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A Department for Work and Pensions
(DWP) error has resulted in Disability
Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance
Allowance (AA) payments worth £16 million continuing to
be overpaid to some claimants of pension age. This error first
came to light in 2007 and assurances were given at the time
to Parliament that the situation was resolved.
written Ministerial Statement published 13 July (link opens in a
new window), the Work and Pensions Minister, Maria Miller,
"Where people are of state pension
age and are receiving state pension
or Pension Credit, it has become normal
practice to combine the payment of AA or DLA with state pension and
pension credit so that the customer receives one combined weekly
payment of benefit. These combined payments are administered by DWP
Benefit Centres and Pension Centres.
"In 2007 errors of duplicate payments were
found for AA and DLA. Action was taken at the time and assurances
given to Parliament that the situation was resolved. In 2011, in
support of the Departments strategy to reduce losses to public
funds, DWP Accounting Services began running a new scan across its
payment systems. This identified that a full solution had not been
found in 2007 and as a result duplicate payments continued to be
paid in approximately 1,600 cases. The rate of duplicate payment
varies from £20.55 to £131.50 a week depending on the award of AA
or DLA and the estimated total overpayment is £16 million It is
extremely disappointing that this situation was not resolved in
2007 and that thorough monitoring was not put in place then in the
light of the fact that mistakes had been identified now.
"To rectify this, a monitoring programme has
been put in place to ensure that there should be no further
duplicate payments occurring in the future, and it is clearly right
that these cases should now be corrected. However given the age and
disability of the customers affected, we have considered carefully
how we carry out recovery. Indeed 60% of cases have an appointee.
Each case will be considered on an individual basis and customers
will be contacted to explain our error. I will consider making
ex-gratia payments, in a small number of cases where we consider it
inappropriate to withdraw the over provision of benefit. Based on
information held by the Department the estimated cost of these
payments will be no more than £500. 000 in a full year. I will also
be writing to appointees to remind them of their duties to ensure
If you are one of the people affected by this error and have
been asked by the DWP to repay overpaid benefit, we suggest you get
independent advice from a benefits adviser about your situation.
You can use our Find an Adviser tool to
find a local adviser.
Source: Rightsnet (link opens in a new
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