Is this a recoverable OP?

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  • #284856
    Simon Hart
    Participant

    Claimant moved into the YMCA (SEA property) having claimed UC 10 days previously. We paid HB. Claimant then started work, he qualified for a small amount of UC for the first assessment period but didn’t qualify for the second period so we revised his claim, basing it on his p/t earnings. He then told us he was starting full time education and was initially told he would not be eligible for HB as a f/t student but was then told a couple of hours later that he would be eligible, IF he was receiving UC. Someone from the YMCA called a couple of weeks later to enquire if the claimant was entitled to HB if he was a f/t student and they were also told that he would be, IF he was receiving UC.

    Sadly nobody followed up to see if went back onto UC, the DWP decided that he wasn’t entitled to UC as he was a f/t student, we didn’t get any notification of this decision and we carried on paying based on his p/t earnings.

    We found out 6 months later, made a revised decision that he wasn’t entitled from the date that he became a f/t student and created an overpayment which we decided was recoverable as, although nobody checked that he went back onto UC, both he and the YMCA had failed to notify us that he had not gone back onto UC. We made the OP recoverable from the YMCA as they failed to notify us, which should have been part of their duties in providing support.

    The claimant has appealed against the decision, saying he thought that the DWP would notify us that he wasn’t entitled. The YMCA has not appealed and they have paid the OP but they are now taking steps to evict him, presumably for rent arrears because they have repaid the OP.

    Is this in any way an official error? The only notification we received from the DWP was the initial HB stop when they made the first UC award-we didn’t receive a file for his first payment, we didn’t receive the file when he was nilled for the second period and we didn’t receive a notification when they made a separate decision that he wasn’t entitled as a f/t student. As we had revised the claim to take his earnings into account, without any UC in payment, and he had told us that he was a f/t student, did he and the YMCA, acting on his behalf, have a duty to notify us when the DWP made their decision that he was not entitled as a f/t student?

    Even if it is official error, is it recoverable if both the claimant and the landlord had been told that he was not entitled if he wasn’t on UC?

    Comments appreciated.

    #284858
    pbirks
    Participant

    you had information that bought into doubt his entitlement.
    he told you he was going to be a student.
    You said if UC pay, then you’re fine and dandy, but then didnt check UC awards

    you were paying based on his part time earnings, at the point you were advised he was a student. At that point you needed to make a decision re whether he was an eligible student or not. As no passporting benefit in paymentm he wasn’t.
    Id say its LA error all day long.

    hes meant to tell you he isnt on UC when he wasnt on UC and ghis claim wasnt running on UC when he told you ghe was a student??
    that seems a bit ?????

    Is it recoverable? Possibly.
    But Im struggling to see how he would know hes being overpaid if he said” Im a full time student, can I get HB?”

    You are saying he didnt tell you he wasnt on UC, DWP didnt tell you he wasnt in UC – but he wasnt on UC anyway so there was no change for them to report….
    and you didnt check CIS to find out.

    Id likely want to speak to the landlords and find out what support he’s getting/why hes being evicted. if its due to arrears alone, i think id be putting forward quite a strong case for the O/p to be written off if its not LA error unrecoverable.

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