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6 July, 2020 Open access

DWP to recommence recovery of benefit related overpayments and social fund loans

People will be notified by letter or universal credit journal entries, though can request a deferral if they are experiencing 'real financial hardship'

The DWP is to recommence the recovery of benefit related overpayments and social fund loans.

Recovery action was paused for three months in the early phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, and the DWP said that the change would mean that many claimants would see an increase in the amount of money they receive in benefits during the coronavirus outbreak, and that it would also allow it to move staff to frontline roles to support the payment of benefits to people making new claims.

However, the DWP has today said that, as it now begins the recommencement of debt recovery -

'Customers who previously paid by Direct Debit will receive a letter in advance of payments recommencing, giving details of the new request Debt Management has sent to the bank. We will also write to all customers who previously repaid through deductions from wages, giving them the opportunity to set up an alternative repayment plan. All other customers will be notified by letter or Universal Credit journal entries, that are issued when deductions are taken from benefit, or repayment of a debt is due to start.'

The DWP adds that people who are experiencing 'real financial hardship' can request deferral of repayments by contacting the Debt Management line on 0800 916 0647.

Source: Email from the Communications Directorate at the Department for Work and Pensions (6 July 2000)

Stop press (7 July 2020) - updates have now been incorporated into relevant pages on gov.uk, including Benefit overpayment recovery: staff guide; Eligible Loan Deduction Scheme; and Direct Earnings Attachment: an employers' guide.