Thursday, November 21, 2019
Home DWP DWP errors threaten poverty and hardship for thousands on universal credit

DWP errors threaten poverty and hardship for thousands on universal credit

Serious mistakes by DWP officials in assessing eligibility for Universal Credit (UC) risks plunging low-income households further into poverty and debt, after if was revealed that thousands have been overpaid benefits through no fault of their own and are now being made to hand it back in extortionate installments.

An investigation by Labour has uncovered high levels of UC over-payment blunders. An analysis of benefit fraud and error statistics show that over the last two years about a third of over-payment’s were as a direct result of DWP cock-ups.

Incidentally, this appears to correlate with a drop in staffing levels, suggesting that staff are struggling to cope.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions argue it has a responsibility to recover over-paid benefits, but the sheer scale of the deductions will almost certainly add to the financial misery already faced by many low-income households.

[penci_related_posts taxonomies=”undefined” title=”You may also like” background=”” border=”” thumbright=”no” number=”4″ style=”grid” align=”none” displayby=”tag” orderby=”date”]

Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey MP. Photo: Public Domain.

Labour MP Ruth George warned the draconian cuts in payments will push families further into debt and into the hands of high-cost lenders.

She added: “Support under Universal Credit is already below poverty levels for many groups, especially lone parents and disabled people.

“It is almost impossible to repay a loan when your income is so low, and the high cost of credit for people on low incomes creates a vicious circle of debt.”

One of the benefits being replaced by UC is tax credits. The maximum deduction for debts under the old system was 25 per cent for those with an income of less than £20,000 a year.

But changes to legislation mean the DWP can now recover debts in much larger installments, including those caused by their own mistakes when assessing or reviewing claims.

95,620 UC claimants had deductions taken from their payments due to debt between April 2016 and October 2017, with 40,521 of these occurring within a single month.

About £90 million was overpaid in Universal Credit in 2016-17 alone, and this is before many millions more are moved to the new benefit.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “We have a duty to the taxpayer to recover any overpayments and we recovered £1.1 billion last year.

“People are told about this in advance and they are recovered by regular deductions.

“There are safeguards in place to protect claimants from large deductions being taken at one time and budgeting support is available to help people manage their money.”


Follow Us


Trending Now

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

Benefit claimants told to fork out £1400 to record disability assessments

Disabled people told to pay for expensive specialist equipment if they want benefit assessments to be recorded.

‘Pensionless Pensioner’ Brands UK Government Most Brutal ‘Regime’ In Living Memory

Woman stripped of her right to state pension says the UK Government doesn't care whether vulnerable people live or die.

More News

Labour declares ‘war on poverty’ and pledges to scrap Tory welfare reforms

Tory austerity has entrenched poverty and destitution across Britain, say Labour.

Disabled man found dead at Jobcentre within months of being declared ‘fit for work’ by the DWP

Campaigners have called for benefit assessments to be suspended after the man's sudden death.

800,000 more children from working households pushed into poverty since 2010

Labour says the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats "should hang their heads in shame".

Lib Dems pledge to scrap the benefit cap and ‘cruel’ two-child limit

Lib Dems pledge to invest £6bn a year to "strengthen the welfare system", despite endorsing many of the cuts that have weakened it.

Shock at 160% rise in child suicides in Scotland

Scottish Government admits that the rising suicide rate is "heartbreaking".

Follow Us


More Articles Like This