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  • FIRST POST
    • Nomissbocaj
    • By Nomissbocaj 9th Jul 18, 8:27 AM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Nomissbocaj
    Dept. Work & Pensions debt
    • #1
    • 9th Jul 18, 8:27 AM
    Dept. Work & Pensions debt 9th Jul 18 at 8:27 AM
    Hello there,
    I am speaking on behalf of my partner. A number of years ago she suffered an illness for a few years and was supported by benefits. She also suffers from high mental health issues. Thankfully she progressed and was able to return to work eventually. However she was more focussed on surviving and continuing to do so, subsequently the benefits still came in during her employment.
    She understood the benefits to be something paid to her until she was 100% recovered, and wasn't in a right mental state to fully understand the situation.Dwp now say due to her not informing them of her employment she is now required to pay 15000 back and will only accept a minimum of 250 monthly repayments, which is almost a third of her monthly wage. Thus now potentially causing her further debt, stress and recurrence of illness.
    My post is to understand whether anyone knows where she stands. I am surprised they have been so forceful knowing her history and not delving into her current finances before demanding such a high repayment fee. Leaving her without money for general expenses and food, of which I now have to support her with.
    Hope someone can help.. Thank you.
Page 1
    • midnight express
    • By midnight express 9th Jul 18, 9:19 AM
    • 1,180 Posts
    • 3,314 Thanks
    midnight express
    • #2
    • 9th Jul 18, 9:19 AM
    • #2
    • 9th Jul 18, 9:19 AM
    Given the level of the overpayment and that the fraud was over a long period of time they have been lenient. Cases such as this often result in a prosecution for fraud and sometimes a prison sentence.
  • National Debtline
    • #3
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:27 AM
    • #3
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:27 AM
    Hi Nomissbocaj


    Please bear in mind that DWP may have simply defaulted to this rate they have demanded as it is a round figure - they won't know all of your household's precise ins and outs, so the onus is on your partner to make them aware of her current financial position in greater detail and attempt to negotiate more manageable payments on that basis. Putting together a budget or Statement of Affairs (SOA) - see link below - is essential:


    http://www.stoozing.com/calculator/soa.php


    On the flip side, it is worth pointing out that DWP can potentially seek to dock payments from her wages through a Direct Earnings Attachment if negotiations lead nowhere:


    https://www.gov.uk/make-benefit-debt-deductions


    Dennis
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • iolanthe07
    • By iolanthe07 9th Jul 18, 10:30 AM
    • 5,066 Posts
    • 4,750 Thanks
    iolanthe07
    • #4
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:30 AM
    • #4
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:30 AM
    So it will take five years to repay the 15,000 without interest. I don't think the DWP could extend it much beyond that, tbh.
    I used to think that good grammar is important, but now I know that good wine is importanter.
    • JonVarnas
    • By JonVarnas 9th Jul 18, 10:00 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    JonVarnas
    • #5
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:00 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Jul 18, 10:00 PM

    On the flip side, it is worth pointing out that DWP can potentially seek to dock payments from her wages through a Direct Earnings Attachment if negotiations lead nowhere:


    Originally posted by National Debtline
    Judging by that link the DWP would only take up to 10% of 750 earnings so there must be some wriggle room.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 10th Jul 18, 5:37 AM
    • 12,715 Posts
    • 9,775 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 5:37 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Jul 18, 5:37 AM
    That is the higher rate, which I believe is for cases shown to be fraud. The standard rate is


    Employee monthly pay Deductions from earnings


    100 or less 430 or less Nothing to deduct
    430.01 to 690 3%
    690.01 to 950 5%
    950.01 to 1,160 7%
    1,160.01 to 1,615 11%
    1,615.01 to 2,240 15%
    More than 2,240 20%
    • zippygeorgeandben
    • By zippygeorgeandben 10th Jul 18, 7:37 PM
    • 912 Posts
    • 1,242 Thanks
    zippygeorgeandben
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:37 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jul 18, 7:37 PM
    It sounds like an interest free loan to me. Borrow 15,000 and pay it back over a length of time at 0%. Or are there penalties on top?
    End Sep 2016 End August 2018
    8236.57 0
    (Tesco 4.8%) 0pcm
    6185.75 0 (Zopa 4.0%) 0pcm

    5344.50
    0 (Sainsburys 0%) 0pcm
    2000.00 0 (Sister 0%) 0pcm

    Total debt
    19.766.82 0 Original DFD May 2019.
    • Nomissbocaj
    • By Nomissbocaj 19th Jul 18, 7:42 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Nomissbocaj
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 18, 7:42 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Jul 18, 7:42 PM
    Thanks all for your replies. She never intentionally committed fraud. However this is something I am personally campaigning against now as mental health issues are serious, the dwp didn't care and the risks of pushing someone into great financially difficulty could have severe repercussions. Yes the repayment is greater than any form of prison sentence, but to not even discuss with her about her income and whether the repayments were affordable surprised me. I shall put everyone's comments and suggestions to her and see if there is any negotiating with the dwp to be done. Thanks again.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 19th Jul 18, 8:08 PM
    • 12,715 Posts
    • 9,775 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 18, 8:08 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Jul 18, 8:08 PM
    There are 3 definitions of fraud in benefit overpayments:
    1. being found guilty at court
    2. admitting fraud at an interview under caution
    3. accepting an administrative penalty

    Many people are pushed into (2) or (3) without realising the consequences when the dwp or local council would have a hard job getting (1).
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 19th Jul 18, 8:37 PM
    • 15,304 Posts
    • 14,394 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Given the level of the overpayment and that the fraud was over a long period of time they have been lenient. Cases such as this often result in a prosecution for fraud and sometimes a prison sentence.
    Originally posted by midnight express
    Fraud ?

    Where mental health issues are concerned I doubt that would hold water.
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    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 19th Jul 18, 9:39 PM
    • 12,715 Posts
    • 9,775 Thanks
    fatbelly
    Fraud ?

    Where mental health issues are concerned I doubt that would hold water.
    Originally posted by sourcrates
    In court, with proper support that may be true.

    And that's one reason why the benefit agencies prefer to go for (2) or (3) from my list. They can then deduct from existing benefits at a higher rate and protect their debt from insolvency.

    My council went through a phase of doing this with housing benefit overpayments in DROs, even many years after the incident
    was discovered. They do seem to have backed off once we flagged it up as an unfair practice though.

    Little known fact worth throwing in here - If you sign the agreement to an administrative penalty you have 28 days to change your mind - at which point any recoveries of the administrative penalty will be refunded to you.
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