DWP ESA and Occupational Pension

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Timbo92
Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
Hi
My question is that I received two letters (addressed to wrong house number and opened) saying they'd overpaid me by almost £800 dating right back to 2016. I'm on contribrutionary ESA which occasionally is topped up with Income Related Esa if its the greater amount.

However they have been deducting my full monthly (weekly) pension amount from my CB ESA even when my pension was below the £85 limit. I believe this is wrong according to gov website and I've been in Support Group since 2016.

Rang DWP several times for clarification but call handler can it fathom it out and they promise to get a supervisor to call me back which they never do. 

I'm disabled and in ill health and this is very stressful and worrying for me as I fear thry will transfer this 'debt' thry say I owe to debt collector.

Can anybody offer me any help please

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  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    I don't understand what you mean by this.
    Timbo92 said:
    I'm on contribrutionary ESA which occasionally is topped up with Income Related Esa if its the greater amount.


    If all your ESA is contributions based you will be receiving £117.60/week. Any more than this and at least part of it is income Related. A pension will reduce income Related £1 for £1. So the first thing to ask is how much ESA do you receive?
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    £113.45 CB and IR ESA. Pension equates to £93.31 a week
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Timbo92 said:
    £113.45 CB and IR ESA. Pension equates to £93.31 a week

    Is that your weekly amount? if so that tells me it's just contributions based, with no IR top up. Your pension means that it's £8.30/week  over £85 so there's a deduction of 50p for your ESA for every £1 of pension over £85. This means that your ESA is reduced to £113.45 per week.

  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,005 Championing
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    Agree completely with poppy's analysis. Only CB is paid because the IB entitlement is wiped out by the pension income. The CB is also reduced slightly.

    Unfortunately only ESA can tell you why they think they may have overpaid you.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    Yes that's my weekly amount of pension and ESA. But even when my pension was below the £85 threshold they deducted the full amount of my pension then topped up with IR
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    On top of that I got the first cost of living payment but not received the second payment which the deadline for them paying was yesterday 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Timbo92 said:
    Yes that's my weekly amount of pension and ESA. But even when my pension was below the £85 threshold they deducted the full amount of my pension then topped up with IR

    If you were receiving the IR top up with that amount of weekly pension, even when it's less than £85/week there would still be no entitlement to IR top up. I can see why there's an overpayment.
    Timbo92 said:
    On top of that I got the first cost of living payment
    Then you may also have to pay that back if there's an overpayment of ESA.
    Did you report your pension to ESA when you started to receive it? Either way you will need to ring ESA to speak to them.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    Yes they've known about my pension since it first started and that I get a small annual increase each year on my Birthday as its linked wirh the CPI. Whilst I agree that when my pension rose above the £85 threshold then hf of the excess is deducted from my ESA, and that amount needs to be repaid as they never adjusted the pension increase, what I can't understand is why the Full amount £ for £ is deducted from my total ESA. I receice the disability premiums on top of the basic ESA but then they deduct my full pension payment from that
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Timbo92 said:
    what I can't understand is why the Full amount £ for £ is deducted from my total ESA. I receice the disability premiums on top of the basic ESA but then they deduct my full pension payment from that

    The reason they do that for Income Related top up is it's classed as "other Income." The Income Related top up for a single person, without the SDP is £17.75/week. With a pension of more than £90/week this means there's no entitlement to the top up.
    As your pension is more than £85 per week, as you correctly said your weekly ESA is reduced further.
    Look at it this way, if your ESA was all Income Related then all of your ESA would be reduced by the full pension amount.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    DWP letter dated March 2022,as example. ESA £77; severe disabled premium £69.40; Disability guarantee £17.75; support group £40.60. Total £204.75 minus pension £82.24; total £122.51
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    But letter dated Nov 2022 says I'm on CB and IR ESA and have been since 2016. Its So confusing. Some letters say I'm on CB whilst others say im on IR and others just state ESA. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    OK now i'm understanding more after that calculation because i didn't know your ESA included the SDP in the calculation.
    That letter from March was when your pension was £82.24. In a previous comment you said that your pension was now £93.31. If you didn't report the increase in your pension then i can see why you were overpaid.
    SDP £69.40 EDP £17.75 = £87.15/week. That amount is totally wiped out by your pension of £93.31/week. There's also a further reduction of £4.15 because your pension is more than £85/week. This brings your total ESA weekly amount to £113.45/week.
    It isn't always worth claiming a pension early when claiming any means tested benefits because it always reduces them £1 for £1.
    You will still need to ring ESA as advised.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    Thank you for that  clarification. Why the DWP make it so confusing is beyond me. After a spinal operation failed and left me disabled in 2016 I was forced to retire from teaching and they activated my teachers pension. As for contacting the DWP about this worrying overpayment letter(s) I've rang them 6times in last two weeks and spoken to six different people, none of whom could help me and promised a supervisor would call me back to clarify how they calculated the amount. Still no further forward
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Are you also aware now that because your ESA is now all contributions based you are no longer automatically entitled to free prescriptions (if you live in England), dental or eye tests. You can apply for the NHS low Income scheme https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/nhs-low-income-scheme

  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    I'm over 60 now and also diabetic. But I had to pay for prescriptions etc prior to being 60.  There was always confusion as producing my DWP letters as proof they could not fathom out if I was on CB or IR ESA as it said both
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Coming back to the overpayment from 2016 then i have no idea about that. If they knew about your pension i don't understand why the overpayment goes back that far. Hopefully someone from DWP will ring you back to discuss is further.
    You can also take all of your paper work to an advice agency and they will be able to give you some advice because i can't see any of your paper work to advise about any possible overpayment.
    If the overpayment was an official error then you may not have to pay it back.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    I will update you when/if they do ring. Yes I intend to take all my paperwork with me when the benefits expert at AgeUK books me the appointment they say. 

    I agree I cannot understand the 2016 situation as I only went over the £85 threshold for my pension in 2018. 

    I also have the letter from 2016 informing me that I had informed them that I was now in receipt of my pension and the amount and that they’d contact HMRC to confirm. 

    Not sure how I will find the money to repay as I’m really struggling now as it is. I agree it’s an error on probably both parties so maybe they’ll show some compassion!!

    Lastly I wasn’t at all happy about the overpayment letters being sent to the wrong address even though they hold my correct address on file and have received other letters correctly address. Clearly as the letters had been opened before I got them then that’s surely a breach of my personal data as it included sensitive information about me, my NI number, my DoB and my financial situation 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,275 Championing
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    Timbo92 said:

    Lastly I wasn’t at all happy about the overpayment letters being sent to the wrong address even though they hold my correct address on file and have received other letters correctly address. Clearly as the letters had been opened before I got them then that’s surely a breach of my personal data as it included sensitive information about me, my NI number, my DoB and my financial situation 

    You can put in a complaint about that. That's quite bad on your neighbours part to open a letter that's not addressed to them.
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    I looked On google earth to find where the house number they sent my letter to and it’s within the next village albeit we have the same street name. I didn’t have to courage to go and ask if they opened it in error as it’s quite easily done as I tend not to look at the address my letters are when they arrive as I live alone. But the DWP have a responsibility to protect my data and I think they’ll failed to do so in this case. When I told them on the phone all they said was sorry it must have been a ‘typo’ but I wasn’t satisfied with that response as I expect far higher standards from them. Makes me wonder if they’ve done that on previous occasions that I haven’t been made aware of
  • Timbo92
    Timbo92 Community member Posts: 13 Listener
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    Just an update for all you kind people. 

    DWP (person who actually sent me the overpayment letters) rang me to say that she is posting me a breakdown of how she calculated the figures I owe. 

    I asked the question which ESA I was actually on. She said I’ve always been on CB. She agreed that previous letters sent did not clarify this, but said the IT system is flawed and they cannot manually alter what it spits out. 

    She agreed with me that they should of made things clearer when she sent the overpayment letters. However as she only deals with overpayments her calculations are based on what another department of the DWP states I receive. 

    She admitted she was not a benefits expert, and that when they say a supervisor will call you back a supervisor is just a manager of the workforce and NOT a benefits expert. 

    She said that if I disagreed with her calculations then I need to ask for a mandatory reconsideration; which is what I shall do if I disagree with her figures. 

    On my question about possible underpayments due to errors in calculations dating back to 2016 she said I need to contact the main office as she just deals with overpayments. The amount of debt I owe still needs to be repaid regardless if my benefit was underpaid in the past. 

    She could not comment of cost of living payments as was not in her remit. Only deals with overpayments.

    Lastly she apologised for sending letters to wrong address and didn’t know how that had happened as she confirmed my correct address was on their systems. 

    On a final note she gave me a piece of advice and said to contact my MP as that’s the only route open to claimants to get things resolved. 

    Hope this helps others in similar situations