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overpaid benefits - Carers UK Forum

overpaid benefits

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/de ... gal-action

The supreme court ruled today that the government cannot recover overpayments of social security benefits through the courts where the claimant is not at fault.

In a landmark judgment, the court declined to accept the government's argument that the Department of Work and Pensions could sue recipients in the county court if they did not pay back overpayments that arose as a result of the department's error.

Between March 2006 and February 2007, the government wrote to more than 65,000 claimants saying it could sue them for overpayments.

The legal argument, put in writing to those affected, was that the department was entitled to take benefit claimants to court under common law although the money was paid due to the department's error and would not be recoverable under social security law.

A coalition of anti-poverty campaigners had said many claimants were worried and frightened by the threat of legal action. Social security payments are extremely complicated and claimants often do not realise that they are being overpaid.

Campaigners argued that many had spent the money received and had no means to repay. Claimants in receipt of these benefits were likely to be on extremely low incomes, and could be vulnerable, elderly or in poor health, they said.

The benefits affected included those paid to families, people with disabilities and pensioners. The DWP's own figures state that at least £1.1bn a year is paid out as a consequence of its own errors.

The Child Poverty Action Group, said the court's ruling "affected not just many thousands of claimants but goes to the heart of the government's welfare reform agenda".
At last some common sense prevails.

If the DWP were doing their job properly in the first place and went back to the old system where the work done by A was checked by B before payment was made fewer mistakes would ever have been made in the first place.

Computerised systems will no doubt get the blame, but the computer is only as good as the information keyed in..................by a human.

My worry is with such a complicated system there are probably as many people who do not receive as much as they should, and don`t know any better.

Thank you for the information.

Take care
I agree Meg,

What does it for me, is the fact that most claimants would not have the ability to pay the money back and any repayment would financial cripple them.

Rightfully, the DWP are going to be more careful in future but if they are more careful then they will be a better organisation on the whole.
what of those who have repaid the overpayment mistake ..
the old doll due to the council cock up was over paid about £1-800 she has repaid most of it but still owes a few quid ( not much ) i will cancel the direct debit this week for the last few payments .. but can i reclaim the £1-600 she has repaid mmmmm
is this ruling retrospective and can people who have repaid overpayments which were due to errors,get any redress now?I know of several carers who were affected.This topic,I have no doubt,will be a hot topic in our carers group meeting.