Death of client after years of appealing a DLA overpayment between 29/05/2013 and 10/07/2018
I have a long running adult DLA appeal, double cases one for disallowance and one for overpayment. Which also has a Sheriff Court fraud case ongoing. She originally pled guilty to fraud case but was allowed to change her plea to not guilty and we lodged an appeal to HMCTS. This appeal was heard and refused but on request to UT it was sent back to a new FTT, this has been adjourned three times now (the last time to allow husband to become appointee).
In October 2020 she was called back to Sheriff Court, plead ‘Not Guilty’ Under Covid restrictions she appeared before Sheriff alone without the support of her husband and with a new solicitor whom she had never met before. She was found guilty, giver 230hrs community service and had to wear a tag for home restriction order.
Question is should the Fraud proceedings been further postponed pending outcome of HMCTS tribunal? The PO at the latest adjournment (after the Sheriff court date) was directed to obtain the fraud findings and a new date has been set. I suspect the Tribunal will make their decision based on her being found guilty. I have told them to speak to their solicitor regarding the Sheriff court proceedings going ahead in October last.
HMCTS appeal for Overpayment of DLA Vrs. Sheriff Court Fraud proceedings?
Copied from above thread from 30 May this year. The result of 5th and final FTT was appeal refused on both counts, as suspected.
I have just been informed by clients Husband that she died last week. (not covid related)
Throughout the HMCTS proceedings there is repeated evidence of the stress the long drawn out process was causing her as well as the Sheriff court finding her guilty without a trial.
They didn’t want to do anything further after the last appeal on June 6th but inclined to ask for SOR in order to get UT to look at this case ultimately. The family are keen to pursue a complaint to DWP.
Any suggestions or advice gratefully received.
Typically when an appellant dies, an appointee needs to be put in place to handle the appeal going forward. However I wouldn’t have thought that any additional action is necessary where the deceased already has an appointee which is what you are saying is the case here. I don’t see why the widower would not be able to pursue an appeal to the UT if so advised.
The overpayment debt will need to be dealt with as part of the claimant’s estate and any debts left over which cannot be met by the estate would be written off. If the claimant has not left a substantial estate, that may mean there is little practical point challenging the FtT overpayment decision and doing so would really just be symbolic. This is probably something that ought to be considered before committing to further litigation.
Thanks for prompt response Elliot, Informative as always.
If the family wanted to raise a complaint against the DWP relating to their Fraud action against this woman, who had verified mental health problems due to suffering from a serious stroke, what would be the initial course of action. I am thinking of similar cases where claimants have died due to benefits being stopped etc. and the stress that long drawn out appeal process caused her.