Overpayment classification

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    Hello I have a query, who’s error is this:

    The claimant (a Council tenant) contacted the LA office by phone in April to advise of a start of employment, they later sent a letter in May but not all of it scanned, no further action was taken as a subsequent CIS check in the May confirmed ongoing JSA entitlement. I have spoken to the claimant and she advised that her husband did notify the Job Centre of her start of employment and this can be evidenced by the fact that the DWP only have an overpayment for the period 19.4.11 to 2.5.11. The claimant advised that her partner was told that no further action was needed as their benefits including HB would be stopped.

    The LA subsequently added Tax Credits but did not change the other income details and 3 months later it was discovered that they had not taken into account the earnings. An overpayment was created and classified as claimant error.

    I disagree, please give me another opinion…

    Andy Thurman

    I disagree too – at least in part! There may well be an element of DWP error here – if you accept the claimant’s statements and you may be ‘forced’ to do so. I say “an element” because you will have to try to establish dates on which to split the error category.
    The issue of the LA being notified puts the LA in the spotlight too!! The LA error may or may not be negated by the CIS check! When did it happen/what was known/what exactly was decided etc. will all help you formulate an opinion.

    Bizarrely, attributing this to DWP error might be the worst thing for you to have to do!!! I don’t see how the claimant is going to argue that she didn’t know that she was being overpaid, in which case you’ll have to recover (could you really justify a discretionary wrie-off!!) and receive no subsidy.

    Thinking about (and this is in some ways more bizarre still) – they may be able to ‘prove’ they didn’t know if they paid all their rent following the start of employment and were not advised of accruing credit! What’s mad here is that it would not be recoverable and the claimant could then claim a ‘refund’ from their rent account for the credit they did not know existed!!

    Good luck working it out – sorry if that’s more questions than answers but I think you are right to question the claimant error decision while needing close scrutiny to determine any alteration & consequence!


    Thank you, I think you have answered my questions and you have given me more work to do as well… wonderful. I suppose that if the in and out of work scheme “worked” these issues wouldn’t occur but hey, they’re gonna be assessing our UC claims when we are out of work…


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