knew this system was so terrible I wouldn't even walk to JobCentre.. Thank you for reading me and any advice would be highly appreciated
    Originally posted by nomad2017
    If this is for real ...

    Universal Credit is for those on a low income, unless you have very high housing costs you are not on a low income.

    When you received the payments you should have had a breakdown of how the amount was calculated. Did you check this, was your salary taken into account? It is up to you to check this information. You'll also have received information on the overpayment notification, what does this tell you?

    Put the overpayments aside, you will have to pay them back. Please keep in mind that this is not free money, it comes from the public purse - the tax payer.
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 1:47 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    • #3
    • 7th Jan 18, 1:47 PM
    Universal Credit
    • #3
    • 7th Jan 18, 1:47 PM
    Hi Boris thank you for your reply. Yes this is for real.. I think there have been both misunderstanding on my side and on UC side.. When I was back in France, I had the same salary than in UK, and they considered me like I had a low income.. I thought it would be the same in UK. I don't understand how come I have to check if they did their job properly.. I provided to them every document they needed for my claim (salary, work contract, ID) at that time.. By checking my UC account, it says that I had earned 0 pounds, this is why they paid me 598 pounds the first time in August (I thought that my annual salary written on the payslip would be enough + when I filled the online form I told them that I earn approx 1300 pounds a month).. no one asked me to provide a detailed payslip at that time (they asked for it later), how come I can guess they need it? This is not my job to do that.. and when they paid me 598 pounds for the second time in December, I declared my november earnings (how much I earned, how much tax I paid, how much NI i paid etc), but yet they considered I earned 0 pound and they gave me 598 pounds....there is clearly something wrong with them.. They never officially asked me to repay back the money, I got no official letter from DWP to repay back the money. Advisor told me on the phone: "I think you have been overpaid twice, I will pass your case to the decision maker and you might have to pay also a civil penalty" I have been told this since 15th december, and until today no one came back to me.. I think it should not be that hard to provide me a bank account number so I can refund their mistakes. I am not a thief, I know this is no free money but I'm not the one who made the mistake to transfer this money into my account.. I am not responsible for them being incompetent and paying me because when I say: "I earned approx 1300 pounds", they understand: "I earned 0 pounds"
    Last edited by nomad2017; 07-01-2018 at 1:49 PM.
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 7th Jan 18, 2:10 PM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,426 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #4
    • 7th Jan 18, 2:10 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Jan 18, 2:10 PM
    Hi Boris thank you for your reply. Yes this is for real.. I think there have been both misunderstanding on my side and on UC side.. When I was back in France, I had the same salary than in UK, and they considered me like I had a low income.. I thought it would be the same in UK. I don't understand how come I have to check if they did their job properly.. I provided to them every document they needed for my claim (salary, work contract, ID) at that time.. By checking my UC account, it says that I had earned 0 pounds, this is why they paid me 598 pounds the first time in August (I thought that my annual salary written on the payslip would be enough + when I filled the online form I told them that I earn approx 1300 pounds a month).. no one asked me to provide a detailed payslip at that time (they asked for it later), how come I can guess they need it? This is not my job to do that.. and when they paid me 598 pounds for the second time in December, I declared my november earnings (how much I earned, how much tax I paid, how much NI i paid etc), but yet they considered I earned 0 pound and they gave me 598 pounds....there is clearly something wrong with them.. They never officially asked me to repay back the money, I got no official letter from DWP to repay back the money. Advisor told me on the phone: "I think you have been overpaid twice, I will pass your case to the decision maker and you might have to pay also a civil penalty" I have been told this since 15th december, and until today no one came back to me.. I think it should not be that hard to provide me a bank account number so I can refund their mistakes. I am not a thief, I know this is no free money but I'm not the one who made the mistake to transfer this money into my account.. I am not responsible for them being incompetent and paying me because when I say: "I earned approx 1300 pounds", they understand: "I earned 0 pounds"
    Originally posted by nomad2017
    You are responsible for checking the information they have based the award on is correct. Yes, they made a mistake, but so did you in failing to check your award letter.

    There is no suggestion that you are a thief, but failing to pay it back would change that, as you would be intentionally keeping money that does not belong to you.

    As already said, keep the money aside for when you are asked to pay it back. You will not be given a penalty (or worse) if you have provided the correct information and continue to communicate with them.
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 7th Jan 18, 2:20 PM
    • 2,842 Posts
    • 2,805 Thanks
    poppy12345
    • #5
    • 7th Jan 18, 2:20 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Jan 18, 2:20 PM
    If it's an overpayment you'll need to pay it back, simple as that. The onus is on the claimant to make sure the details of the payment are correct. It said your salary was 0 yet you knew it wasn't, why didn't you ring and tell them this?

    You had a 2nd payment of 598, which you knew shouldn't have been paid. As you knew it was an error, you must have kept that money so you could pay it back, correct?

    I'm not sure why you thought UK would be the same are France, we aren't France. It will have to be repaid, simple as that.
    • Ames
    • By Ames 7th Jan 18, 4:01 PM
    • 17,304 Posts
    • 30,485 Thanks
    Ames
    • #6
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:01 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:01 PM
    Do you get paid on the same date each month? Is it ever paid early or late? Is your wage paid on the 31st of the month?

    Your UC should be calculated each months between two dates. Do the months when you got UC correspond to times when you didn't get a wage between the UC dates?
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    • #7
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:17 PM
    well yes I am planning to repay back to stop this. I am still waiting for the decision maker to be assigned to my case. I sent them 2-3 messages a day to try speeding things up they ask me to stop and wait
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 4:22 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    • #8
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:22 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:22 PM
    Well I thought the first 598 pounds payment were correct because I thought they paid me knowing how much I win every month (annual salary written on my work contract). This is only when they gave me a second 598 pounds payment (after 2-3 months of 0 pound payment) I realised that I'm being overpaid and that the first 598 pounds payment is also an overpayment. I had to insist myself to say: I'm overpaid, otherwise they would'nt even have noticed. I know I am not in France but I stupidly thought this would be the same principle: you give your work contract, they estimate how much you win each month. They say: you are too rich for benefits or too poor for benefits, end of story. Thought UK would be the same to be honest.
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 4:23 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    • #9
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:23 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Jan 18, 4:23 PM
    and yes I provided correct informations: my work contract, my tenancy agreement, my ID. I complied to everything they asked from me
    • elsien
    • By elsien 7th Jan 18, 4:26 PM
    • 16,563 Posts
    • 41,811 Thanks
    elsien
    Universal credit has had a lot of problems with its implementation - they've messed things up for a lot of people so putting things right isn't necessarily going to be a quick process.
    Stick the money on one side till they get round to asking for it back. You can make a complaint about poor service although whether that would achieve anything is a moot point.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 7th Jan 18, 6:29 PM
    • 2,160 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    Universal credit has had a lot of problems with its implementation - they've messed things up for a lot of people so putting things right isn't necessarily going to be a quick process.
    Stick the money on one side till they get round to asking for it back. You can make a complaint about poor service although whether that would achieve anything is a moot point.
    Originally posted by elsien
    This ^

    All UC overpayments are repayable - even if it arose through official error.

    I would print off and keep all relevant UC journal entries / letters.
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 9:12 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    sure will do... this issue is unacceptable. Imagine if I spent this amount thinking it belongs to me.. I don't understand how they can try a new system and not test it before..
    • nomad2017
    • By nomad2017 7th Jan 18, 9:14 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    nomad2017
    seriously i'd like to keep this overpayment as a lesson for them.. I didn't make the decision to have this money and they paid me knowing I do not have the right to have this money... but I am not an as***le I will pay them back. If only they could provide me with an account number to wire the money but it seems this simple request is too hard for them
    • freezspirit
    • By freezspirit 7th Jan 18, 9:53 PM
    • 980 Posts
    • 1,229 Thanks
    freezspirit
    https://www.gov.uk/benefit-overpayments

    gives information and contact details
    • london2018
    • By london2018 14th May 18, 1:46 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    london2018
    Yes, you will be required to pay back all over payments, whether it was a mistake on their part or not. The idea that you assume you can "keep it as a lesson to them" is pure wishful thinking. They clearly made mistakes because your information may have been insufficient, or someone may have been new at the centre. If you do not repay the amount, they take you to court and you may even be sent to jail on fraud charges.

    Although 19,000 may seem a low income in France it would not qualify you for any support at all in Britain. Britain actually has the lowest paid welfare system in all of Western Europe and also the most difficult one to access. I looked up some figures: Spain actually pay their citizens more than the UK at the absolute lowest 337 (non-contributory unemployment support) to 1,152 /month for the average worker (median income is below that amount). The minimum salary in Spain is 384 per month. State pension in Spain is the minimum amount of 636.10 for a single person. In the UK, a far more expensive economy, the state pension is 163 per week (654 /mo).

    In the UK the minimum income is estimated at 1,187 /month but benefits only pay around 250-308 /month. To cover anything above that they need to top up - if they qualify or are able to.

    British benefit system is not as generous and widely accessible as the media wants people to believe.
    Last edited by london2018; 14-05-2018 at 2:31 AM.
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 14th May 18, 6:47 AM
    • 16,729 Posts
    • 41,345 Thanks
    FBaby
    seriously i'd like to keep this overpayment as a lesson for them..
    If there is a lesson to be learned, it's that you should never assume that any governmental body is going to care about you as an individual and take any responsibility for your welfare. You are only a number to them and it is your responsibility to do your research to find out whether what is happening to you is right. They give you money, they shouldn't have, they take it back, that's how the system work and if you'd taken time looking into it first instead of just trying to get easy extra money, you would have understood that and not bothered to apply in the first place.

    So lesson learned, pay what you owe, and next time, do your homework before thinking you're on a good thing.
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