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DWP took benefit arrears to pay off overpayment,despite,payme nt plan,is this allowed?

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Dear Caggers, I am posting on behalf on a friend and need advice before I help him write a letter to the DWP. I will try and keep it simple:

 

1. Overpayment arrears owed is approx £2200

 

2.DWP have been taking £10 pw from his ESA payments to pay off this debt (this was not agreed but DWP just informed him!)

 

3.After this payment plan was in place, the DWP advised him that their was ESA benefit arrears owed to him of approx £120 and have taken this amount off the overpayment debt.

 

4.Could we even ask them to consider writing off the debt altogether, as this his causing him great distress and ill health after his stroke?

 

Is this allowed?

 

If deductions were not already in place then i could understand but can he write to them to state that by them taking this has caused him hardship? (....(and to pay the £120 to him)

 

Even the £10 pw is causing him hardship, can we ask that they take a more affordable amount each week? Is their a minimum legal amount they can take?

 

My friend disputes the overpayment debt anyway, but it too complicated for him to deal with at this moment in time as he has to get all the accounts from his ex employer to dispute this.....After his stroke, we have to do things in small steps,starting with the £120 and the weekly repayment amount..

 

I hope someone can give guidance as to what we can write...

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Have you (or your friend) spoke to DWP at all about this?

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Have you (or your friend) spoke to DWP at all about this?

 

Yes, on the phone they said that as the overpayment debt is so high they have taken the benefit arrears payment (but seemed vague).......not spoken to them about reducing the weekly repayment though.....

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I would ask if it is possible to reduce the payment. It appears there is a guide called Overpayment Recovery Guide but i havnt been able to find a copy. Found that name from:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/m-33-12.pdf

Sorry for not being much help. I will continue to see if i can find an up to date copy of that guide.

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That would be great if you could. Would my friend be able to ask for his £180 benefit arrears payment be paid to him and not taken (like it has been) under certain grounds, i,e, hardship and as there is a payment plan in place, surely this is sufficient for repayment, no?

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This document can be found somewhere on rightsnet (via google)!

Recovery from Arrears Of Benefit - Schedule 2K - Underpayments of benefit identified on DM overpayment case

5.47 Current legislation allows the SofS to recover any recoverable overpayment for a prescribed benefit from any arrears of that or any other prescribed benefit.

Exceptions

5.48 Do not recover from arrears when they are for;

a) the full weekly benefit entitlement for the start of a claim, where the award is delayed for administrative purposes (e.g. benefit claimed, award delayed pending verification of details, award made, arrears paid up to date usually for the first few weeks of the award);

b) arrears that have accrued as a result of benefit being suspended.

Notification to the debtor

5.49 When arrears have been recovered and deducted from the total amount of the overpayment, the customer must be notified.

5.50 Where the debtor replies stating that the withholding of the arrears would cause financial hardship, consider the case on the facts presented. If appropriate, arrange to have the debt balance adjusted and a refund issued to the customer. It should be noted that there is no right of appeal against a lawful decision not to pay arrears that have been/are to be recovered.

This was the link to the whole long and sordid item in question; hope it works :

http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/?ACT=39&fid=11&aid=341…id=1

 

Do you think i could try the 5.50 route in a letter? and should i remind them of this clause above?

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I looked at that link and its a few years old. Some posters thought that was the hb/cb guide that was posted. A search via google revealed a subscription version (no idea how old it is tho.) I will not post that link.

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I looked at that link and its a few years old. Some posters thought that was the hb/cb guide that was posted. A search via google revealed a subscription version (no idea how old it is tho.) I will not post that link.

 

oh ok, i see.....:(

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I know the maximum they can take from JSA is £5 a week, however as ESA is a higher amount it may well be that £10 is allowed. They won't write off the debt, it will need paying back. Does he receive DLA?

On the face of what you say, unfortunately they have the right to take £10 a week from his benefit.

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Hello can anyone help me? I have been on long term sick and claiming ESA, as from April 12 I made a new application whereby I have genuinely and mistakenly failed to mention that my wife works and unknown to me I have been claiming ESA for the both of us! I didn't realise this as frankly I am really confused by the forms and only realised when my wife was asked to attend a work focus interview... This rang alarm bells and I immediately brought it to ESA's attention and also informed the council tax that I have been claiming the wrong benefit and that my wife works but I thought that the claim was for me alone... Stupid I know but suffering with depression makes you see things irrationally... What can I do.. I have admitted that I genuinely didn't know I was making a false claim and have offered to pay them back.., am I going to go to jail? I'm frightened and confused and honestly quite didn't realise that I had filled out the forms incorrectly...

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Can anyone help with some advice? I have brought it to their attention first and not been caught out if that helps?

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You might be better off starting a new thread.

 

How do I do that?

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UPDATE: Good news! After using advice on this thread as guidance and sending a letter to the DWP, regarding hardship etc, they have refunded the full amount back to my friend!

 

I would like to thank everyone for their advice & general input....I thought i should update this thread to show my thanks and give hope to others in a similar situation......

(I think when alot of people post of this forum and they get a satisfactory outcome, they forget to come back on here to show their appreciation of the help this site gives to people like me & my friend...thank you once again :)

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UPDATE: Good news! After using advice on this thread as guidance and sending a letter to the DWP, regarding hardship etc, they have refunded the full amount back to my friend!

 

I would like to thank everyone for their advice & general input....I thought i should update this thread to show my thanks and give hope to others in a similar situation......

(I think when alot of people post of this forum and they get a satisfactory outcome, they forget to come back on here to show their appreciation of the help this site gives to people like me & my friend...thank you once again :)

 

Many thanks for the update, pleased to hear that this is now resolved to the benefit of your friend :)


Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy -

HERE

2: Take back control of your finances -

Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors?

Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt

Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated -

Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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