DWP FINES: Changes to your circumstances can have a significant effect on some of your rights to claim benefits.
You could get a civil penalty fine of £50 if you fail to report the changes. DWP civil penalties can get applied to benefit overpayments. You must also repay the excess amount as well.
What is a Civil Penalty in UK?
In simple terms, a civil penalty is a ‘financial penalty’ – sometimes called a civil fine.
The penalties get imposed by government agencies as a form of compensation. They view it as a restitution for someone’s wrongdoing.
As a rule, a wrongdoing is associated with a breach of statutory regulation. But, it can also apply to the UK rule of law or a codification of legislation (such as a decree).
Authorities do not generally consider a civil penalty to be a criminal punishment. Instead, a fixed rate penalty gets issued to compensate harm done to a government agency. Thus, it is not meant to punish someone’s conduct.
Can You Get Jail Time in a Civil Case?
United Kingdom laws on fines and sentencing are clear. They state that a defendant involved in a civil case cannot get sentenced to a jail or to a prison. The restitution can only result in an award for monetary damages. That is providing the defendant complies with the ruling of the court.
Note: Therefore, all other things being equal, civil penalties do not normally carry jail time or other prison sentences.
Changes in Circumstance You Must Report
Reporting any changes to your personal or family circumstances is standard practice. But, you must also correct any administrative mistakes that you make.
If you make an error, you must inform your local Jobcentre Plus or a disability benefits centre without delay.
Circumstantial changes you have to report include:
- Getting a new job or receiving a pay rise.
- Taking in a lodger.
- Getting married or entering into a civil partnership (moving in with a partner).
- Recovering from an illness and no longer being sick or ill.
- Travelling overseas for a long period or moving abroad on a permanent basis.
Civil Penalty DWP £50
A civil penalty may get applied to your benefit overpayments by the Department for Work and Pensions. A welfare overpayment must be at least £65.01 and a ‘recoverable’ debt. The most common reasons for DWP fines are:
- The claimant was negligent in giving incorrect information and did not take reasonable steps to correct the mistake.
- The claimant failed to inform a disability benefits centre, the council, Pension Service, or Jobcentre Plus about a change in circumstances.
Couples and Civil Partnerships
Some of the welfare benefits and allowances get paid as a joint payment for a couple. A DWP civil penalty can get imposed on either of the partners or on both partners together. Even so, they can issue only one penalty for each overpayment.
One of the partners might state they were unaware of any wrongdoing by their partner. In this case, penalties rarely get applied to that person. But, the authorities can apply a fixed penalty to their partner.
Appointees and People who Help others with Benefit Claims
The penalties apply to any person who makes an incorrect statement with negligence in connection with a benefit claim. Helping another person make a claim, or being an appointee for them, means you may be responsible for a civil penalty.
Note: You can get prosecuted for deliberately giving false information, or failing to report a changes, to the DWP or HM Revenue and Customs.