Books by Glenda Young

Thursday, March 01, 2012

JSA overpayment – has this happened to you, too?

Judging by the amount of searches I’m seeing for “JSA overpayment” in the blog stats it’s clear I’m not the only one having a hard time defending myself against the DWP. They’re demanding money from me for overpaid Jobseekers Allowance while refusing to give me any details of why and how they claim I was overpaid.

You can read the mini-saga I’ve had to date with them – here.

And now, some good news, an update. My case has gone to appeal, which hopefully means that someone, somewhere, in an office, a real person, can look into my case and give me the details. As I’ve said before, if I have to pay it back I will but I want, need, to know why and how they think I've been overpaid.

Today I rang the Benefits Agency, again, asking if they could send dates and amounts of JSA I was paid last year, again. The first time I rang I was told my claim was archived and it would take 2-3 weeks for the info to be sent to me.

It’s now over 3 weeks since I made that call and as nothing had arrived, I called again today. This time I was told that my details have been lost due to computer error and a “transfer to clerical”. I was advised to speak to a benefits advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Because all of this is my fault? Nice.

However, I was also told from the guy who was checking what records of mine he was able to see on the computer system that it showed quite clearly that the Jobcentre had signed me off (DWP said I hadn’t notified the Jobcentre). He said this meant the overpayment was accidental and their fault.

I’m happy, as you can imagine, not to have to pay back almost £500 but I fear I’m not out of the red-tape woods yet. And I won't be until I receive a letter from the DWP to confirm this.

So there'll be more updates as and when news from the DWP, the appeals people or the Benefits Agency come in.

I’m making light of this here on the blog, but let me tell you something, it’s been a very stressful process just to get this far.

It's not right when a Government department brands you guilty and you have to prove yourself innocent.

You couldn’t make it up, could you?

1 comment:

Pam-UK said...

When civil servants start to give you the runaround then you need to ask to speak to a supervisor which they must allow you to do. If you still get no joy then speak to a manager. And kick up as much as a stink as possible. If they say they have lost your records ask them for the details of their data controller so you can ask for an investigation under the data protection act and if that fails then you can go to the data commissioner.

If all else fails, telephone or email your MP. It's amazing how quickly they move when a good MP is on their case especially as they can write to the minister in charge if necessary.

And finally, keep a diary of all your dealings with them for reference or in case you need to go to a tribunal as it looks better if you've made chronological notes.

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