I wonder if anyone can advise me on this matter? My sister suffers from bi-polar disorder, having been officially diagnosed at the start of the year after a long history of severe depression. She is currently in receipt of DLA and as far as I know, aside from Housing Benefit, this is her only income. Since our mother died in March she has become severely agoraphobic and hardly ever leaves her flat or opens the curtains. A few weeks ago she was persuaded to move in with our father, and so I have been collecting her mail and passing it on to her.
This week when I went to pick up her mail after a 2 week absence, it included 8 separate giros, totaling over £3k, for the same 2 week period. As far as I can tell this was a genuine clerical/official error by the DWP, as she has not made any changes in her claim or informed them of changed circumstances. She is convinced that the payments represent a backdated amount that she is entitled to, but there is no accompanying letter to say as much, only the bog standard 'here's your money' letter they always sent fortnightly with 1 giro.
Of course this error has been seen by her as providence and something she should be able to take advantage of, a theory fuelled by all the articles you can find online about the DWP being unable to take people to court for overpayment if it's due to a official error. I told her they will dock her benefit for the next 2 years when they realise the mistake, but she doesn't seem to understand that this will have long terms effects. It's money sent by the Gods as far as she's concerned.
So my question is this. If I were to inform DWP of this, would she immediately be in hot water or would the fact that she is mentally ill be mitigation of some kind? And is she right, is overpayment by a technical error something that can't be reclaimed through the courts?