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Universal Credit Appeal, DWP not responded.

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CorriC
CorriC Community member Posts: 4 Listener
edited October 2023 in Universal Credit (UC)
I have just checked the status of two appeals I have lodged to the first tribunal. The DWP has not responded to either of them, with deadlines for response being 1st and 2nd October respectively. As a bit of background, the tribunal appeals are for two separate overpayments of Universal Credit (don't know if it should matter what they are for).

Anyway, I am posting here as I'm not sure what I should do at this point. Should I contact/raise the issue with the DWP, the tribunal service, both, or wait longer and do nothing?  Any advice is greatly appreciated. 
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Comments

  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,103 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @CorriC - the DWP do not always respond in time. The tribunal will then give them extra time in which to respond. If for whatever reason the DWP still don't respond, you're tribunals will just proceed. It's frustrating that you have this extra wait, but nothing to worry about.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,189 Disability Gamechanger
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    Before proceeding with a Tribunal did you get some expert advice? Are you aware that by law all overpayments for UC are recoverable, even if it's an official error.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • CorriC
    CorriC Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    @poppy123456 yes, I'm aware that all over payments are recoverable and regardless of fault. However, as the overpayments were not our fault being backed up by the added weight of a decision by a tribunal will hopefully give us more leverage when we request the overpayments be written off, which is one of a handful of the things they can do. It is very unlikely but we have to try. The fault is absolutely with the DWP and having to pay back the overpayments is not an option for us.
  • honestjon
    honestjon Community member Posts: 172 Pioneering
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    Hi corric the dwp will refuse to write off the overpayment and will say it is there duty to recover the money and to redistribute it to claimants.
    The tribunal will make sure the law is applied and so you have no way to win this and are wasting your time trying to avoid repaying. No offense intended by the way 
  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 959 Pioneering
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    I'm sorry but the last two comments are simply untrue unless the claimant has misled or misinformed DWP with intent


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,189 Disability Gamechanger
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    WhatThe said:


    I'm sorry but the last two comments are simply untrue unless the claimant has misled or misinformed DWP with intent



    It is correct that all overpayments for Universal Credit are recoverable, even if it's an official error. It's written into the regulations and is the law. 

    Different rules apply for legacy benefits such as Income Related ESA/JSA/ Income Support and housing benefit. Official error for any of those are not recoverable.

    Official Error

    1.21. For Universal Credit, and New Style JSA and ESA, any payments made in excess of entitlement is treated as recoverable overpayments – see Para 1.39. This includes those arising from official error. For other benefits see Para 1.24 for details.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-overpayment-recovery-staff-guide/benefit-overpayment-recovery-guide#chapter-8



    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 959 Pioneering
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    We are only talking about UC here. 

    Nothing is that simple but I'm not going to argue about this. I've made my point and CorriC is able to interpret the legislation just as well as I can.   


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,189 Disability Gamechanger
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    WhatThe said:



    Nothing is that simple but I'm not going to argue about this.
    The only person that seems to be arguing is yourself. I quoted the rules, i don't know what more you would like. I'm out now anyway and will not reply further to you.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,103 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi @WhatThe - you do seem to be arguing with yourself. The OP @CorriC is aware that overpayments, even when it's the DWP's fault, are recoverable as far as UC goes, @honestjon has also commented fairly; the 2 comments you thought 'untrue.' Poppy has added further, & I'd suggest you're not as conversant with the legislation as you think, sorry; I'm therefore unsure as to what 'point' you could possibly be making.
  • CorriC
    CorriC Community member Posts: 4 Listener
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    Yes it is true that all overpayments of Universal Credit are recoverable. However, all overpayments being recoverable does not mean that recovery HAS to take place. Yes, it is very unlikely that the overpayments will be written off, reduced, etc. Yes, my wife and I are likely wasting our time, but the only way we are guaranteed 100% to have to pay back the overpayments that were not a result of errors on our part, is to give up trying.
    No matter how futile things may sometimes seem, the services/options do exist to put right injustices like ours, and if they're not used, eg if write offs aren't requested, then those options will be become more futile to fight for and/or be removed altogether. 

    I've copied and pasted the relevant text from the gov.uk website...

    "Chapter 8 – Secretary of State discretion and waiver

    8.1. The Secretary of State has a duty to protect public funds and will therefore seek to recover debt in all circumstances where it is reasonable to do so. The legislation on the recovery of debts provides the Secretary of State with discretion over whether and how to recover money that is owed. This Chapter explains how that discretion can be exercised. This discretion can be exercised by cancelling part of, or the entire debt through the process of write off or waiver. Discretion can also be exercised by varying the rate of recovery or suspending recovery.

    8.2. Discretion can be considered at any point in the debt journey which could be either when an overpayment is first discovered and before it is notified to the claimant or after notification where the claimant has asked us to look at the circumstances surrounding their overpayment. In exercising this discretion the Secretary of State adheres to the principles set out in the HMT Guidance Managing Public Money (MPM) May 2021.

    How the discretion is applied

    8.3. There are four main ways that the Secretary of State discretion may be applied

    • Cost Effectiveness - Where the Secretary of State does not consider that any action to recover the debt is warranted on cost grounds for example, small overpayments (SMOP). Para 2.16 to 2.18 applies. This would result in the entire debt being written off.
    • Abandonment - The Secretary of State may exercise their discretion and abandon recovery of a debt where all options for recovery have been exhausted and where there is no reasonable expectation of recovery of the debt. Appendix 5 outlines the conditions that need to be met before the Secretary of State will consider abandonment. This would result in the entire debt being written off.
    • Waiver - Waivers are only granted in exceptional circumstances and there would need to be very specific and compelling grounds to do so. A request for waiver should normally be made in writing. This may result in all, or part of the debt being written off.
    • Reduction or suspension - In certain circumstances reducing the repayment or suspending recovery may be an option that would alleviate the debtor’s hardship. Whenever recovery is reduced or suspended the debtor must be made aware that this will be for a limited period only and that after that period repayments may recommence or increase. The discretion to vary the rates of recovery or to suspend recovery are detailed in Chapter 5."

    Here is the link...
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-overpayment-recovery-staff-guide/benefit-overpayment-recovery-guide#chapter-8

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