BENEFITS EXPERT: I don’t know why DWP think my benefit has been overpaid
Q. I have received notice that I’ve been overpaid benefit despite notifying the DWP of a relevant change. I live by myself and my ESA payments includes the Severe Disability Premium.
My son came to stay with me for a brief period of time and only lived with me for about 2 weeks and at the time I did notify the DWP about this. I continue to get standard daily living for PIP and no-one lives with me. The overpayment however is for a longer period than he lived with me. Can I appeal the decision about the overpaid benefit?
A. From the information provided you have taken the relevant requirement to notify the DWP of a change in your circumstances and as they have failed to act on the information then you could challenge the decision on the basis that the error was their fault. However before doing so you should also check the following.
You have also indicated that the overpayment period is longer than the period your son stayed with you.
If you get the Severe Disability Premium then this can only be paid if you receive a qualifying benefit (which you have confirmed), no-one claims Carer’s Allowance for you and you still live alone. I would advise you check to make sure no-one has claimed Carer’s Allowance for looking after you without your knowledge as this would end entitlement to the SDP.
Another thing to check is to see if your son ever or continues to use your address for mailing or as a care of address. In order to check the occupancy of premises the DWP may have used searches of credit reference agencies, so for example if your son or someone else listed your address as a place of residence in order to obtain credit, a mobile phone, etc. then they would show up on a search as living with you even if they in reality do not. If this has happened it would explain why the overpayment period is longer than the actual time your son spent with you.
If you and your son are able to confirm where he actually lived with proof of this then it should be easier to challenge and reduced the overpayment period and amount of benefit paid. Remember you only have a month to submit your appeal request so do this firstly before gathering supporting information as you can always provide this at a later date.