Government cannot sue for benefit overpayments, court rules

From the Guardian


Department of Work and Pensions cannot take legal action to recover money paid as a result of its own error


The supreme court ruled today that the government cannot recover overpayments of social security benefits through the courts where the claimant is not at fault.

In a landmark judgment, the court declined to accept the government’s argument that the Department of Work and Pensions could sue recipients in the county court if they did not pay back overpayments that arose as a result of the department’s error.

Between March 2006 and February 2007, the government wrote to more than 65,000 claimants saying it could sue them for overpayments.

The legal argument, put in writing to those affected, was that the department was entitled to take benefit claimants to court under common law although the money was paid due to the department’s error and would not be recoverable under social security law…. click for full article.


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