How to challenge Overpayment demands
Housing Benefit Overpayment

UCadvocacy
UCadvocacy
112 Thanks
146 Posts
2 years ago
0

Afternoon,

You'll find a link to a recent article of mine highlighting the fact DWP is now on a mission to recover overpayments relating to Universal Credit "housing costs" and, in the process, failing to properly notify landlords and demanding repayment, simply because the landlord has received payment.

Receiving payment direct, can sometimes lead to DWP justifiably pursuing the landlord, especially where he/she has either caused or contributed to the overpayment. Most overpayments however are caused by the neglect of the claimant, failing to report changes in their family/income circumstances or "official" blunders.

For example, I'm dealing with a landlord who has just been issued with 7 demands amounting to £80,000 which have been caused by a bun fight, between DWP & Council, over who should pay the tenant. Neither could agree, so both paid the landlord.

Appeals were lodged 7 months ago, with DWP which it failed to respond to. So, I raised the issue with the Tribunal Service, causing a District Judge to intervene and issue instructions to DWP setting out various things it had to do. Despite the Judge's Directions, DWP has still failed to respond. Why?

It believes, it doesn't have a role to play in the appeals, suggesting instead, the Council must handle things. Complete nonsense, as it issued the overpayment demands. Ironically, it decided it had made the mistake, when in this case, it was right to pay and the Council was wrong!

I have also been alerted to many cases, where DWP is raising demands for £5000+ relating to tenants who first claimed UC during the initial lockdown period, when DWP waived the usual checks and balances under what it called its "trust and protect" policy. Unsurprisingly, this led to overpayments going through the roof, with £6 Billion being overpaid in 2020/21 and, as you can imagine, this attracted lots of bad publicity. Hence its current mission of chasing the recipients - mainly landlords!

If you know of anyone affected, advise them to challenge the demands or seek advice to do so.

The article can be found here: https://universalcreditadvice.com/articles/how-to-challenge-universal-credit-overpayment-demands/

Bill

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