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Repayment of benefits for backdated pension ?

eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected

Unusual query.


I was on benefits last year. when I received a letter from the Scottish Public Pension Agency.

It said ‘I am writing to you in relation to your unclaimed teacher’s pension which became payable from your 60th birthday (17/05/2015)  … Your pension will be backdated to your 60th birthday’.

I signed off immediately and claimed the pension including the backdated amount. The question is whether the DWP could ask me to repay the benefits for the four years of backdated pension.

I am asking because I want to claim a tax rebate for those four years and am frightened the tax people will contact the DWP.


Thank you !!!


Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    I think i know the answer but because i'm not 100% sure then i'm going to tag a member of our admin team who will be able to advise you further.

    @Adrian_Scope can you advise here please? Thanks in advance for any help.
    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.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,001

    Scope community team

    Thanks for the tag @poppy123456

    @eric144, I hope you don't mind, I'm going to speak to our benefit adviser @Joanne_Scope to confirm and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. 
    Community Manager
    Scope
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    HI @eric144,

     I think that is possible that the DWP will re examine  your benefits over the period when you could have claimed your pension.

    Usually if people choose not to access a pension they are entitled to, the DWP regard this as "notional income" and they treat the person as if they have got the money and reduce the benefits accordingly on a weekly/monthly basis.

    If the monthly pension would have taken you over the limit for means tested benefits completely then you could be asked to repay the benefits. 

    If you were getting contribution based ESA the rules are different and your ESA would have been reduced by 50% of any pension payment over £85 per week so it would be harder to work out what you might be asked to repay.

    If the DWP decide that you have an overpayment then they will contact you. They have access to information from HMRC so I don't think that claiming your tax rebate will trigger anything that would not happen anyway.

    I hope this helps. If you want to talk it through with one of our advisers please feel free to call our helpline on 0808 800 3333. We are open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
    Joanne 
    Scope
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Many thanks Joanne.

    I read about "notional income" on this forum and indeed someone was asked to pay it back. That's why I asked the question.

    The tax people want a record of my income in each year and as I was claiming benefits at the time I am scared they will contact the DWP.  I don't suppose they would.

    The DWP don't know about the pension because there was no reason for me to tell them. I only found out about notional income some time later on this forum (after I signed off) . I am not going to tell them b/c I behaved entirely properly and don't want to give most of my savings to the government who won't miss it !

    very best wishes

    Eric


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    @Joanne_Scope thanks for that, this is exactly what i thought.

    @eric144 when you receive your pension my advice is to contact DWP to tell them because they will find out anyway and it's better to tell them before they do.
    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.
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Thanks poppy

    I've claimed the pension for more than a year now so they didn't find out. I couldn't claim the tax rebate before April 2020 and the Covid situation has meant the process has been delayed by the pension people being on urgent contact only.

    best

    Eric
  • Joanne_ScopeJoanne_Scope Scope helpline, Scope adviser Posts: 190 Pioneering
    Hi @eric144,

    I do agree with @poppy123456. It is always best to tell the DWP about changes. They will pick up on the information eventually. 
    Joanne 
    Scope
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    edited August 2020
    I signed off in May 2019 having behaved in a 100% honest manner throughout.

    I was an extremely unhappy customer as you can see from the post I made just after this one. It was the dishonest and dysfunctional correspondence around the appeal that annoyed me. I will not be contacting them again. I just wanted to get away from the entire, horrible system. 

    https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/73038/wca-statement-from-assessor-disappeared#latest
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It's entirely your decision whether you contact them or not but it could be a totally different story if they find out in the future and they most likely will at some point.
    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.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,201 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and sorry to but in here but I totally agree you should let them know as you will be found out . 

    I get you may have your reasons but it is dishonest to have got benefits that you are not entitled to . I understand you didnt do anything intentionally at the time but now you are aware and should do the right thing

    Only my own opinion
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Quickly after my area rolled out UC I was called in for a WCA (first time in five years) which appears to have been a stitch up. I am then put on UC, told I can't go back to ESA and have to wait five weeks for payment. That is a very unpleasant system.

    When I made the appeal I was told that any subsequent WCA (automatic fail) would overrule the appeal. Sure enough I got another WCA invitation before I was given an appeal date. This is Sisyphus*  on acid. An eternal round of misery, stress and  extreme poverty. My adviser didn't tell me it was he who set up the WCA. I didn't ask him anything. All information came from this and similar forums.

    I wouldn't trust them to tell the truth or know what they're doing. The letters were sometimes childish and offhand. However everyone I met  in person was extremely nice. The system not the people.

    I will not be found out because there is no mechanism for me to be found out. I have a P60 from HMRC. I have no connection to the DWP and no intention of making one. For me to hand back that money would be an enormous penalty to me. One I have no intention of paying.


    I admit to being  surprised that people feel it necessary to express their opinion on this. Would you hand the money back ? Really ?


    *  Sisyphus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisyphus
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,201 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry but people will express their opinion 

    I agree the system is very unpleasant and lots of us have been subjected to having to fight for what is rightfully ours me included

    But yes I would pay back anything I owed as I couldn't sleep at night 

    I wont comment further 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes i would pay the money back, why on earth would you think someone wouldn't pay it back? It's called benefit fraud and yes they can and will find out. I'm with @janer1967 here and i won't make any further comments.
    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.
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    My income now is less than it was when I was on ESA. I need this money to survive right now. I won't get a state pension for another year.  I only found out about notional income on this forum. Most people wouldn't even imagine something like that existed. The DWP don't know I have a pension. I regard the pension back pay as a miracle when I needed it most.

    If I was well off I would pay it back but I'm really not.

    cheers
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,503 Disability Gamechanger
    I have to agree that not to re-pay is fraud, there is far more interaction between the DWP and HMRC than you would imagine, I have been in a simlar situation myself recently (simlar not the same) I informed the DWP immediately, they acted promptly as did HMRC.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    Woodbine

    Tell us what happened. Did you repay money ? How much was it ? Exactly what happened ?
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,503 Disability Gamechanger
    No money to repay as I notified both the DWP and HMRC immediately, it was enough for me to know I had to do so and I knew you can't fool these people and shouldn't even try to if you want to sleep at night, I also knew I can't tell other people to do the right thing and not do so myself, as for exactly what happened thats a long story but suffice to say it cost us over a £1000 a month (in total) in various benefits.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • eric144eric144 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    That's different. You would have been actively defrauding them while you had a relationship with them. I would have done the same.

    I haven't had any contact with the DWP for more than a year. In the astoundingly unlikely situation the DWP contacted me I could simply plead ignorance of the rules. A rather prim former school prefect friend I told this to was shocked when he heard the  notional income rule.  

    For me the benefits repayment would be bigger than the back pension even before tax. This was a mistake made by the pensions agency, not me and I think (under the circumstances)  it' would be cruel to ask me to pay it back even if it is against the rules.

    Incidentally my tax rebate claim was made on the basis of rules the ones I spoke to at HMRC hadn't heard of.  They sent me a letter confirming I was correct.That's the power of Google !!


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