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Home Finance It pays to check your benefits as inaccuracies cost billions

It pays to check your benefits as inaccuracies cost billions

by Uma
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  • 4% of benefit expenditure was overpaid in FYE 2022 which is the highest overpayment rate to date. This amounted to £8.6bn of overpayments.
  • 1.2% of benefit expenditure was underpaid in FYE 2022. This amounted to £2.6bn of underpayments.
  • The total overpayment rate for State Pension was 0.1% (£110m).
  • The total underpayment rate for State Pension in FYE 2022 was 0.5% (£540m).
  • The Pension Credit overpayment rate increased by 2.0 percentage points to its highest recorded rate between FYE 2020 and FYE 2022. This increase from 5.3% (£270m) to 7.3% (£350m) was mainly driven by no estimate being available in 2021.
  • The Pension Credit underpayment rate decreased from 2.3% in FYE 2020 (£120m) to 2.1% (£100m) in FYE 2022.

DWP has released the latest data on fraud and error in the benefit system. Fraud and error in the benefit system Financial Year Ending (FYE) 2022 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“In the huge majority of cases benefits are paid out correctly but this data shows that it’s always worth checking if you think you are receiving too much or too little. Over and underpayments amount to billions of pounds per year and if you have been receiving too much money from your benefits then you could be asked to pay it back.

These errors can happen for a variety of reasons. There are fraudulent claims for benefits but in many cases the issues are caused by official or claimant error.

As well as overpayments benefits can also be underpaid. This data shows the recent issues the DWP have faced in the long-term underpayment of state pension to certain groups such as women retiring under the old state pension system who should have received state pension top ups based on their spouse or civil partners’ national insurance record but didn’t. This is a wide scale issue with some women in line for repayments worth several thousand pounds. If you think you may be affected, you should contact DWP.

If you think you might be receiving too much or too little in benefit income, then it is important to check. You could end up receiving more than you thought and make it far less likely you will receive an unexpected bill.”