Social Security Benefits: Overpayments

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what processes her Department uses to agree a repayment rate with claimants for over-payments of welfare payments before making collections.

Photo of Guy Opperman Guy Opperman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department seeks to recover benefit overpayments as quickly as possible without creating any undue financial hardship to the claimant. The initial rate of repayment applied for the recovery of a benefit overpayment is calculated based on three factors:

  • How the overpayment occurred (through either fraud or error).
  • Whether the claimant is in work.
  • Whether any other deductions are applied to their Universal Credit award which might affect the amount that can be deducted.

The Department understands that claimants’ individual circumstances can vary widely. If a claimant contacts the Department to say that they cannot afford the proposed rate of repayment, we will discuss this with the claimant and can re-evaluate their repayment rate. This re-evaluation will be based on income and expenditure, alongside internal data and the industry standard credit information we can access, with the aim of agreeing a sustainable rate of repayment.

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