You may be able to apply for a refund if you – or someone you advise – received Universal Credit hardship payments which you then paid back to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

A new DWP scheme has been set up to consider applications and the deadline to apply is 19 June 2023.

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 your benefit.

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible to seek a refund of these repayments if:

  • at the time you were paying back the hardship payment, you asked the DWP to stop the repayments; and
  • DWP refused your request and continue to take the repayments; and
  • you repaid the hardship payment.

How to apply

You can apply using this application form which needs to be posted to the address on the form.

You will need to explain in the form why DWP should have stopped your repayments at the time. This will usually be because either:

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

You will need to provide the DWP with evidence of this.

This scheme has been set up following a judicial review brought by PLP’s client, which led to the DWP changing their guidance on hardship payment debt in May 2021.

Before the case the DWP’s position was that they had no discretion to waive hardship payment debt. DWP now accept this was not right. Read more about the case.

If your application is refused

If you do make an application to the DWP and your application is refused, PLP may be able to assist you subject to capacity.

You can get in touch via our enquiries email or through our Welfare Rights Hub, which offers second tier support to welfare benefit advisers.

Current repayments

Finally, if you are still repaying hardship payments you can ask DWP to waive the remaining debt by writing to them and giving reasons. There is more detail on how to do so here:

Note for adivsors