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Overpayment of childcare costs since December 2021

BHCAC
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Welfare Benefits Caseworker- Bosnia and Herzegovinia Community Advice Centre

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Total Posts: 53

Joined: 23 August 2023

I have an urgent issue with one client I am hoping someone can advise on,  her claim has been suspended for some time and she has had no payment since October following referral to Risk Review Team. She received a letter in her journal that following review the childcare costs she has claimed since 24/12/2021 need to be repaid as she was not eligible as the childcare provider did not have the appropriate legal registration.
I have never come across this before, my understanding was that these checks were carried out prior to payment.
Could you please advise the best grounds for a mandatory reconsideration?
( Her payments are still stopped and no update on when this will be revised, we have sent several journal messages, made a formal complaint to DWP and involved her MP who has written to DWP)

Thanks

Gareth

Alex HCLC
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Welfare Benefits, Hackney Community Law Centre

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Total Posts: 10

Joined: 27 September 2023

For my part I can’t see any obvious grounds for the decision to be revised (assuming, of course, that it is correct that the provider was not registered and that remained the case throughout).

UC Regs reg 35(8): Care is not within paragraph (2)(a) if it is provided in breach of a requirement to register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006.

Verification (and the related question of fault) is neither here nor there.

The original decisions that the childcare costs conditions were satisfied must have been made in ignorance of a relevant fact and therefore open to any time revision under reg 9 of the D&A Regulations.

With that in mind it would be a request to Debt Management for the overpayment to be waived, setting out the relevant circumstances in the Benefit Overpayments Recovery Guide as they apply to your client, then either pre-action for judicial review or refer to a solicitor or law centre.