Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA Overpayment (WRAG)

I recently learned of the £6,000 saving limit and I'm worried I have been over payed since I received inheritance from my granddad in 2017. 

What action should I take?
Is my benefit likely to be clawed back or will I be asked for a lump sum?
My parents are worried I will be prosecuted for benefit fraud, is this realistic?

I'm going to speak to Citizens Advice, I think the next step will be contacting the DWP in some way but I don't know.

Any advice or info of similar experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2018
    Hi,

    If you're claiming Income Related ESA and any other means tested benefits then yes the savings limit applies to you. For every £250 over £6000 your benefit is affect by £1, so if you have £7000 in savings then you lose £4 of your ESA (per week). Over £16000 and your benefits stop completely.

    You need to contact ESA as soon as possible.... today and tell them you have savings. You most likely won't be prosecuted but any over payment will need to be paid back. It's always better to be honest and tell them, rather than them finding out their self and they will eventually find out.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • WordsWords Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you for the swift response!
    I spoke to the Jobcentre and they gave me a number to call and report my savings(0800 169 0310).
    I've been informed I'll need to send bank statements to show my savings from the date I exceeded the £6,000 limit, My benefits will be put on hold to avoid further overpayment until the issue is resolved. 

    Also Overpayments can be resolved with lump sums if affordable or through a debt management scheme.
    And finally I may face a civil fine (£50) but prosecution is unlikely.

    I hope this proves useful to others in similar circumstances.
  • ofmeofme Member Posts: 18 Listener
    Thank you for this post. It explains a lot of why this has happened to me. Good luck  😐😐
  • siobhan1siobhan1 Member Posts: 77 Pioneering
    If you need any advice on paying back the overpayment please let me know. Until recently I was working in DWP Debt Management and I know all of the legislation around recovery of overpayments.

    You will most probably be liable to pay a civil penalty of £50 per  overpayment which is added to the total debt and recovered in the same way as the about overpaid.

    If income related benefit is your only income they will deduct uo to approximately £11.10 per week from your benefit depending on your circumstances.

    If you only get contribution based it can be 30% of your weekly award, but if that's the case you probably wouldn't have an overpayment anyway.

    Once you get notice of the overpayment from the benefit office (the process can take months as they may need more info from you), you will shortly recieve a letter giving 2 weeks notice of deductions. You can either wait for deductions to be set up or call to make payments off the balance. You can also request higher deductions if you feel you can afford it, but must leave 10p of benefit in payment.

    If you cannot afford the rate given, write down your income and expenditure. They will only accept essential costs as outgoings, no money for socialising unless it's therapy for example. If you call debt management you can discuss a lower rate but I would be honest about any outgoings as they credit check you using a system called PSG which doesn't appear on your file.

    Finally I would report the overpayment yourself as if it's found out during a compliance check you could end up with an administrative penalty or go to court. The debt would have to be repaid even if you are found not to have fraudulently claimed. If they decide the error was purposeful they can recover at 30% of your beenfit and also there are only 6 circumstances they can consider to lower the repayment rate, all of which require written evidence.

    I'm not telling people this to scare, it used to break my heart when I spoke to people who were in this situation so I want to help as many people as possible to avoid it. Good luck with everything.
  • WordsWords Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Update: 
    I had to chase this up with the DWP before they got round to dealing with it.  3 phone calls and 4 weeks later I have a verbal assurance that i don't have to worry and the calculation of overpayment will be passed on to the debt management team. However I was also told the debt management team could take a couple of months to get back to me (don't know if this is because of the holiday period or just standard)
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