DWP suddenly find debts to recover from Universal Credit back payment

Just a day after telling me that they had overturned their original decision on my fitness to work and stating that I’m due back payment. The Department for Work and Pensions – DWP have now suddenly found debts to recover from it. The catch they couldn’t tell me what they are yet.

Picture of Department for Work and Pension plaque at thier headquarters in london So I last wrote about the DWP’s sudden decision to reverse their decision to class me as fit to work. A year to the day since I was forced onto Universal Credit, they tell me that after consulting their “healthcare professional” they had come to the conclusion that for me to be classed as fit to work was “a risk to my mental and physical health.”

They stated that they would be in touch about any repayment that I may be due.

Quick to tell me I owe them

Just one day later I get a notification that I have a message in my online journal. After logging in I see that it’s yet another letter for me. I download it and upon opening it I see the words; “We owe you some money.”

Now I was surprised that the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) were this quick to write to me about them owing me money, but just a few lines in I realised the reason they were so quick.

After telling me that they owe me due to their recent decision they go on to say;

“As you already have an amount to pay back, we may use this money to recover some or all of your overpayment we’ll contact you about this.”

I was confused as last month they had stopped taking repayments from my Universal Credit account. I had contacted them and been told that I had nothing outstanding to repay. Now all of a sudden I do?

Manipulated my account

I went back to the “Payments” section of my online account and to my amazement they had already changed all of my previous statements to make it look like I had been paid the extra I was due. No more were there any statements showing them paying me £190.70 a month anymore.

What annoys me is; they have made this change to reflect that I should be paid the extra amount but in the letter told me I might not actually get it. They should have issued a separate statement to show the back payment.

Can’t or won’t say

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I had written in my journal asking what debt was I due to repay. They responded within a few hours, again something I have never experienced. They advised that I would have to call debt management.

So I call debt management and wait to get through. Upon getting through things get well, a bit sketchy.

I tell them I’ve had the letter and it says I’m due them money. I ask what it’s for as just a month ago I was finally clear. The advisor puts me on hold for a couple of minutes and comes back to me.

They advise me that I will get a letter stating what I owe and when it will be taken. After I ask why, they say that they can’t tell me on the phone as their department is still calculating the amount and checking for other debts I may have due.

I ask how long this could take and am told that it could take up to four weeks and if I have any amount remaining from my under payment, they will deposit it into my bank account.

Always on their terms

When it comes to claimants getting the money they are due, the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) will always do it on their terms. Those terms being slow.

However if they find money you owe, they are all over it. The past few days is the most activity I’ve seen from them ever. A rollercoaster of ups and downs. One minute I think it’s over then it’s not.

Claimants in far worse situations than me will be suffering as a result of these unfair practices. It’s not fair that they can chase you for money and just take it as they wish yet if you ask for help they drag their feet and just point blank ignore you.

Anyway it is what it is, when I know more I will as always keep you updated.

Alex Tiffin

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