Social security benefits such as disability benefits are very noble indeed.
However, sometimes these benefits get overpaid and put you in debt.
Certain actions have to be taken to recover the overpaid benefits. In this post, I’ll cover all you should know about the reasons for such debts along with answering some FAQs about how to deal with them.
Complaints to the Financial Ombudsmen have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.
What is DWP?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the UK’s biggest public service department. It oversees and manages the pensions, welfare and child maintenance policies.
It administers the State pension, disability and ill health benefits and also decides the working age of the people.
Why Would I Owe Money to the DWP?
If you have been paid a social benefit, and your circumstances change and you don’t tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), they continue paying you your social benefit.
However, once they find out that there’s been a mistake and you have been overpaid, you might need to repay back your dues. The DWP Debt Management can also contact debt collectors who will help in recovering the debt owed.
It is advised that you let the DWP know right away if you are being overpaid or if your circumstances change.
Don’t Worry, here’s what to do
You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off your debt. I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator which will tell you if you’re eligible:
What Does DWP Debt Management Do?
DWP debt management is a section of the Department for Work and Pensions which helps in recovering overpaid social security benefits.
It can also help us in recovering
- Unpaid Social Fund loans.
- Advance payments, which include both short term and long term advance payments.
- Housing benefits overpayments or tax credit payments that need to be reimbursed.
- Benefits from estates of deceased customers that have been overpaid. This is done by the Estates Team.
- Social security benefits can also be secured in compensation cases.
Customer support and contact are done in 6 different contact centres all over the UK. For the contact details either log on to gov.uk or you can telephone 0800 916 0647.
Calling the DWP contact number would be a better option considering the bizarre circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If you want to head over, the DWP offices don’t follow the Monday to Friday routine and are readily available 24/7, even on public holidays.
Find your best debt solution (in 1 minute!)
Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. If you’re eligible for the new government scheme, you could write off up to 85% of your debt! Answer the four questions now.
How Do I Contact DWP Debt Management?
If you’re conscious about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you should know that the DWP Debt Management offices ensure that proper SOPs are followed and social distancing is maintained so you can get the information and support you want without any obstacle.
The DWP has a variety of jobs to do. This is why there are a lot of different phone numbers that can be called. The DWP phone numbers are listed in detail on the website gov.uk.
However, if you wish to contact the debt managers, the phone number is 0800 916 0647.
If you have hearing difficulties, or are uncomfortable talking in person, you can also text at 0800 916 0651 for information and support.
If you want to write a letter to the DWP debt management, you can write to their postal address or to the following address:
Debt Management (C)
Mail Handling Site A
All of their contact centres, except the compensation recovery unit, uses the given address.
Unfortunately, you cannot contact the DWP Debt Management office via your email address.
How Much Can DWP Deduct from Benefits?
The DWP pays you certain benefits which can include carers and disability benefits. The DWP also helps employers advertise their jobs. Other benefits include the Pension Service, child support and maintenance service and they also offer you child maintenance options.
When you’re no longer eligible for any benefit you’re receiving and do not inform the Department for Work and Pension, you owe some money to them. The DWP could also decide to make a deduction in your benefit, instead of taking the whole amount away.
When making a decision, they consider a number of things. For benefits like income support and pension credit, the deduction rate is 5%. However when dealing with Universal Credit, the deductions for overpaid securities can be 10% and can go up to 40% varying case from case.
Can DWP recover overpayments?
The debt management department can definitely reclaim overpayments.
In fact, the DWP can request information as far back as 12 years. They might also demand additional information to point out if any mistake has been made.
However, during the coronavirus pandemic, the DWP stopped reclaiming overpayments due to social distancing protocols.
Can DWP check your Facebook?
People are worried that the DWP can access your Facebook for images and can later use these images as evidence in court. Well, they can.
The court allows use of evidential images and the source is not specified. This means that the debt management office can definitely access our Facebook, and they don’t even have to tell us.
What you can do is to recheck and make sure that the privacy settings are exactly how you want them to be, so that no unknown person can access your information.
How far back can DWP claim overpayments?
The Debt management office can try to reclaim overpayments as far as 12 years back.
Does the DWP debt management have an email address?
No, the information provided on the website does not include an email address. If you want to reach out, you can either call them, text them or write them a letter.
Can you ask the DWP for help?
If you’re thinking ‘We fall under the requirements of the social benefit, maybe the department should help us.’, then you need to provide them with all the information they need. If they think that you fall under the criteria, you’ll start receiving your benefit.
Would the overpayment recovery continue in times of COVID-19?
No, the debt management office announced that due to the pandemic, the recovery processes are halted and will continue after the risk has passed.
Wrapping it Up
Recovering overpaid social security benefits seems like a cruel thing to do but it is important that the department doesn’t exceed their budget. If you are overpaid, keep in mind that a genuine case might be underpaid because of it.
I hope this article was helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and tell us on the email address provided.