Mistakes by the Department for Work and Pensions mean thousands of people on benefits have been underpaid by a combined total of £2.6billion. The government department said it underpaid 1.2% of benefits in the year to April 2022, so it’s worth checking to see if you’re owed any money.
However, while some people did not get what they were supposed to get, some claimants got more than they were entitled to and those £8.6billion overpayments will have to be repaid.
Underpayments and overpayments may occur due to errors by the DWP, local authorities, HMRC, fraud and claimant error, MirrorOnline Reports. Below are details on what has been underpaid and what to do if you have been underpaid.
Which services have been underpaid?
The Department for Work and Pensions said it had underpaid claimants a total of £410million in the year to April 2022, but the overpayments were far higher, at £5 £.9 billion. He underpaid state pensioners by £540m but also overpaid £110m.
Housing assistance was overpaid by £950million, but underpaid by £210million. The pension credit was overpaid by £350m, but there were also £100m of underpayments.
What happens if your benefits are underpaid?
The DWP usually spots the problem and pays you what is owed to you in a lump sum. But if you think you were underpaid and the DWP hasn’t contacted you or corrected the problem, you can contact them to inquire.
For example, Universal Credit applicants can call a helpline on 0800 328 5644 or use their account online. If you think you have not had the correct amount of state pension, you should contact the DWP Pensions Department directly on 0800 731 0469, but be aware that the lines are only open 9.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday.
What happens if you overpaid benefits?
If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has paid you too much Universal Credit, it will take back the money from your future payments. Normally this is in the region of a 15% to 25% reduction each month.
You can ask if they allow you to waive the overpayment – but they don’t have to say yes. This is called “exercising their discretion not to recover an overpayment” and is at the discretion of the DWP.
DWP has been approached for comment.