New DWP scheme may enable claimants to get refund of already paid back Universal Credit hardship payments

Wed,11 January 2023
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Under a new DWP scheme clients may be able to get a refund of already paid back Universal Credit hardship payments. The deadline to apply is 19 June 2023.

Who is eligible?

Hardship payments are paid to Universal Credit claimants when they are sanctioned and most of the time must be paid back. Usually, hardship payments are paid back to the DWP by way of monthly deductions from benefits.
Under the scheme, claimants may be able to claim a refund of these repayments if:

  • At the time they were paying back the hardship payment, they asked the DWP to stop the repayments; and
  • DWP refused the request and continued to take the repayments; and
  • The claimant repaid the hardship payment.

How to apply:

There is a specific application form which needs to be completed and sent to the DWP Debt Management address on the form. The deadline to apply is 19 June 2023.
Claimants will need to explain in the form why DWP should have stopped the hardship payment recovery at the time. This will usually be because either:

  • making the repayments affected their health or the health of a family member and/or
  • making the repayments caused them financial problems.

The DWP will need evidence of this, and more detail is on the form and the DWP’s website.

This scheme has been set up following a judicial review brought by the Public Law Project which led to the DWP changing their guidance on hardship payment debt in May 2021.

The Public Law Project would be interested in hearing about your experience of the scheme. If you do make an application and it is refused, PLP may be able to assist claimants, subject to capacity.

Please contact