Sad and Disillusioned with the DWP!!

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Today I feel sad and disillusioned with the antics of the DWP.

Most of you will know that they closed my DLA claim down because (they said) that I had not followed the rules when I was asked to move over to PIP.

Well this morning I recieved a letter telling me that I owe them £450.20 in respect of 4 weeks worth of DLA payments that were made to me by them in error.

So telephoned them and obtained their explanation. Apparently they 'suspended' the DLA claim for 4 weeks and then 'terminated' the claim. Under the 'suspension' I should not have received any money but I did which I admit to have received. They now want it back as the 'termination' should have taken place from the date the 'suspension' was activated and not from the date of the decision to 'terminate' the claim.

Hence they want their pound of flesh!

This is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Because my DLA claim was active for 4 weeks longer than it should, I have been overpaid Pension Credit of £388.26 (the double disability premium was given for those 4 weeks in error), On top of that they (the Pension Service) paid towards our mortgage 4 payments of £55.23. Then the Council will want their pound of flesh as for those 4 weeks we were not entitled to the 100% relief for Council Tax Support, another £28.59 a week.

All in all for those 4 weeks that they paid me in error I am going to have to find £450.20 + £388.26 + £220.92 + £114.36 = £1173.74!!

Ah well, I will now have to read up on whether everyone has the right to this money. This DLA/PIP  transfer is costing me a damn fortune - I am losing nearly £300 a week, if you include the Council Tax Support and now everyone will want more!!

I know that what they are saving just on me - £15,258.62 a year is only a tiny fraction of the £2.6bn they intend to save overall each year, but it feels like £2.6bn!!

  

 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    It's hard to find anything to say in response to that apart from f*****g hell.

    I know if you can show it was a mistake by the DWP that you received the money then it can be written off. It is a very hard thing to do but in this case they have admitted to an error and it is hard to see how you the claimant were supposed to know the difference between 'suspension' and 'termination' at that point.

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  • Posted

    Hi Les,

    I feel sorry for you, they put me through a very similar predicament back last year!

    I tried fighting them with everything I knew, regarding loopholes to even running over a 6 year time-lapse (Statute Barred). Stature Barred is outlined under the Limitation Act 1980, regarding debt passed over the 6 year period. In my case, they were outside this Act by 4 years, so in theory I should have not been sent a letter from the DWP asking for a payment made back in 2005.

    However, when I looked further in to this matter and the Statute Barred Act, the DWP is EXEMPT! Which is typical of any government body!

    That left me with just one option using a debt relief order (DRO) which is a way to have your debts written off if you have a relatively low level of debt and have few assets. This would clear ALL debts off, providing they do not total more than £15,000.

    A DRO is £90 per person, which must be paid before the DRO be setup - but it stops any Government debts as well.

    We had alot of debt this time last year, basically it was all in my name, and I basically got credit card, after credit card and loans - but it came to a point where we couldn't afford to any creditor anything. But what did not make any sense was I was buying products I didn't even want, and had no use for.

    My Neurologist looked in to the medication I was on, and side-effects and found one that if taken with another, causes a person to gamble away money or purchase goods even though they had no use for them. They then looked back on when I started taking many credit cards out, it all went back back to when I was put on to a new medication. I went and seen specialists which proved I was under medication when I took out the credit agreements.

    I got a form from my GP, whom filled it in, which we sent to around 17 creditors stating that we could not afford the payments or even a reduced payments, therefore we were left with two options, either they wrote-off the debt, or we would have to setup a DRO, either way, a creditor can no longer pester a client for money owed, due to causing further issues to health.

    Most creditors wrote off the debts, I had another letter just today from Lloyds stating my account was now closed.

    Obviously, I cannot obtain credit now - but it was such a stressful period. I had just under £15,000 in debts, written off, due to mental problems. Many organisations like the CAB, said to us - Well, good luck with that approach, basically being sarcastic. But we proved them wrong.

    Regards,

    Les.

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    • Posted

      Hi Les I volunteered at the CAB and I was sometimes perplexed at the way they dealt with debt issues.

      I can remember a few clients bringing in debt demands which had only a couple of months to run until they became statute barred. The advice seemed obvious to me which was ignore them as they would soon become unrecoverable.

      However, the debt specialists would insist on setting up token payments of £1 per week which had the effect of resetting the clock with regard to statute of limitations. This meant that the debtor was paying off thousands of pounds of debt at the rate of £52pa when they could just do nothing and see the whole lot wiped in a few weeks time.

      I always tell friends who are heavily in debt but can’t afford repayment that they should wait until the court papers come through their letterboxes. At that point they can set up a DRO.

      Of course some debt such as benefit obtained by fraud, council tax and court fines can never be written off.

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    • Posted

      That is very true Anthony! Any value of a token would just reset the Statute Barred! That makes no sense whatsoever to me.

      We have a couple of debts owing to creditors that we informed them back last year. Now, normally you would expect a letter or some correspondance - but we have heard nothing at all. What makes this even stranger is we have had no yearly statements from these companies either. So, we do not know if they wrote the debt off, or we still owe the debt (but I thought by law now, creditors have to send out a statement annually)?

      Well, we are not contacting them just in case, it would reset the first year of the Statute Barred. Many people do not know about such Acts, or how you can use them against a company.

      The problem I had with the DWP was they wanted me to start paying back a Social Loan which was issued in 2005, it was 10 years ago. But we found we had letters from them stating payments had started - a total of 5 letters, all with different dates on. However, when I phoned up the DWP to dispute the amount, they said they would need proof. So, I said I have 5 letters from the DWP regarding that Social Loan in 2005 - they told me that they could not accept letters from them because they do not class letters from themselves as proof! Even though it states on their letters 'Please keep for future reference'. When I asked what would you class as proof? they said headed Bank Statements!

      Well, bank statements are available online with any UK bank, up to 7 years, anything after that is not allowed to be accessible online due to the Data Protection Act. The only option left was that we could go in to the bank and look back on statements, but you are not allowed by law to print out what is on the screen, and only a bank employee can operate the terminal. We seen a number of payments made to the DWP, but we had no way of proving it. Hence, the DWP win again!

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  • Posted

    find it hard to read what I've just seen. evil. scary. downright bluff if you ask me. so they say you now pay for their incompetence. is this there transparency they pride themselves on to each other and their apologists. I'm so sorry for you and your wife. all the best Les. keep well. ivan

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  • Posted

    Hi les59996,

    So sorry to read your latest post, seems someone may have it in for you at dwp. Trouble is anyone in the dwp etc. Have our information readily to hand, upset anyone in Authority and they can ruin you from hundreds of miles away from their office.

    Now les, I was browsing through uk gov websites and came across an "Transparency Information" page.It was DWP payments for June 2016 entitled Department for Works and Pensions Transparency Data updated 15th July 2016. It shows the payments made to Atos and Capita for a one month period, makes interesting reading.

    Best of luck les and "don't let the bast---ds get you down.

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    • Posted

      Personally I wouldn't like to believe that anybody from the DWP would have the time or energy to single out one claimant to make his or her life hell.

      However, I will admit that since 2009/10 there has been a lot of 'bad blood' between us. Insofar as finding (due to the incompetence of someone photocopy my file for me and actually copying a report prepared by ATOS which was clearly headed - 'this must not be copied to the claimant'.

      It was an extra sheet attached to the ESA85 that ATOS sent to the DWP and was circulated to the MOJ (because an appeal had been requested by me).

      The sheet of paper was typed and consisted of 7 lines. It was a personal attack on my credibility and good character - it described me as being obnoxious, arrogant, untrustworthy and deceptive.

      When I contacted the DWP over this document they apologised and said that it should never have been sent or completed by ATOS. 

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    • Posted

      Hi les,

      I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist, because of authoritarian actions sprung on me in the past. You don't have to go far these days to offend people. Those neighbours across the street, a tradesperson , if they or their partners work in local government they could have access to your files and cause chaos without anyone knowing.

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    • Posted

      Hi Mike,

      You would not believe just how much information is really online, and just how detailed that information could be. People these days think that by not using any online banking information, then there is no chance of them having their banks accounts emptied by anyone. What makes that information worse is the fact it is all online and in public view, the website directories are open to the public!

      Job Centres tell people to apply for jobs online, look at how much information you are sending out, including your CV! That information is initally just in one document, and already publicly available. One the vancancy is filled, then everyones details that applied for that job is placed on a spreadsheet. And again it is publicly available, you don't need any skills really on finding these documents, there are millions of them, worldwide.

      And that is all from applying for a job! People do not really know just how much details they just give away with a simple task.

      The mind boggles, our gov't website is about as secure as leaving your key in the front door! Google actually has indexed MP documents, DWP Staff Only documents, the list goes on.. Then you get stories on the news saying leaked documents have been found on websites! Yes, their own website.

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  • Posted

    Many thanks for all of your comments. One way or another I intend to object/appeal against the DWP 'debt' As you say I haven't got the faintest idea as to what the legal difference is between a suspension and a termination. OK I suppose I do owe the DLA money even though it was their utter incompetence in landing me in this mess.

    As for the knock on problems I have no idea where to go. Having read a bit about the subject this afternoon it seems that when they suspend a claim it means that it shouldn't be paid for a period of time. Then if that suspension is lifted everything goes back to normal in that they pay the suspended monies and nothing more is said about it. However if the suspension turns into a termination, the money that was suspended is kept by the DWP. So it looks at though you are somehow given a 'last chance' to do something during the suspension period in order to avoid the termination.

    For the life of me I can't see where then I was given this 'last chance'. According to them the 30 days that they allowed me to contact them (in the way they dictated) to start the PIP claim off had already expired before they suspended the DLA claim.

    How the hell could I have put anything right if all that the DWP would have done is say that I was too late in any event to get it put right? 

    Then it seems that the termination date, if it goes that far, is the date when the suspension started. I presume then that this is what should have happened.

    The way I read all of this is that I have had nearly £1200 that should not have been issued. 

    As I have said I am pretty pi**ed off today over this - they make the error but I am expected to cover it up for them.

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    • Posted

      I've only just caught up with this thread and I'm shocked at the insensitivity of the DWP who caused this cock up, are trying to blame you and now demanding that you pay up.  It does seem as if they have it in for you.  

      I really don't know what to say, I just hope you can find some energy to fight them.  Hang on in there Les.

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    • Posted

      Silly as it may sound but from my experience and the extensive history that I have with the DWP, I personally believe that all of my files have a marker on them. I know that this does happen within the civil service - customers/claimants are logged as being awkward or violent for example.

      Maybe yes they do have a marker of some decription.It seems to be the case with all of my dealings with the DWP that they see me as a black/white customer and that as such there would be no leeway or consideration be given if they used their discretion. Thinking back every decision made by them was clearly correct in law based on flawed facts given to them by third parties (ATOS/CAPITA/MEDICAL SERVICES. Many times they could have used their option to allow discretion but they seem not to want to do so.

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    • Posted

      Hi Les

      My understanding with regard to ‘blame’ when the DWP make an overpayment is that the claimant must on the balance of probabilities couldn’t have known that they were not entitled to the payment, even if it is an obvious mistake by the DWP.

      In your case that would mean that once informed of the ‘suspension’ it was likely that you knew the payment was not due.

      This could be due to letters from the DWP informing you of the situation or that it was blindingly obvious no money was due or was an incorrect amount.

      Your situation is one I have not come across before (suspension of benefit) but I would argue that it was not reasonable for you to have known the exact monies due or not due at that time and any payment could have been mistaken for arrears in benefit and as the DWP didn’t clarify it at the time they were in error.

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    • Posted

      Thanks

      I have to be honest but I never received a letter or phone call telling me that my DLA had been suspended. All I did receive was a letter telling me that in view of the fact that I had not carried out the required actions with regards to the PIP claim/conversion and within the time allowed, they had closed down the DLA award.

      And that's where I left it and decided that I couldn't really cope with what PIP would throw at me for the rest of my life. 

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