× Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Income support, JSA and tax credits  →  Thread

Recovery of JSA overpayment- statute barred?

Pete at CAB
forum member

Welfare Benefits Adviser’ for Citizens Advice Cornwall

Send message

Total Posts: 379

Joined: 12 December 2017

Cl was allegedly overpaid JSA in 2006. It does not sound like any recovery took place at that time. In 2010 DWP took a decision that the money was recoverable but the cl was in prison at the time and said he did not get any letters regarding this. He was however sent something in September 2022 and DWP are making deductions from his UC to pay it back.

He says that his solicitor has told him that after all this time the recovery is statute barred but my understanding is that statute barring only applies to matters that would have come before the civil courts and that there are,in effect, no time limits for recovery from current benefits.

The problem is that I cant find any legislation to prove this, the CPAG Debt handbook just refers to a DWPO website and that website has no links to any regs or other laws.

Can anyone enlighten me please?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
forum member

Information and advice resources - Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 3187

Joined: 7 January 2016

Is the six-year statute barring limitation about the creditor taking court action? I don’t think there’s any time limit with respect to recovering old overpayments from current benefit claims in the same way.

Elliot Kent
forum member

Shelter

Send message

Total Posts: 3096

Joined: 14 July 2014

Pete at CAB - 14 December 2022 04:13 PM

The problem is that I cant find any legislation to prove this, the CPAG Debt handbook just refers to a DWPO website and that website has no links to any regs or other laws.

The Limitation Act 1980 precludes a civil claim being brought (materially) more than six years after the cause of action accrued, so when we talk about a debt being ‘statute barred’, we mean there can be no enforcement in the civil courts because the Act would prevent a claim being brought and for most creditors, that is the only enforcement route.

But deducting an overpayment from someone’s benefit doesn’t depend on the DWP bringing a claim in the civil courts, so the fact that a claim would be precluded by the Limitation Act is irrelevant.

So it’s not that there is legislation you can point to which says that the debt can be recovered in this way - it’s that the legislation which would prevent the claim being pursued in the courts doesn’t have any application here.

[ Edited: 14 Dec 2022 at 04:33 pm by Elliot Kent ]
Pete at CAB
forum member

Welfare Benefits Adviser’ for Citizens Advice Cornwall

Send message

Total Posts: 379

Joined: 12 December 2017

Thanks both, that is very clear and should settle the matter

PandaNBTA
forum member

National Bargee Travellers Association, Reading

Send message

Total Posts: 32

Joined: 7 August 2012

It is significant that the deductions took place in 2022 - see the thread below regarding a very similar situation. Does anyone know what happened in 2022 that prompted DWP to start recovery of alleged overpayments from more than 10 years ago?

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/18311