People on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) may have to pay money back after a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spending review of last year. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pays welfare benefits to around 22.7 million people.

‘Fraud and error in the benefit system’ estimates how much money the department incorrectly pays, either by paying people too much benefit – overpayments – or by not paying enough benefit – underpayments.

The data shows that some £21.6bn was spent on PIP last year, a significant increase on the £17.7bn in 2022/23, and that figure is expected to rise as the number of people receiving up to £737.20 each month has reached a record-breaking high of 3.5m.

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However, the figures also show that while overpayments fell from £200 million in 2022/23 to £90m last year, it could result in claimants having to pay money back to the DWP. The report warns: "Overpayments happen because of Fraud, Claimant Error and Official Error (processing errors or delays by DWP, a local authority, or His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)).

"Underpayments happen because of Official Error." The majority of overpayments last year happened because the claimants failed to report an improvement in their needs, the DWP report has warned claimants up and down the country.

The DWP said: "This accounted for £6 in every £10 overpaid. Functional Needs decreased to 0.3% in FYE 2024, compared with 0.9% in FYE 2023. This was a statistically significant decrease and the lowest rate since FYE 2018. Functional Needs were the main reason for all Claimant Error overpayments reported in FYE 2024.

"The rate of cases excluded from the headline overpayment estimates due to a categorisation of Not Reasonably Expected to Know (Not RETK) was 2.0% in FYE 2024, compared to 1.4% in FYE 2023. This is where the claimant was incorrectly overpaid, but we would not reasonably expect them to know to report the change. Not RETK cases are all Claimant Error cases with error reason Functional Needs."

2024-07-09T09:06:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd