Family ordered to pay back £6,500 in Universal Credit after ‘error’

A young family has been ordered to pay back a total of £6,500 in universal credit after some “errors” in handling their earnings.

According to a report from Devon Live, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has missed taking the family’s up-to-date salary rate into account, resulting in them being overpaid for the last 1 year and 2 months. Instead of receiving about £1,000 per month, the family is supposed to get only £300.

Billy Pierce with his partner Charlie Josiah-Jowett and their daughter Daisy Pierce (Image: Anita Merritt)

With this, DWP has ordered the family to repay the money back in full, together with a repayment plan of £100 a month which will not be paid off for five years.

Billy Pierce, a 20-year-old accountant, first started claiming the universal credit when he and his partner moved in together in January of 2018. In a report from the same article, Pierce said he had fully disclosed his income, even informing the department about a pay rise last September. It was only in April 2019, that the DWP informed him that his incomes had not been registered as they weren’t on the system.

He told Devon Live: “We would have been better off not applying for universal credits at all because now are being forced into debt because of DWP’s incompetence. DWP’s argument was I should have checked the statements they sent me to make sure my income was on there, but as far as we knew everything was fine because they had taken all my earnings and additional information.”

The accountant also said he sought the help of Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, who received a notice from DWP stating that “clear errors have been made” in handling Mr. Pierce’s earnings.

“While we accept that we have made errors with the RTE feed claimants also have a responsibility to check their payment statement each month to make sure all the details are correct.” the response includes.