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Late DF was wrongly claiming pension credit

(21 Posts)
MeredithSwadkins Tue 02-Jul-13 11:59:25

My DF died a few months ago, and we were surprised to discover he had far more money than we'd ever imagined £50k

This is obviously great news and a wonderful surprise for me and 3 DSs, but DF was claiming pension credit - not sure who helped him claim, but i can understand why others would have assumed he needed it as he didn't live like someone with money - and clearly shouldn't have been getting it. Wasn't living like a pauper, but was very careful tight with his money. Bless him.

Anyway DFs estate has gone through probate etc - all ok- but now the Dept of Work and Pensions want to know the value of the estate (which I presume is standard) and we're obviously going to be truthful, but realise this is probably going to lead to some money being reclaimed by DWP. Am IBU to think there will be other penalties for DF claiming money he wasn't entitled to? How far can they go back with their claim? Can we plead ignorance on late DFs behalf? Sure he wouldn't have done this deliberately, but if someone offered to help him claim he wouldn't have wanted to offend them and certainly wouldn't have been prepared to tell them about his nest egg.

Am IBU to be really worried about this?

cumfy Tue 02-Jul-13 12:12:49

I'm not sure it will make any difference.

The income limit is something like £160/week, but there is no capital limit, just an assumed income of £1 for every £500 over £10k.

So you'd need (160*500)+10000 = £90k.

So seems well within that "limit".

I'm not an expert!

QueenofallIsee Tue 02-Jul-13 12:15:49

You are not BU to be concerned, but if the money is owed due to a claim not based on the full facts then it will likely have to be repaid. After all, had he not been getting the credit he would have had to use his savings I imagine. The DWP have a bereavement service number that might be able to tell you more

bobbywash Tue 02-Jul-13 12:19:13

No need to worry, this sort of thing happens all the time. The agency just normally ask for the overpayments back. They realise that most of it is entirly accidental.

Ignorance is not an excuse for overpayments. If you have a solicitor, then they deal with it. If you don't then see what they say before deciding on your next step.

Northernlurker Tue 02-Jul-13 12:19:27

I certainly wouldn't worry about this. You know your dad wouldn't have made a fraudulent claim and if in error something has been processed and paid, well he's beyond being worried about it and from your perspective it's only money - money you hadn't expected to get at all. I don't see how the DWP can penalise an estate when they can't establish fault - becauser the claimant is no longer aline to respond. the most they can surely do is reclaim some money and even then i bet that's pretty hard to do. it's not like the money was paid to you after all.

becscertainstar Tue 02-Jul-13 12:22:46

Don't worry. If you are prompt in getting in touch with them and completely honest, I'm sure the DWP will help you figure out how much needs to be repaid. From your post it's seems that you're happy to repay any money that shouldn't have been claimed and just worried that there'll be some kind of 'punitive' type measures? I really don't think you need to worry - as long as you're upfront about your situation.

cumfy Tue 02-Jul-13 12:33:00

Some info from the DWP

meterreading Tue 02-Jul-13 13:38:39

You can see from the chart on p.13 of cumfy's link that a person over 65 can have savings of over £54k and still get pension credit (if he was part of a couple they can have over £75k). So I think it would be worth you looking up the actual regulations and figures because it could put your mind at rest. The limits are really quite generous for pension credit, especially compared to other means-tested benefits, where you don't get anything once you've saved over £16k.

LouiseSmith Tue 02-Jul-13 13:53:09

My grandad was over paid, before he died. But here is the point, if a person has passed away, and they owe money. All the company can do is "ask if the family still have the money." If not, its a no go.

Unless he had property in solely his name.


ChipsNEggs Tue 02-Jul-13 15:15:01

I'm sorry for your loss.

If he has been overpaid it can be claimed back from his estate. But as other posters state he may still have been entitled. Remember if he wasn't claiming credits his savings would be lower, this is taken into account when calculating overpayments. So if he is not eligible on current savings he could have been eligible 6 months ago. IIRC it's called the diminishing capital rule.

Penaltys are only levied as punishment and they can't punish someone who is no longer here. Don't worry about him being accused of anything as its not going to happen, what benefit would it serve the DWP?

LEMisdisappointed Tue 02-Jul-13 15:19:50

My mum was overpaid for 5 years by pensions credits, they wanted to claw back the money but i was able to prove that the form had not been adequately explained to her in terms of reporting changes of circumstance so they wrote it off.

Posters are right that if he was overpaid and it was his "fault" ie: it was made clear to him about the savings or he filled the form in with no help from DWP then it probably will be claimed back. However, if he had help with filling the form in (usually someone from DWP, either over the phoen or home visit) then it can be argued that he wasn't made aware he needed to declare these savings and they will have to let it go.

nyprincess Tue 02-Jul-13 15:38:25

Whatever you do don't spend the money until you get a letter from the DWP saying either they have no claim or how much over payment is due, as you will will be liable.

Ladyflip Tue 02-Jul-13 16:04:53

LouiseSmith is wrong, the DWP can reclaim from the estate and if the estate has been distributed then the personal representatives (executors or administrators of the will) will be personally liable if they have distributed already.

So follow the advice above and wait until you get the all clear from the DWP or are told how much he was overpaid. You will probably have to provide evidence of his savings at the time that he claimed, so copies of bank statements will be useful.

There won't be a further penalty other than the repayment of what was overpaid.

It is alarming how many people are paid pension credit incorrectly and if you can prove as LEM did above then so much the better.

Jan49 Tue 02-Jul-13 17:38:13

One of my family was overpaid a social security benefit. A year after her estate was settled, a government department that deals with estates wrote to me as executor to claim back the extra. I knew nothing about it til then and I think they'd just done a random check.

I wrote objecting to paying it back as the estate had already been divided between the beneficiaries a year earlier, but they replied that we had to pay unless we could prove that the money had all been spent. They just worked out exactly how much had been overpaid and claimed it back. I paid.

bassetfeet Tue 02-Jul-13 18:52:37

I have just paid back money owed re attendance allowance for my mum. All sanctioned at the time by numerous DOP people. Honestly.
She is in care home .
But she lived in Scotland and they give benefits to those in care. No one told me and nobody seemed to know obviously that attendance allowance was therefore not allowed if you move to family in England .

Dont worry OP. Lots of us out there being told we owe money for the elderly .
They need to train the staff better has taken me numerous phone calls between Scotland social services and DOP in England .
No one knew what to do .
I paid up in the end as mums power of attorney . Did not worry her .
And frankly to ill myself to go on .

MeredithSwadkins Tue 02-Jul-13 19:04:02

Thanks for all your responses and so sorry basset that you're having such a rough time.

QueenStromba Tue 02-Jul-13 23:06:58

I'm sure they can't ask for more than the estate is worth if that's what you're worried about?

ChipsNEggs Tue 02-Jul-13 23:31:38

They definitely can't ask for more than the estate is worth as no one can inherit debts.

OP don't panic about this, discuss it with the solictor.

Bassett, your situation sounds terrible and certainly not right. Unfortunately our benefit system is in disarray and such problems are not being dealt with properly. If you can face it see if you can get an appointment with the CAB about getting the money back as it sounds like the DWP were responsible for this error. The system is a joke and when I worked in benefits no manager wanted to authorise an overpayment being written off as our error. I'd rather go on the bloody game than head back into that environment, I couldn't sleep at night due to worry about how disgracefully vulnerable people were being treated.

Thelma2 Mon 11-Sep-17 16:48:20

My mum recently passed away and was receiving pension credits. I have had a letter from the department of work and pension saying she has been overpaid and they will be claiming it back. I was of course worried how much this would be, but there was a leaflet in with the letter saying that it is roughly £1 per week for every £500 over the allowance. the allowance was £6000 up to 2009 and £10,000 after 2009. I thought this information might be of some use to people who might be worrying they have to pay the full amount back and would be worrying about it.

Allthewaves Mon 11-Sep-17 16:50:59

Happened to friends. They were asked to pay all payments back.

uokhunni Mon 11-Sep-17 16:55:34

I've had similar. My late DF was in hospital for 28 weeks before passing away in January. Turns out he was claiming Attendance Allowance which should have been cancelled after 4 weeks in hospital. Fine, no problem the money was there to be paid back. (Around £1900) but then the DWP said after 5 months they were not pursuing the claim (!!) the money was then split between me and my 2 sisters.

I'm pissed off to not have paid it back tbh in these days of "austerity" but if they come for it at a later date I can certainly stump up my share. Not sure about my sisters!

Sorry for the loss of your DF OP.

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