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Overpaid benefits - will I be charged with fraud?


Dali17
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I hope I am posting to the right section.

 

I have just realised I have been receiving benefits I should not have been since Aug 2012. I did not know, until reading a news story last night, that you are supposed to inform them when your savings go over £6000. I checked my bank account and it went over that in Aug 2012 and has been increasing ever since.

 

I get DLA for both myself and my daughter, carers allowance, ESA support component, housing benefit, child tax credit and child tax credit. All were applied for under advice from my support workers and daughter's social worker. I actually had to be pressured by them to claim DLA and and Carers Allowance as I felt bad about it. Mostly my support workers filled in the forms and I just signed them. I have phoned the CTC and CA people in the recent past to inform them of changes I knew I had to tell them about and knew would result in me getting less money, but was unaware there was a savings limit. I started receiving most of the above benefits in early 2012 which is where the money has come from.

 

I know I need to tell them about this but I don't know who to phone as I am on various benefits. I no longer have a support worker to help with this kind of thing. (They used to fill in all my forms and make phonecalls for me.). Do I have to phone each one separately or is there one place who will deal witb it all? When I do tell them, will it be treated as fraud even though it was not deliberate? How will they work out what I owe them, as I think my entitlement will have changed over time as my savings have increased? What happens if what I owe them is more than what I have? And what will happen to my benefits now?

 

I am extremely anxious and scared. This was NOT deliberate. I tried to phone my daughter's social worker today for advice (didn't know who else to phone) but just got her voicemail. The CAB helpline was too busy and I was told to phone back on Monday. I really don't know what to do. I don't want to go back to not having enough money for my daughter's transport to school or for her lunches. She has exams this year and has enough problems as it is. We are both planning to apply for college this year. I'm now scared that my work over the last few months in beginning to prepare myself for college has been wasted. I was the most optimistic I have been in years until this bombshell last night. Now I am just terrified. I had to go to A&E three times near the beginning of last year to do with my mental health. I don't want to go back to being like that. I want to move forward and I'm scared that this will put me back.

Edited by Dali17
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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

We normally deal with this sort of stuff on the benefits forum. I'll move your thread there and leave you a short term redirect from here. The forums guys should be along over the course of the day.

 

My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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based upon information you have supplied, there does not appear to be much to concern yourself about, however can you clarify a few points

 

how much has you capital raised to?

do you know if you are receiving income based ESA or contribution based ESA?

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Thanks for your reply.

 

There is around £4000 in my current account and £15000 in the savings account the bank opened for me because I had so much in my current account.

 

It has always felt like too much but I was assured it was right because it was people whose job it is (at last partly) to deal with benefits who helped me apply.

 

It is income based ESA.

 

The news story I read was about someone committing benefit fraud and one of the things she did wrong was not inform them of savings over £6000. I have now looked this up and it seems I should indeed have told them.

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Anyone who has savings of over £16,000 is not entitled to most means tested benefits so since your savings went over £16,000 you should not have been receiving any ESA, HB or CTB so all of that has been overpaid. You will need to inform the benefits office at your local authority who will cease your housing benefit and council tax benefit, and you will need to tell the DWP and they will cease your ESA. You will need to inform HMRC but tax credits generally are affected by income rather than savings so I am unsure about the affect on them, but they will need informing. (Any DLA will continue as normal as it is not means tested) These agencies will then inform you of how much the overpayment is and then you will need to work out how you can pay this back. As you have considerable savings you will be able to pay a lot back in one go, which will then mean you are then eligible for means tested benefits again. Don't panic, as you are informing them (and not being discovered) and wanting to and willing to pay back the amount overpaid this is good evidence that this wasn't intentional fraud. Try and stay calm, difficult though I realise.

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for the period that your capital was between 6k and 16k, you would have been entitled to a reduced rate of ESA

 

it would have been reduced by £1pw for each £250 you had above 6k

 

e.g. if you had 7k capital, you would owe £4pw

if you had 12k, you would owe £24pw

 

so until your capital went over 16k, you would still have been entitled to most of your benefits

 

as advised by abc123def, once capital went over 16k, your esa/hb would have ended - DLA/CA/CB would continue - CTC may be affected by any interest you received from yout capital though unlikely with current interest rates

 

best thing to do is explain situation at earliest opportunity to dwp and council so you can get the matter resolved

 

when you notify them, can you ask the to make sure they take into account the "diminution of capital rule in calculating any overpayment" - dwp usually remember, but councils sometimes forget

 

another thought, was any of the capital made up of lump sum arrears payments of DLA? as this can be disregarded for a period

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