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Overpayment Appeal

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Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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nevip - 18 November 2020 09:43 PM

Trust your instinct Dave and do what you feel is right.  These kinds of cases in your early days are those you learn a lot from.  And, don’t be afraid to make an honest mistake.

Well said.

In the early days of my career I once spent 3 hours chasing round to figure out a £1 discrepancy between my clients weekly payments of Supp Ben and my calculation. Colleagues let me get on with it and, when I eventually twigged that the £1 was the LT rate of SB for pensioners through a most embarrassing call to what was then the DHSS, they showed me how I could have found that answer with around 10 minutes research.

Even now I have a tendency to look incredulous if a colleague asks me a WR question and I get a blank look when I say “... and have you looked in CPAG? What did CPAG say?” etc.

As an inexperienced adviser this is exactly the sort of case I would have loved. Lots of factual nooks and crannies to be explored and lots to think about in terms of ways forward. Provided you have sufficient resources such as CPAG, DRH and places like here there’s no reason to not carry on with this.

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As one of the newer members (and a lone adviser) I agree a bit with both sides here. I take on complex cases because I know I’ll learn so much from them that will help other clients down the line.
There are few cases I haven’t been able to figure out, though sometimes only after I’ve made a mistake, and some took an inordinate amount of time, which is potentially unfair to my other clients.
A big part of learning is accruing enough knowledge to make an accurate estimation of what you are capable of at this point in time, otherwise you’ll find yourself swamped.

Also worth highlighting that some people are either less capable by design, or aren’t allowed to flourish by their managers. When I volunteered at one of the CABs, several PAID staff said they didn’t use the CPAG handbook, because they found it “too complicated”. The fact that you’re on this forum suggests that you’re probably not one of those.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Whatever Paul (Nevip) said!!!

We all learn on the job, and as per Mike and Va1der points gotta keep striving and use CPAG.

At the risk of being labelled a hippy (I’m not a hippy)!!

Dave I would be tempted to try to build a relationship with your local CAB (sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t), or if the local LCA is seeing this, reach out to Dave and his colleagues.

From experience most Indie advice agencies have meagre resources, so anything to help fellow local welfs re: access to books, training materials, and training places for nothing.

It’s really great to see an Indie advice agency that’s survived, a lot have folded over the years. We need to retain an eclectic advice scene.

Shame your north of Powerstock Common Dave, you’d be welcome to come in eat our biscuits talk about the play off final in the 90’s between Blackpool and Torquay, use our Sweet & Maxwell books etc etc.

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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A thread with lots of sensible posts in need of a “Like” button.

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Thank you all for the vote of confidence and useful advice you’ve given me.

I have asked for the client to come in and bring in all the paperwork this time! Hopefully I can then make a decision as to what I’m going to do.

Thank you all again

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Dave BCFU - 18 November 2020 10:20 AM


Not sure where to go from here with one of our clients - any suggestions welcome.

Our client has been found guilty of fraud as she did not declare she was a signatory on her parent’s bank account (this was in case of emergency if anything happened to them) and DWP claimed she had access to £85,000 (they used evidence from her estranged brother).

She appealed the decision in 2018 which the Judge did not overturn the DWP’s decision and she was told to pay back an overpayment of £23,137.44. A subsequent complaint was made against the Judge’s action and he was reprimanded for his actions.

Nothing happened until she started claiming Pension Credit which the DWP are now deducting £45 from her Pension Credit - she does not want to pay this back and she is still adamant she did nothing wrong.

Is there anything we can do at this stage given that it went to appeal which was over 2 years ago?



The problem here is the only evidence so far is what is being described by the client.  If she , in fact, was merely a signatory on her parents’ bank account, then she was not the beneficial owner of the capital and there will be no overpayment and if she was convicted, that is prima facie unsafe.

There may well be more to this than the client’s initial instructions.  For example, if she was just a signatory, it’s hard to see how a Tribunal, even one having a bad day, could dismiss such an appeal.

As regards the criminal matter, it would not surprise me though if a criminal law solicitor with not a clue about social security law had advised her to plead guilty, and she may even have been unrepresented.  But…

Either way, a lot more evidence of what went on is required.  The starting point is to examine the papers, hopefully she has kept them all.