DWP Universal Credit and Pension Credit claimants owed £2.6billion due to error

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit claimants were underpaid by around £2.6billion in the 2021/22 financial year, according to new reports.

Additionally, others claiming benefits from the UK government department have been overpaid by an estimated £8.6billion collectively.

As The Mirror reports, it is the result of mistakes made by the DWP, the councils, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

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Errors made by applicants, as well as fraudulent applications, are also the cause of underpayments and overpayments.

Various benefits have been affected, such as universal credit, pension credit and housing allowance.

Here’s a summary of key information you should know, including what to do if you think you’ve been underpaid.

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Which benefits were underpaid and overpaid?

Around £410million of Universal Credit was underpaid, while more than £5.9billion was overpaid.

Meanwhile, around £540million in state pension was underpaid and £110million was overpaid.

In addition, Pension Credit was overpaid by £350m and underpaid by £110m, while Housing Benefit was overpaid by £950m and underpaid by £210m. of pounds sterling.

What happens if you are underpaid?

In the majority of cases, the DWP will be aware of the error and you will receive the money owed to you in a lump sum.

However, if you believe you have been underpaid and the DWP has not been in touch, you can contact them to make sure.

Universal Credit claimants should call 0800 328 5644 or use their online account, while state pension recipients should call 0800 731 0469.

What happens if you have been overpaid?

In cases where claimants have received more money than they should have, the DWP will recover it.

Usually they will take a reduction in your benefits – between 15% and 25% – on each of your payments until the debt is paid off.

You can request to keep the extra money, and although the DWP may reject the request, it is worth trying.

This is called “exercising their discretion not to recover an overpayment” and is at the discretion of the DWP.