Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing to request the following additional information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):

1. For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held):

a. the number of Universal Credit (UC) claimants who have been overpaid UC and the total value of these overpayments,
b. the number of recoverable UC overpayments classified as official error and the total value of these overpayments,
c. the number of recoverable UC overpayments classified as official error that the DWP decided not to recover from the claimant,
d. the number of recoverable UC overpayments that were waived by the DWP and the total value waived, and
e. the number of recoverable UC overpayments caused by official error that were waived by the DWP and the total value waived.

2. For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held) the proportion of UC claimants with a UC overpayment, who had successfully applied for:

a. Waiver of an UC overpayment, broken down by,
i. waived on medical grounds,
ii. waived on financial grounds,
iii. waived on both medical and financial grounds,
iv. waived on official error grounds,
v. waived on other grounds,

b. Suspension of recovery of an UC overpayment, and

c. A reduction in rate of recovery of an UC overpayment.

In relation to question 1 I would be grateful if the response could be set out in a similar way to that used for your response to Magdalena Caley on 18 August 2021 (Ref: FOI2021/61616): https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...

For all requests that refer to a number, I would be grateful if this could be provided as the actual figure and not rounded to the nearest five or ten.

In a recent response dated 28 May to a Freedom of Information request from Caroline Selman (Ref: FOI2022/12570) you indicated that data on claimant, including protected, characteristics existed but that it was not readily available due to the information being held across different systems. I am unclear from the response as to what information the DWP does and does not hold in relation to benefit deductions and claimant characteristics.

I would be grateful if you could clarify whether you hold data (albeit across multiple systems) on each of a) ethnicity; b) age; c) gender; d) disability status, e) lone parent status; and f) UC Claimants in receipt of DLA, PIP or the LCW element of UC, of UC claimant who have:

1. Received an official error overpayment

2. Requested a reduction in rate of recovery, suspension or waiver of that recovery

3. Have been granted a reduction in rate of recovery, suspension or waiver

Yours faithfully,

Samuel Willis

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Dear Samuel Willis,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 27th
July.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Reference: FOI2022/58483

Universal Credit Deductions Data

Thank you for your response of 25 August 2022. Unfortunately this does not fully answer all the questions asked.

Please could you therefore provide responses to the following clarified requests.

Questions 1 a. and b.

Q1 For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held):

a. the number of Universal Credit (UC) claimants who have been overpaid UC and the total value of these overpayments,

b. the number of recoverable UC overpayments classified as official error and the total value of these overpayments,

The Fraud and Error statistics you have provided a link to provide estimated figures based on a sample of cases.

The information I am seeking is the actual figures as recorded on DWP’s Debt Manager system.
DWP has previously provided equivalent data for the period April 2020 to March 2021 in response to a Freedom of Information Request from Magdalena Carey on 18 August 2021 (FOI Ref: FOI2021/61616): https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...

I therefore understand that this is information that DWP holds and has been able to provide in the recent past.

I am therefore clarifying the above requests and requesting that you provide:

For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to March 2022 and April 2022 to date, if month by month data is not held):
a. The number of new UC overpayments entered on Debt Manager and the value of those overpayments,
b. The number of new UC overpayments entered on Debt Manager with a classification of official error and the value of those overpayments.

If you could provide this in the same format as was used for FOI response FOI2021/61616 referred to above, that would be particularly helpful.

Question 1 e.

Q1 For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held):

e. The number of recoverable UC overpayments caused by official error that were waived by the DWP and the total value waived.

DWP has previously provided equivalent data for the period April 2020 to March 2021 in response to a Freedom of Information Request from Magdalena Carey on 18 August 2021 (FOI Ref: FOI2021/61616): https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/7...

I therefore understand that this is information that DWP does hold and has been able to provide in the recent past.

I am therefore clarifying the above request and requesting that you provide:

For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to March 2022 and April 2022 to date, if month by month data is not held):
e. The number of UC Overpayments waived with a classification of Official Error and the value of those overpayments.

Question 2 a. iv.

2. For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held) the proportion of UC claimants with a UC overpayment, who had successfully applied for:

a. Waiver of an UC overpayment, broken down by

iv. waived on official error grounds

As set out above, based on FOI response FOI2021/61616 I understand that DWP does hold data on UC overpayments and UC waivers categorised by way of official error.

Please could you therefore provide this data.

I would be grateful if this could be provided for each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to March 2022 and April 2022 to date if month by month data is not held).

Question 2 c.

2. For each month from April 2021 to date (or from April 2021 to date, if month by month data is not held) the proportion of UC claimants with a UC overpayment, who had successfully applied for:

c. A reduction in rate of recovery of an UC overpayment

DWP has previously provided equivalent data for 13 June 2019 in response to a written question tabled by Steve McCabe MP on 12 June 2019 (UIN 2636679): https://questions-statements.parliament....

I therefore understand that this is information that DWP does hold. Please could you therefore provide this data.

If it is not possible to provide this by way of a monthly or annual figure (April 2021 to March 2022 and April 2022 to date), please could you provide this for the most recent period for which data is available i.e. in the same format as was provided in response to written question UIN 2636679 referred to above.

Protected Characteristics Data

Your response states that DWP does not hold robust data on ethnicity, disability status, lone parent status or UC claimants in receipt of DLA or PIP.

I therefore understand that the DWP does hold robust data on age, gender and UC claimants in receipt of the Limited Capability for Work element of UC.

Please could you therefore provide for the period April 2021 to March 2022 and April 2022 to date (or such other period as you are able to provide, if annual data is not available), any data you hold on the:
a. Number or proportion of new UC Overpayments entered on Debt Manager
b. Number or proportion of new UC Overpayments entered on Debt Manager with a classification of Official Error
c. The number or proportion of UC Overpayment waiver requests, and
d. The number of proportion of UC Overpayments that were partially or fully waived

Broken down by:
a. Age,
b. Gender, and
c. UC Claimants in receipt of the LCW element of UC.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a valid Freedom of Information request, as per Section 8
of the FOI Act 2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working
days.
 
Please note that email FOI responses will be issued from
[1][email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request please
contact us.
 
Information on the Department for Work and Pensions can be accessed on
gov.uk here - [2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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Dear Samuel Willis,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 5th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

J Roberts left an annotation ()

You may be interested in this answer to a parliamentary question from Chris Stephens:

'To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims were subject to deductions in the most recent month for which data is available, broken down by parliamentary constituency; how much was the (a) total and (b) average sum of deductions in each constituency; and what proportion of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments.'

https://questions-statements.parliament....