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stevebantam

DWP Debt Management -AGAIN!

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Hi,

I know that this issue has been raised several times, but I would still be grateful for any advice that can be offered to me, as I really am at the end of my tether! I received a letter in October 2007 from Debt Management, advising me that I had been overpaid Income Support in 1996 and so owed DWP £740! (sound familiar?). I have absolutely no knowledge of this overpayment, and contacted them in October 07 to request further information, advise re statute of limitations etc (I am currently in full time work), but received no further contact until I got a demand from CCS Collect, which was for £440 rather than £740. (I have been given no explanation as to why the amount had dropped!). I contacted CCS but was told to pay up or face court - they were, by the way, the rudest and least helpful company I have ever dealt with! I wrote again to Debt Management in August 08, and received a letter with a breakdown of the overpayments - the overpayments related to an address that I was not living at at the time! I rang Debt Management again in January 09, and was advised by a Team Leader that I should put a request in writing for copies of the original claim form, system records etc, and that when I received these I could submit an appeal. I did this and, after chasing up my letter three times, I received a copy of a letter from a decision maker which was sent in Dec 1998 - the letter had been sent to the address that I was not living at, and was full of errors; the dates did not tie up with the dates that had been given previously and the letter stated that the overpayment was because my wife had been working (I am not, and have never been married!). They have also acknowledged in writing that the original letter was returned to them undelivered as I was not at that address! I wrote a formal complaint to the customer service team and also lodged an appeal on form GL24; I have now received a letter advising me that my right of appeal ran from when the original decision makers letter was sent to me (even though they know I didn't receive it) so they will not be taking my appeal forward.They also advised that I would need to contact my local jobcentre for details of this claim as they do not hold claim records, although they don't think they will still hold records for it due to the length of time since the claim!

 

I am now at a total loss as to what to do - I do not intend to pay this money and I am certain that it is their error, but they seem to be steamrollering over me and it has become a moral issue as well as a money issue for me. Sorry for the long post but as I said I am fuming!! All replies gratefully received!

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You don't need to appeal. It is over 6 years old so it cannot be enforced in any court, no matter what the DWP or any DCA tells you.

 

The ONLY way they can recoup this is to deduct it from benefit. They can make deductions at any time, no matter what time period has passed.

 

What they have sent you is not proof of overpayment in any case. It's a letter. That proves absolutley nothing, more so because it does not appear to even relate to you.

 

Get your MP on to it because essentially what they are doing is illegal. They are attempting to get money out of you but cannot prove anything os owed. Government departments are not exempt from the law and have to abide by it like everyone else. Someone writes to you and states you owe money, you ask them to prove it......if they don't prove it you do not have to pay a penny, and you shouldn't.

  • Haha 1

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

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Thanks for your advice Erika - I have contacted my MP as advised. I got a surprisingly quick reply asking for my National Insurance Number and advising me that he would raise it with the Minister responsible. Sounds promising, but I will let you know how I get on! :-)

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What happened 'stevebantam'?

I have witnessed as did several million the DWP minister saying how the Job Centre is there to get people jobs. The reality is quite the opposite so why don't they call them 'sign-on centres'! MP's reply fast because they have to and sadly this does not normally reflect any positive outcome. Anyhow they'll be looking at their own benefits first (bad comment I know but could not resist!).

The one consolation from 1996 to the present day is that you'd have been called into an 'under caution' interview and these days you can appeal but seldom win. As 'ErikaPNP' rightfully says they can however deduct monies from any benefits you currently get - they never forget!

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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Hi,

sorry for the delay in replying but I've been awaiting further response from my MP. Really disappointed to be honest, received a letter from the DWP Minister advising that decision is right, money has to be paid back, the original claim form etc cannot be traced etc.. It seems to be irrelevent to everyone that I KNOW NOTHING about the overpayment and the details do not relate to my own (ie. I was not living at the address, I was not married etc). However, the letter does also state that my details have been recalled from the collection agency asI have made a late appeal which is now being considered - despite my being told previously that my appeal had been refused as it was outside of the time limits!!! I cannot believe that, despite the blatently false basis of this debt claim ,and the countless mistakes and contradictary statements made by DWP, that they can still pursue me - I really do feel let down by the whole system. I still have no intention of paying, but it looks as though I will now have to put up with further harrassing letters from Debt Collection Agencies until I retire..

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The decision is not right - if they tried to take this to court it could not be enforced. The only way to "make" you pay it is to deduct money from future benefit.

 

Frankly, if you do not owe them this money and they are unable to prove it to you, I'd be inviting them to take me to court. Legally it cannot be enforced, even if it weren't statue barred as they have absoleutely no evidence of the alleged overpayment, and what "evidence" they do have does not appear to even relate to you. The responses you have received so far are pretty much standard. They're not going to write to you and say "Ooops! You are right, Mr bantam, you don't have to pay us a penny!". If they thought it could be enforced, they would have had no hesitation in taking you to court to enforce it.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hi Erika,

 

thanks for your responses Erika - I agree entirely with you and have no intention of paying!!

However, I know that they have no intention of taking me to court, and eventually they will be able to take it out of my pension - even though this is over 20 years away, I am angry at the principle of having to pay this money at all!!

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There is an awful flipside to all this regarding the DWP. On one hand they'd not take you to court as the amount is reasonably small. The other side is that if ever be it housing benefits or anything else there is nothing to stop them allowing this into the 'benefits' domain for checking. In other words I believe that they can get it back. Earlier I made a comment but with a small error as it should read, 'you can appeal but cannot win'. Laws whicg are total bias and probably come over as grossly unfair.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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How come the dwp can prosecute a claimaint for not telling them a material fact,or giving them wrong info - yet when the DWP do that to a claimaint, the claimaint isnt able to take them to court?


Note - all posts are my opinion only, and no action should be taken on any advice given without consulting independant advice from a suitably qaulified advisor.

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What makes you think the claimant can't take them to court? They are no more immune to prosecution than anyone else.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Other than the fact its unlikely a claimaint would be able to afford to take them to court (not sure if legal aid is available for persuing justice, ie where your not yourself being investigated/prosecuted)...

 

I wonder why no one has taken the dwp to court (that I know of) over incorrect decisions based on medical reports that contained a pack of untruthes, that were provable... Or for negligence through bad reports etc..

 

I would have thought by now, if it were possible some welfare rights people/organisation would have had them up in court by now?

 

Surely solicitors would be jumping at the chance to take on easy to win claims against the dwp on a no-win no-fee basis?


Note - all posts are my opinion only, and no action should be taken on any advice given without consulting independant advice from a suitably qaulified advisor.

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I think if you read the laws regarding the DWP and their powers vs you rights and the chance to take them to court you might be rather shocked. Plus as mentioned can you even afford to - as it'll be a benefit claim you might open up some scary can of worms. Believe me there are some laws that surprise. In fact even if a genuine error DWP (and even housing benefit teams) will 'automatically' fine you an additional 30% penalty - I know because it happened to me with regards to the DWP!

HMRC (C&E) is another good example if you have something seized by customs. Appeal (as you have 28 days to do so) and the legal team for C&E will openly stand in a magistrates courts and declare, 'You can appeal but you cannot win' and then they will scare the migistrates if they dare to go against. The magistrates will never therefore allow an appeal.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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There are plenty of cases where the DWP have been taken to court, to fight for people's rights. The reason it doesn't happen often is because a person will follow the appeal route, and get their benefits paid. They choose to end it there, or end it there but follow it up with an internal complaint then end it. If you search around, you will find plenty of instances where they have been taken to court. Won some, lost some.

 

Does no-one remember the case where a gentleman took them to the European Court of Human Rights? The DWP in this case had not done anything wrong. There were no errors in their decision, they followed the law as it stood at the time. The gent had appealed and lost. He then appealed to the commisioner and lost. But he won the human rights case regardless, and set the wheels in motion for welfare rights organisations to take the DWP back to the ECHR to fight for a change in the law. They won too and the law was subsequently changed.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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There are plenty of cases where the DWP have been taken to court, to fight for people's rights. The reason it doesn't happen often is because a person will follow the appeal route, and get their benefits paid. They choose to end it there, or end it there but follow it up with an internal complaint then end it. If you search around, you will find plenty of instances where they have been taken to court. Won some, lost some.

 

Does no-one remember the case where a gentleman took them to the European Court of Human Rights? The DWP in this case had not done anything wrong. There were no errors in their decision, they followed the law as it stood at the time. The gent had appealed and lost. He then appealed to the commisioner and lost. But he won the human rights case regardless, and set the wheels in motion for welfare rights organisations to take the DWP back to the ECHR to fight for a change in the law. They won too and the law was subsequently changed.

 

 

So you are saying that if the DWP follows their rules of law regarding for example JSA that it can be challenged? I see no change in the law regarding JSA since its conception and that includes the automatic 30% penalty charge.

One might be able to sue the DWP and there's caselaw regarding discrimination and treatment of blind and senior citizens but apart from that little else. For example in cases of JSA and genuine mistakes by claimants you might as well be guilty because the penalty applies irrelavent of the reason. That also applies to housing benefits too.

One be hard pressed to get (legal) aid for arguing that it would be to the dtrement of the claimant. The problems as always is that the DWP have the upper hand for one should not be able to afford the costs to sue.

What I would argue is the fact that people in (for example) France 'caught' waiting to get to the UK will probably be repatriated to their country of origin outside of the EU. However if they made it to the UK then they would automatically receive housing and benefits in priority to those born and resident in the UK.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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Of course it can be challenged if it goes against another law, such as in the case of Kevin Willis. He won. Other cases came to the fore to fight for a change in the law, they lost the same battle but it became evident that the legislation of the time was outdated and as a result, the benefit and the law that went along with it was scrapped by the parliment itself, bringing in new benefit legislation. So the battle was lost but the war was won.

 

http://www.ukmm.org.uk/camp/hr/willis.htm

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/working_lunch/2040915.stm

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/apr/26/claredyer

Edited by ErikaPNP

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Of course it can be challenged if it goes against another law, such as in the case of Kevin Willis. He won. Other cases came to the fore to fight for a change in the law, they lost the same battle but it became evident that the legislation of the time was outdated and as a result, the benefit and the law that went along with it was scrapped by the parliment itself, bringing in new benefit legislation. So the battle was lost but the war was won.

 

Willis v. UK

 

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Working Lunch | Widowers win right to benefits

 

Fathers win equality in widow's benefits payout | UK news | The Guardian

AFAIK the decisions of public bodies can be challenged by judicial review, even if they are following their own rules, because it can conflict with statute or could be irrational.

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OKay, show me a single instance of DWP regarding JSA OR Local government housing benefit caselaw. Easy challenge. What is depected here is more of discriminations regarding widows or pensioners or blindness.

I state again that it's one thing to challenge, another to win and the grounds of which the cases are made. Your first hurdle is the fact that someone in the positions I've mentioned will not have the funds and I doubt legal aid could be called upon because it's not as a risk to the indivdual.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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Regarding what exactly? What specifically in JSA or Local Government is it that you want to challenge?

 

Cases can easily be found by looking around on the internet if you are typing in what the specific query is. As I said often cases don't go that far because they are overturned at appeal stage - that includes appeals to the upper tribunal.

 

There has to be grounds for a case. A law won't be re written because someone doesn't agree with it. There has to be substance to any case brought before court. As I said previously, anyone can take the DWP to court if one of their laws contradicts another and it has resulted in detriment to them. It's another matter whether the person taking them to court has access to funds to allow them to do so, which I did not dispute. I simply answered Ukbix's post where he said a claimant cannot take the DWP to court. They can and they have. Welfare rights organisations can also do it on their behalf.

 

If you want something more specific then have a look around. There is case law all over the place - that is what representatives often rely upon to win appeals.


My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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I would like to challenge that they show no understanding and have no discretion when someone (as in me) makes a genuine mistake. In a nutshell I read all the law on JSA and their automatic 30% penalty charge which I thought I'd not be charged but was in the end.

Michael


When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is. (Oscar Wilde)

--I like to be helpful wherever possible however I'm not qualified in this field. I do consider carefully anything important (normally from personal experience) however please understand that any actions taken are at your own risk--

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moved thread and deleted. Gone to:

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/264987-dwp-want-payments-back.html

Edited by loan_ranger
moved thread and deleted

I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Wouldn't in a case like this where the DWP dig their heals in will not budge no matter what the evidence, be the perfect scenario for a the OP raise a complaint against the DWP.

 

If going through the DWPs' own complaints process doesn't bring him a result he could then take that further to ICE (Independent Case Examiner) or whoever deals with this sort of thing.

 

Just a thought as if it's left without resolution these things usually have a habit of coming back years and years down the line.

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Wouldn't in a case like this where the DWP dig their heals in will not budge no matter what the evidence, be the perfect scenario for a the OP raise a complaint against the DWP.

 

If going through the DWPs' own complaints process doesn't bring him a result he could then take that further to ICE (Independent Case Examiner) or whoever deals with this sort of thing.

 

Just a thought as if it's left without resolution these things usually have a habit of coming back years and years down the line.

 

 

Especially when theres a recession and the Government is needing ££££ The DWP seem to be looking anywhere now and using anything to get it...

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