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JSA change of circumstance, overpayment and worried absolutely sick!

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Hi guys,

 

I hope someone can put my mind at rest, as I am worried sick about the following:

 

I had been claiming JSA up until December 2012, upon which I finally managed to get a job. I stopped claiming, signed the booklet and sent it back to the job centre. Received all the bumph from them and presumed the matter was closed.

Today my mom received a letter from the council stating that the DWP had informed them that I had ceased claiming JSA. The Council then have queried whether or not I still reside at my moms address or not.

 

In June 2012, I moved in with my partner who works full time. After a bereavement, I stayed with her to support her which eventually led to me moving in. At this point my mother informed the County Council and I ceased paying the dependants allowance for HB. To date I use my moms address as my registered address for all correspondence, bank cards, bills everything.

At present no correspondence has been received from the DWP relating to my change of address.

 

After doing some searching I have discovered that moving in with my partner may be a ‘change of circumstances’. As a result the DWP should have been informed and therefore, I may have been receiving JSA, when in fact as a result of my partner working full time, I should not have received anything at all.

 

I have worked out that I would have been overpaid £1960.00 up to the point I stopped claiming.

 

Call it naivety, stupidity whatever you will; I believed that I was entitled to continue receiving JSA providing I was adhering to the job seekers agreement. I am now petrified that I may have committed benefit fraud and the potential implications of this.

I have decided to explain the situation to the DWP tomorrow; explaining that I may have been receiving JSA when I was not entitled to. If this is the case, I want to enquire with them as to, whether I can repay the entire sum through monthly instalments.

 

I was wondering if anyone can offer any practical advice? What will the DWP do upon declaring this and will they accept repayment without criminal sanction?

 

Thank -you

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I will alert the site team to your situation. I am sure that someone will be able to advise. It will more likely be tomorrow now.


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Thank you CitizenB, I will keep checking back just in case someone posts any advice tonight.

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OK, a couple of issues come to mind. First of all, are you on JSA© or JSA(IB)? If you receive JSA©, then your partner's income would not be relevant and there would probably be no overpayment.

 

But, if you are on JSA(IB), based on your household income (including that of your partner) then you are correct, you may well have been overpaid. Changing address and moving in with a partner who works full-time is indeed a change of circumstances that should have been notified to the Jobcentre.

 

Assuming that this is the case, what should you do? Since there's no apparent issue of "Official Error" (that is, JCP making a mistake) then you would most likely be expected to repay the overpayment. If you live with a partner who works more than 24 hours per week, you would not be entitled to JSA(IB).

 

Right, so, what next? First off, you are doing the right thing in telling them before they find out some other way. There are two issues to consider: the question of any overpayment (this is a civil matter) and the question of fraud (this is a criminal matter). If the facts you present are accurate then I think you could well be liable for an overpayment, and an offer to repay this can't hurt you. When it comes to the matter of fraud, well, that's a bit harder to determine. I don't think this will be considered for criminal action if the amount is below £2000, the claim was not fraudulent from the outset, and I'm also assuming you're not a habitual benefit fraudster. I can't say this for sure, but these are the standards that are generally applied when it comes to criminal action.

 

All I can say is to speak to them and see what they say. Calling them up and explaining the situation will mitigate against the idea that you were intentionally defrauding the system (mistakes happen, the crime of fraud requires intent) but do remember that when you call, the first person you speak to will not be able to tell you what might happen. They'll be obliged to refer the matter to higher authority.

 

In short, don't panic - the sooner you deal with this the better.


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Thank You antone.

 

I though I would provide you with an update.

 

I contacted the DWP first thing this morning and explained the situation. I received a call from the Delivery Centre. I was informed that I would need to draft a statement of change of circumstances and take this to my local Job Centre, which I did immediately.

 

I asked the representative over the phone what would happen next. He informed me that as my claim had been closed , the statement would be received by the change of circumstances team who would pass this onto the overpayments team (who would assess the amount over paid). Overpayments would then send it to Debt Management. I asked him specifically whether I faced charges of benefit fraud, he assured me no and that it would remain a civil matter (how much stock I date place in this, im not sure).

 

He informed me that as my claim as closed an assessment on the amount of payments received would now take place in order to calculate the overpayment. He further informed me that no fraud investigations have ever been conducted on my claim and neither have any been commenced to date. He furthermore told me that 'you came to us, we didn't come knocking at your door'.

 

I sincerely hope that what the adviser said will resonate through the other departments and that this will remain a civil and not criminal matter. As i am still out of my mind with worry

 

Thanks guys

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Well now, that sounds pretty positive doesnt it :)


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I certainly hope so, however, I have recalculated the amount I owe and it comes to about £2040. I went through my bank statements, so still worried they may refer it for prosecution. As ive heard about a rule of about £2k, I dont know :???:

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I wouldn't worry - it wont be being looked at by the fraud team. Its highly unlikely that the change of circumstances team will ever refer it to fraud and there can be no prosecution if fraud never get there hands on it

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So I thought I would provide a brief update on my situation and see if I can get some further advice.

I have to date contacted the DWP benefits delivery centre 23 times since the matter began, in order to attempt to get the matter resolved. The wheels obviously turn slow, so slow in fact that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing it appears.

 

I have been told so many things I don’t know really which way is up.

 

I was assured on the 18th that the matter was with the 2nd decision maker as we spoke, which i was told after the person i spoke to went and spoke to a manager. I was informed today that the person I had spoken to on the 18th put on the system the following ‘have assured client this matter is no fraudulent and that there will be no prosecution’.

 

I awaited a call back on 18 Jan which never came, so rang back the next day. I was told that the overpayment had been calculated and that I was to contact Debt Management to discuss repayment, great I thought.

 

I contact Debt Management immediately and am told after giving my details, they hold nothing on the system and that I should go back to the benefits delivery line. I do so and am informed that it has been passed onto debt management, I explain they know nothing about the situation, all I am told is keep ringing.

 

Today I rang Debt Management again being told they have no knowledge of the matter. I was then informed almost word for word by the lady on the phone, what I have been hearing each time I contact the benefit delivery centre. To which I am then promptly informed that I am being fobbed off, telling me I bet they haven’t even calculated the overpayment yet.

 

I ring the benefit delivery centre again explaining I am beginning to feel as if I am being fobbed off, they then arrange for a call back for me. I receive a rather prompt call back from a gentleman who tells me ‘no overpayment has been calculated yet’. I questioned him on this and asked if this stating that on the 18th I was told it was with a decision maker. To which the response was well we get thousands of overpayments which we need to calculate, you will just have to contact the Debt Management department , who eventually when we calculate it we will pass it onto.

It appears that I have been lied to about the matter by several people.

 

I am really at the end of my tether with this. I have tried again and again to get this matter sorted, which has now been on-going for some 3 weeks. I don’t know who to believe, even though I have been told and it has been recorded that this matter is not fraudulent, I have no idea what authority that person had to say that and indeed what reliance I can place upon it. I have no idea when they will get round to calculating whether there is an overpayment.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks

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I will alert antone who has been advising on this matter for you.

 

Are you dealing with this on the telephone ?


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Read Here

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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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Hi

 

Yes all contact has been by telephone, except for the letter to notify of change of circumstances. I have recorded all telephone calls and have kept a log of the dates, names, teams (where i can get this information) and noted down what has been discussed for all phonecalls.

 

Thanks

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Hi

 

Yes all contact has been by telephone, except for the letter to notify of change of circumstances. I have recorded all telephone calls and have kept a log of the dates, names, teams (where i can get this information) and noted down what has been discussed for all phonecalls.

 

Thanks

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Unfortunately, this sort of thing is not uncommon when dealing with the DWP. It's not malice and it's not usually personal incompetence either - the department is so huge and badly organised that miscommunications happen all the time. You probably haven't been "lied" to - that implies intent, and there are far more cock-ups than there are acts of intentional deception.

 

So, well, what's the best approach, given that DWP systemic failures aren't your problem? I can't say I have the exact answer, but I'd start by calling the BDC and asking for a callback from the Overpayments Team, rather than Debt Management. If they haven't worked out the overpayment yet, there isn't really a lot you can do to force them - DWP stuff moves at a snail's pace. You could also explain that you have called many times and ask for escalation to an appropriate manager.

 

It can sometimes help to ask your MP to get involved. I'd hold off on that for now, but it is something to keep in mind.


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unfortunately, these cases get passed through several cases before getting finalised,

 

by my understanding, it normally goes like this...

 

  • you submit papers to local office
  • case gets passed to change in circs team
  • case gets referred to decision maker to consider LT/entitlement issue
  • case gets referred to overpayments dept to calculate overpayment
  • case gets referred to debt management, who invoice and recover overpayment

unfortunately, each stage takes time

 

i realise you have been waiting nearly 3 weeks, however in my experience 3 weeks would actually be remarkably quick

 

(it gets even more complicated if the case involves the fraud dept or appeals department)


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Thank you antone and id6052,

 

I have been receiving call backs from the overpayments team (at least that who i think it is). I have been contacting debt management myself, on the instruction of the overpayments team, overpayments have called me after BDC referral. I have asked for an escalation and this as far as i am aware has been put on the system, with requests to have the amount calculated ASAP. I have made it explicitly clear to all I have talked too as to why I require the matter to be dealt with swiftly, the reason being, I am due to train as a Police Officer next month. I have explained to them I am awaiting on confirmation of my start date. So after getting through all the tests and vetting, this is not something I need at present, especially as this could see me be requested to resign before I even get started.

 

I have in all fairness to the BDC been told time and time again that there is nothing malicious on the system, no markers or indication of any investigations are present (nor have there ever been any). I have also been told that it will be a matter of overpayment and no action will be taken against me. I have made it very clear that I wish to pay back any overpayment immediately, informing them that I have made provisions to borrow the money from a family member so that it can be resolved immediately. Some who i have spoken to, including the gentleman from today, remarked that he could see that I wanted to repay immediately. Despite the repeated assurances from those from the BDC I just cant rest easy until the amount has been calculated and I have been then assured thats the end of the matter.

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Sorry I thought of this after my post, when i was told on the 18th it was with a second decision maker, it was not with overpayments?

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the overpayment should not affect your application to join the police, as you have already been advised that no fraud action is going to be taken, resulting in estoppel

Edited by id6052

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Hi guys,

 

I have received a JSA 3 Form, nothing else accompanied it, just the form. I dont understand what this is, what they use it for and more importantly whether it is something I need to worry about, re: criminal sanctions etc owing to the ongoing situation.

 

I would be really grateful if someone could give me some advice.

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:doc19831983:

 

A JSA3 form has nothing to do with overpayments or criminal records.

 

It's an application form for income based jobseekers when a contributions based award has run out. Its relevance to your ongoing situation? No idea, unless you've enquired about an income based award of jobseekers.

Margaret.

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:doc19831983:

 

A JSA3 form has nothing to do with overpayments or criminal records.

 

It's an application form for income based jobseekers when a contributions based award has run out. Its relevance to your ongoing situation? No idea, unless you've enquired about an income based award of jobseekers.

Margaret.

 

A JSA3 is indeed used for an application for income based JSA when contributions have exhausted, but it's also used as a general form to report a change of circumstances. Since the OP has reported a CoC by phone, it does make sense that he'd receive the form. Would be nice if they'd at least enclose a short note on a "With Compliments" slip explaining what it's for, though.


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:JSA3:

 

Thought about the change of circs but only in relation to a reclaim of jobseekers with changed circs. Didn't occur to me that Jobcentreplus might send a change of circs form for a closed claim. Assume Jobcentreplus can use an ESA3 for the same reason?

 

Thanks for the clarification. Shall live n learn, Margaret.

Edited by **Margaret**

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:JSA3:

 

Thought about the change of circs but only in relation to a reclaim of jobseekers with changed circs. Didn't occur to me that Jobcentreplus might send a change of circs form for a closed claim. Assume Jobcentreplus can use an ESA3 for the same reason?

 

Thanks for the clarification. Shall live n learn, Margaret.

 

Yeah, an ESA3 could be used for the same thing. I don't think it's common to send one out for a closed claim, but I can see why someone might if they're looking to assess an overpayment. After all, they'd need to know what changed and when before they could make a formal decision.

 

I couldn't even swear it's the correct thing to do, procedurally. Thing is, processors send out JSA3/ESA3 forms at the drop of a hat. Sad to say, it's sometimes just a way of kicking the ball down the pitch and hoping that the form lands on someone else's desk when it's returned.


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