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TOPIC: Please help! DWP chasing me for debt

Please help! DWP chasing me for debt 6 years 11 months ago #14249

Hello, I used to get Pension Credit but in February this year I started getting a small occupational pension as part of my divorce, however I forgot to tell the DWP until April but they kept paying me until June before they stopped it, and I didn't get an official acknowledgement from them til November - which put me into difficulties with the Council Tax as well...

Anyway, now I've had another letter via the DWP debt coollection people in Corby demanding I pay back over £1,600 from February to June. I worked out how much I'd received and it was correct so I can't appeal, BUT, paying this back will cause enormous difficulties as I now have to pay Council Tax, I'm only on a state pension of £36 a week plus my husband's IB and occupation pension of £100 a week - with all out bills and outgoings I sdimply don't have anything spare.

I don't know what I'm going to do!!! How much can they demand that I pay? Obviously I cannot pay such a huge sum immediately, and the way we live, we try to slice pennies off our outgoings, never mind add to them. I haven't phoned them because I want to know where I stand regarding the amount I have to pay back. Please help.
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Re:Please help! DWP chasing me for debt 6 years 11 months ago #14253

Hi BonnyBunny,

The best and only advice we can give is that you should contact a welfare rights worker as soon as you can.

At this stage, it is not absolutely certain that you can't appeal the the amount you are being asked to repay. It would be worth looking into whether any overpayment from the date you informed them of your change of circumstances can be recovered. You can also get advice from a welfare rights worker about how you may be able to negotiate the repayments and what the maximum amount per week that can be taken off you is.

Bear in mind that you only have one month from the date the decision in which to appeal so you may need to try to get advice very quickly. If you go to the help with your benefits page on the main site you will find details of how to contact organisations such as community legal service direct.

Good luck,

Steve
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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Re:Please help! DWP chasing me for debt 6 years 11 months ago #14264

BonnyBunny wrote:
Hello, I used to get Pension Credit but in February this year I started getting a small occupational pension as part of my divorce, however I forgot to tell the DWP until April but they kept paying me until June before they stopped it, and I didn't get an official acknowledgement from them til November - which put me into difficulties with the Council Tax as well...

Anyway, now I've had another letter via the DWP debt coollection people in Corby demanding I pay back over £1,600 from February to June. I worked out how much I'd received and it was correct so I can't appeal, BUT, paying this back will cause enormous difficulties as I now have to pay Council Tax, I'm only on a state pension of £36 a week plus my husband's IB and occupation pension of £100 a week - with all out bills and outgoings I sdimply don't have anything spare.

I don't know what I'm going to do!!! How much can they demand that I pay? Obviously I cannot pay such a huge sum immediately, and the way we live, we try to slice pennies off our outgoings, never mind add to them. I haven't phoned them because I want to know where I stand regarding the amount I have to pay back. Please help.

I agree with Steve that you need to consult a WRO about your alleged overpayment.

I will say however, that if you reported the change of circumstances to the correct Pension Credit office which dealt with your claim in April and they continued to make payment until June, any resulting alleged overpayment following the notification would be an official error and therefore not recoverable. This would constitute potential grounds for appeal, if repayment of the whole amount is required.

As a rule if a means-tested benefit is recoverable, and provided a claimant still qualifies for means-tested benefits in some capacity, the maximum amount that can be recovered is £9.75 per week. If the claimant is no longer entitled to means-tested benefits, the DWP can demand repayment of up to one third of the claimant's non-means tested benefits. RP and IB are non-means tested benefits.

As Steve has said, if you fit into the latter category and if the amount of any recovery would be likely to cause hardship, you may be able to negotiate the weekly rate of repayment with the DWP.
Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems
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