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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am administering my mother's estate. She died on the 15/12/13 DWP were made aware

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I am administering my mother’s estate. She died on the 15/12/13
DWP were made aware of her death and requested repayment of overpaid benefits on 28/6//14
Repayment was made 15/7/14
At that time I asked if there was anything else that was required and if that was the end of the claim. The DWP said nothing else was required and yes it was the end of the claim. The conversation was confirmed by letter along with a cheque for the refund. The conversation was later denied and they said they had not received the letter, but they did cash the included cheque.
Letter from the DWP 29/6/14 requesting details of estate. Request complied with 8/7/14
Letters 27/7/14 & 22/8/14 advising against distribution of estate.
I wrote to DWP on 2/1/15 complaining about their delay and giving them until 15/1/15 to respond or I would consider the case closed.
29/1/15 Letter from DWP requesting more information (bank statements etc)
I understand that the law allows 6 months after probate for
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I understand that the law allows 6 months after probate for a claim to be made.

Do enquiries constitute a claim?

Are the DWP exempt from this?

The DWP initially asked for information which was sent, and then sat on it for 7 months. How do I now stand regarding their enquiries?

They now require bank statements etc. back to 2/4/07

14/2/15 I rang the DWP for information

They say the original claim was a telephone claim in 2008 and was back-dated to april 2007. The DWP also say a pre-populated form was sent out for signature which they say they have.

They have also said that there were no reviews since then and they are not required. I understand that they should have issued an Annual review (uprating Letter) Is this a legal requirement?

Are the DWP legally required to conduct an annual review of the claimants claim for Pension Credit? If so does the lack of any review negate or reduce the DWP claim?

And more importantly Does it limit their right to go back 6 years?

Do I have to comply with their request for 6 years statements etc?

The Statute of limitations runs for 6 years from the cause of action. Does this apply to DWP claims. After that time it appears that they can only deduct monies from current benefit payments, which is not possible as my mother is no longer claiming, or can they transfer the debt to me as administrator?.

When is the cause of action on a weekly payment running back many years?

Is this 6years from death? 6 years from probate? 6 years from original enquiry? Or 6 years from the actual claim of a sum of money for repayment? This is relevant as no actual claim has yet been made, just a request for information.

I have been informed that if she had over £55,000 in savings in 2007 then she was not entitled to PC. She did have savings over the threshold limit in 2007.

I have now posted a notice in the Gazette, however I think this may be irrelevant as the DWP were informed in January 2014. I also appreciate that doing nothing is not an option. On the contrary I feel I have been pro-active in writing to them.

Yes, the DWP are exempt from Probate and no they are not bound by Limitation Act 1980 to only claim for 6 years.
The Limitation Act 1980 relates to contract, tort or defamation etc. This is a simple benefits overpayment. It is a different type of situation entirely and the 6 year limitation does not apply.
In any event, if there was an ongoing overpayment then even if it did the claim would run from the date of last payment or other acknowledgement.
Time limitation is a non issue with benefits overpayments which is the essential point you are raising here.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Over a year and I am still waiting for the DWP to actually make a decision as to whether the estate owes them anything. I find this state of affairs quite ridiculous. It seems wrong that this can be held up for an indefinite amount of time, in effect held up in perpetuity until they say it is clear. I try to deal with them and are getting nowhere. I would have thought there should have been a time limit on their deliberations and their making a claim, after which the executor was free to wind up the estate. What about the administrators probate year?

Yes, I do completely agree with your frustration. I always think the DWP and DVLA are the biggest advertisement for the privatisation of the Thatcher years that can exist. Imagine this level of inefficiency every time you want your gas checked etc.
Unfortunately though, there are no particular restrictions upon deliberations. Their game is to deliberate for long enough so that people give up and sometimes that does happen.
However, I suppose in legal theory you could write to them giving a specified period of time for a decision and then JR them when they fail to comply.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have already written to them with a deadline. They ignored the letter.

What is a JR?

Judicial review.
it is a high test and an expensive action. I wouldn't suggest anybody take it unless they have deep pockets I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank You.

Probably why it has never been challenged.

Yes, exactly right. It is the same with the DVLA
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am not familiar with the issues relating to the DVLA. However I seem to remember reading; in the Times I think; about restrictions being put in place to limit the ability of people to push for cases in the high court by limiting the costs claimable from the other party.

This is an interesting topic for debate, but not one for here I think.

I am trying to resolve my problem so I can go on an adventure. I had to put it off last year and rescheduled for this year. That has cost me enough already. and Government will not be held responsible for my costs. This is the second time in my life the Govt' has cost me money by their maladministration.

If you won there would be a costs order against them.
But you have to fund the action up until that point.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your response.

No problem.
All the best.