Outstanding Overissue - Resettlement Grant

Discussion in 'Finance & Pensions' started by grizwald, Jun 22, 2015.

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  1. Hi all,

    Some advice please,

    Just got a letter from DBS (Military Personnel) requesting an immediate repayment of my £10K resettlement grant. I left 12 April this year. Apparently it was paid in error, but no reasons given.

    I have called the department and after a cursory glance at my file, couldn't find the reasoning why. They are looking into it now.

    Anyone had a similar experience or know whats going on in technical terms (beyond JPA foulup)?

    Im wondering if its an anomaly from switching to the new schemes... (of which i was enrolled for 12 days)

  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    I'd be inclined to write back to them, acknowledging receipt of their request & stating you are happy to pay it back once they explain the reasons behind their error and have paid all monies due to you.

    As long as you don't spend it & have evidence of your acknowledgement & intent, let them sort it out properly before you repay a penny.

    I've seen stuff like this happen previously with cheques for differing sums flying backwards & forwards for months on end.
  3. Do not under any circumstances say you are happy to pay it back, even if you are. I take the position that your claim was checked, authorised and paid, you took the money in good faith and presumably HAVE spent the money changing your life style and therefore don't actually have it DO YOU. Then you claim Estoppel, fight it as long as you can or feel able , involve your MP, write to the SoS. At its simplest level the Dept's position is always to claim back incorrect t payments but they must prove it was incorrect and you have the right to fight that under the rules of Estoppel.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. Just so you know the Resettlement Grant criteria - this will help you understand whether the demand is a mistake or whether you need to consider your position regarding repayment. In AFPS 75 ORs need to serve 12 years from age 18 to receive the award of just over £10K and in AFPS 05 all members need to give 12 years to qualify (again just over £10K). If you left before having met the service criteria you will not be entitled to get it.

    If you DID reach the 12 year point but did one of the following you are not entitled to the Resettlement Grant as you will have received a different lump sum from the pension scheme:

    Discharged with an ill-health pension (AFPS 75 or 05);
    Discharged with an immediate pension (i.e.. 22 year point)(AFPS 75); or
    Discharged with EDP benefits (AFPS 05).

    Going to the new scheme would not alter the above as your rights in your old scheme are protected.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Fair call with regard stating your intent, however if you declare you've spent the £10k & lose your case, you still have to repay. Employees are supposedly protected from their employer making deductions from future pay, but the Employment Rights Act of 1996 stipulates that it is lawful in the case of overpayments. In other words, your pension could be abated to recover the funds if it is an error.
  6. Only certain parts of the Employment Rights Act apply to HMF but that is immaterial. This case would be based not on the fact that an overpayment has been made but on the manner in which it was checked and verified prior to payment and the effects of paying back the money. As I said HMG policy is always to reclaim overpayments, they do not however always get them back. I have been out several years now but IMD there was a section (52 iirc) in the pay BR, into the JSP initially, entitled The Rules of Estoppel (R of E)or something similar.
    Here are 2 definitions "Estoppel in English law is a doctrine that may be used in certain situations to prevent a person from relying upon certain rights, or upon a set of facts (e.g. words said or actions performed) which is different from an earlier set of facts." i.e. new facts - you aren't entitles old fact you were. "In law, estoppel is a set of doctrines in which a court prevents a litigant from taking an action the litigant normally would have the right to take, in order to prevent an inequitable result. Estoppel occurs when a party "reasonably relies on the promise of another party, and because of the reliance is injured or damaged" i.e. you could face significant financial hardship at a time of your life which is already fraught with financial issues.

    In my experience, I successfully defended 2 overpayments, the first when I was a UIRO. In any overpayment (ovp) the first question is were you deemed entitled at the time and how was this verified or checked. Secondly, did you take the money in good faith believing you were entitled. Presumably the OP was resettling, was either told to apply for the grant or applied off his own back. Again assumption, but the resettlement staff and pay office checked this claim and authorised it for payment. The OP now has the cash. 3 months later Demander Functions (or whatever they are now called or whoever, makes no difference) audits the claim and decides the OP had no entitlement and it is an ovp.

    Firstly they must prove it is an ovp and in that regard provide that proof before seeking to reclaim the money from the OP. Now we come to the refusal to pay and the R of E. If the prepayment checks and balances can be shown then the repayment can be fought on the grounds that the money has been used for the purpose it was intended. One of the specific lines I remember is that you have changed you lifestyle i.e. in resettlement terms attended a course, went on a long sabbatical to wind down from the years of stress, etc.

    As I said above it depends how minded you are to repay. I know someone that has just won a case against the repayment of CEA (BSA) in the region of £27k, it took 3 1/5 years mind you! Maybe I'm biased by my experiences but I'd always advise fight it, what have you got to lose?

    Edited to add, to abate your pension I believe they would need a court order and I would suggest it would be settled prior to that stage, one way or the other.

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