Benefit overpayments, appeals and representation

We can support and guide you with issues relating to DWP or HMRC overpayments. Where benefits overpayments are identified we will look at the circumstances surrounding the overpayment and provide you with advice and assistance to challenge the overpayment or the re-payable amounts.

Where you wish to challenge a DWP or HMRC decision we can submit an appeal on your behalf and if required we can provide you with written representation where you are called to a Tribunal Hearing.

Frequently asked questions

I have deductions being taken from my benefits for a Housing Benefit Overpayment, can you help?

We can give you general advice on how to deal with overpayments of benefits however we cannot challenge the decision of another council department. Other organisations in the area may be able to assist and we would signpost you dependant on your circumstances.

I disagree with the decision made on my benefits decision or on the amount I have been awarded can you help?

You may be able to appeal but you must first ask the DWP to look at their decision again, this is referred to as a Mandatory Reconsideration. The quickest and most effective way to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration is over the telephone direct to DWP, you will find the telephone number to use on your Decision letter. If you receive a negative decision on your Mandatory Reconsideration you may be able to appeal to the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services.

I received a negative decision on my request for a Mandatory Reconsideration, what should I do next?

You can submit an appeal to the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services and the Information and Advice Hub Advisors can help you with that process.

My appeal has been submitted and they have advised I will attend a Tribunal Hearing, what should I do now?

If the Information and Advice Hub have submitted the appeal for you then they will have a copy of the paperwork relating to your appeal, they will be in touch to prepare a written submission for you to take with you to the hearing. If you submitted the appeal on your own and you are unsure what to do next, the Information and Advice Hub may be able to provide you with some advice and guidance and in some cases may still be able to help you prepare a written submission.

What will happen at the Tribunal Hearing?

There are usually three people on the panel for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment appeals (Judge, Doctor, and a Disability Adviser) and two people for Employment and Support Allowance appeals (Judge and Doctor). Some appeals will just be before the Judge.

You will not be asked to have a medical examination, unless you are appealing an industrial injuries decision. It is possible that another person from the Department of Work and Pensions will also be there and although they have the right to ask some questions, they will not be part of the decision-making process. Although this is a legal and therefore formal process, it is not the same as going to Court. You are not on trial. The panel will be asking you questions to see if they agree that the decision that has been made is correct, or whether they can decide in your favour. This is your chance to make sure they have the right facts about you.

They will ask you about how you were at the time when the decision was made, not how things are for you now. If your condition has deteriorated since the original decision, you will need to make a new claim (about a different set of circumstances); this is not something that can be included in the appeal. The tribunal will try to make sure that you do not forget all the issues you have in your appeal. In disability appeals, the tribunal may have to ask personal questions, but they will try to do this in a sensitive way. The tribunal will try to make sure that everyone will get their turn to speak. If you think anything has been missed out, let the Judge know.

To arrange an appointment with one of our advisors please call 0300 123 0900 and ask for the Information and Advice Hub; alternatively you can email us at informationandadvicehub@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or pop into your local customer service centre and they can make a referral to the service for you.

A directory of other services providing support across South Ayrshire, in a range of areas including digital support, welfare rights, money advice and personal budgeting is available by accessing the Signpost directory.