Help needed regarding benifit pension payback !

banjo

Member
Location
Back of beyond
hello there and I hope this is in the correct thread, anyway I have a close relative ( my father ) that's passed away who was very ill from the early 2000s.
The person had no savings and was broke so the nurses asked the social to go and try and help him out.
A chap from social servises came to his house and was very helpful but was horrified at how he was living
( he'd had an infected leg and heart attack due to a blood clot and was living on his own )
they sorted out extra money for him and all was sorted.
Move on to 2018 and he's passed away after a long time ill.
Now the pension lot are after ( me ) to payback overpaid ( pension benifit ) from 2003 because he had more than £5000 savings in the bank at his death.
( the reason for this was a relative died and left him just over £10.000 and also while ill he could not pick up his pension so left it build up in his bank account ) I paid for most of his other expenses.
He had no idea that there was a £5000 limit on savings
No one ever contacted him again regarding it until 2016 and was when a social services lady called by after he had a long stint in hospital. he was asked about paying for his home care and he happily paid for it himself out of his savings every month for two years until passing away at home.
Here's some questions I'd like help on:
1 how far back can they go ( is it just 7 years like the vat man ) or right back to 2003?
2 should they have been doing yearly financial assessments
3 do they have to show proof that they told him of the limit ( I know for sure they didn't tell him )
4 what is the limit of savings a person can have
5 what can I do about it to fight them and what are my rights.
I hope everyone doesn't mind me asking about this because I'm genuinely worried about the situation and not sure how to proceed, cheers banjo
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
The pension credit savings limit is £10k, and the limit for some other benefits (such as housing benefit and council tax benefit) is £16k. Once you have over £10k in savings you are deemed to have £1/week in income for every £500 you have above £10k, and this will (or should) reduce your pension benefit payment by the same amount. There is no upper savings limit for pension credit, but eventually the amount of income they assume you have from the savings will mean you don't get any pension credit at all. However the other two benefits cut off entirely above £16k - if you have that amount you are supposed to live on your capital for a while then when you've fallen back below 10k make another benefit claim.

Many years ago my Mother used to help an old guy in a very similar situation, his living costs were so few his pension built up slowly to approach the savings limits. What many people do when they approaching the limits is go out and buy a whole new load of white goods to get their savings down, as they are allowable purchases - you can't just give the money away, it has to be spent on your living expenses.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/how-your-benefits-are-means-tested/

So they can claim on his estate (not you personally, its nothing to do with you) for any over payments - claimants are supposed to tell them if their savings breach the limits. If you have the bank account statement you'll be able to work out when he breached the various limits and which of his benefits should have been reduced at that time.
 

banjo

Member
Location
Back of beyond
The pension credit savings limit is £10k, and the limit for some other benefits (such as housing benefit and council tax benefit) is £16k. Once you have over £10k in savings you are deemed to have £1/week in income for every £500 you have above £10k, and this will (or should) reduce your pension benefit payment by the same amount. There is no upper savings limit for pension credit, but eventually the amount of income they assume you have from the savings will mean you don't get any pension credit at all. However the other two benefits cut off entirely above £16k - if you have that amount you are supposed to live on your capital for a while then when you've fallen back below 10k make another benefit claim.

Many years ago my Mother used to help an old guy in a very similar situation, his living costs were so few his pension built up slowly to approach the savings limits. What many people do when they approaching the limits is go out and buy a whole new load of white goods to get their savings down, as they are allowable purchases - you can't just give the money away, it has to be spent on your living expenses.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/how-your-benefits-are-means-tested/

So they can claim on his estate (not you personally, its nothing to do with you) for any over payments - claimants are supposed to tell them if their savings breach the limits. If you have the bank account statement you'll be able to work out when he breached the various limits and which of his benefits should have been reduced at that time.
Do you have any idea how far beck they can go because this sounds like it could get very expensive considering he didn't know of the limit !
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Do you have any idea how far beck they can go because this sounds like it could get very expensive considering he didn't know of the limit !
No idea, the Statute of Limitations on claiming private debts is 6 years, but I wouldn't be surprised to find the the government has given itself longer.

Here's the government booklet on how they do all this, there's a whole section about claiming overpayments from estates of deceased people:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/770083/benefit-overpayment-recovery-guide.pdf

Somewhere in all that will probably be how many years they can go back.
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Some interesting reading here:

https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/time-limits-for-recovering-debts/statute-barred-debt.aspx

It suggests that the limit for benefits repayments is 6 years, however be aware that even the payments to your relative do come under the Limitation Act, that doesn't mean they cease to exist. The term is that they are 'statute barred' - technically the debt still exists, they can ask for the money, but you have a watertight defence if they take you to court. So its entirely possible that the DWP will ask for repayment for more than 6 years, in the hope you pay up voluntarily, but I suspect they can't go to court for more than 6 years worth, if you refuse to pay.

As ever, getting some proper legal advice is advisable......
 

Dry Rot

Member
Once you have over £10k in savings you are deemed to have £1/week in income for every £500 you have above £10k
Don't you just love 'em? Where do they find these investments paying 10% interest? I've always believed there is a lot to be said for poverty, on the McCawber principle anyway. Definitely don't save. It's not worth it.

(Quote: ""Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.").
 

banjo

Member
Location
Back of beyond
Some interesting reading here:

https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/time-limits-for-recovering-debts/statute-barred-debt.aspx

It suggests that the limit for benefits repayments is 6 years, however be aware that even the payments to your relative do come under the Limitation Act, that doesn't mean they cease to exist. The term is that they are 'statute barred' - technically the debt still exists, they can ask for the money, but you have a watertight defence if they take you to court. So its entirely possible that the DWP will ask for repayment for more than 6 years, in the hope you pay up voluntarily, but I suspect they can't go to court for more than 6 years worth, if you refuse to pay.

As ever, getting some proper legal advice is advisable......
Thankyou for your info because it's been very helpful and I will post more when I hear more, cheers banjo
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Don't you just love 'em? Where do they find these investments paying 10% interest? I've always believed there is a lot to be said for poverty, on the McCawber principle anyway. Definitely don't save. It's not worth it.

(Quote: ""Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.").
Its worse than 10% in a lot of cases because its £1/wk income for every £500 or part thereof, so with savings of £501 (above the 10k limit) you are deemed to have £2/week income. From £501. Which is an interest rate of over 20%.
 

banjo

Member
Location
Back of beyond
Some interesting reading here:

https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/time-limits-for-recovering-debts/statute-barred-debt.aspx

It suggests that the limit for benefits repayments is 6 years, however be aware that even the payments to your relative do come under the Limitation Act, that doesn't mean they cease to exist. The term is that they are 'statute barred' - technically the debt still exists, they can ask for the money, but you have a watertight defence if they take you to court. So its entirely possible that the DWP will ask for repayment for more than 6 years, in the hope you pay up voluntarily, but I suspect they can't go to court for more than 6 years worth, if you refuse to pay.

As ever, getting some proper legal advice is advisable......
I know I've replied to you already but I genuinely want to thank you for these links because me and my father were partners in the farm and things could get very complicated regarding wills n things. After reading these links it has helped a lot on deciding what to do. I do accept my father had made a mistake but he didn't do it on purpose as he was pretty mixed up in his latter years due to his illness.
Can't thank you enough (y)
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
I know I've replied to you already but I genuinely want to thank you for these links because me and my father were partners in the farm and things could get very complicated regarding wills n things. After reading these links it has helped a lot on deciding what to do. I do accept my father had made a mistake but he didn't do it on purpose as he was pretty mixed up in his latter years due to his illness.
Can't thank you enough (y)
Glad to be of assistance, it was just a bit of googling :) Hope you get it sorted satisfactorily.
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
I would very strongly advise you speaking to the CAB, if you are Farming it may be a little more complicated than it seems.
You may well have used some of his money for genuine expenses of his , but they are very wary of potential fraud, where money is syphoned from accounts to keep parents below the benefit line.
I think if they suspect fraud they can go back far further
 
One lesson for us all in there though - don’t leave money to old people! Think about your will, and who are the benefactors - if it’s siblings, maybe consider nieces and nephews instead.

If you’re an executor of a will, think carefully about who will receive. If they can’t or won’t need or spend it, find another recipient from the deceased’s family and friends and vary the will, within the general wishes of the deceased, of course.
 

Dry Rot

Member
I think if you own land, the authorities can require you to sell off part, if that can be done practically. I was 'assessed' and they were very interested that I might have some land that I could sell off, but as I am ring fenced with the house virtually in the middle, that isn't practical and I got let off!

So if you're getting old. my advice would be to spend it before the vultures descend! If it's not the tax man or avaricious relatives, it will be social security wanting payment up front for your place in an old people's home! Oh, and whatever you do, young people, don't save!

My executors Highland Mule better bloody well do what it says in my will or I'll be coming back!

Watched the NZ film, "Hunting the Wilder-people" on TV last night and I'm seriously thinking of escaping and going 'bush'......

(There's a hint in the screen name).
 

banjo

Member
Location
Back of beyond
I think if you own land, the authorities can require you to sell off part, if that can be done practically. I was 'assessed' and they were very interested that I might have some land that I could sell off, but as I am ring fenced with the house virtually in the middle, that isn't practical and I got let off!

So if you're getting old. my advice would be to spend it before the vultures descend! If it's not the tax man or avaricious relatives, it will be social security wanting payment up front for your place in an old people's home! Oh, and whatever you do, young people, don't save!

My executors Highland Mule better bloody well do what it says in my will or I'll be coming back!

Watched the NZ film, "Hunting the Wilder-people" on TV last night and I'm seriously thinking of escaping and going 'bush'......

(There's a hint in the screen name).
I would suggest anyone wanting to leave some money to their sons, daughters, open an acount with thier names on it ( keep it under your control ) and then near the end when your time is up just let them remove it before you snuff it !
 

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