‘Not Only Had There Been No Overpayment… She Was Entitled To A Refund’


Ombudsman Peter Tyndall launching his annual report for 2016 in Dublin this morning

This morning.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall launched his annual report for 2016.

In it, he deals with the matter of complaints to his office from people in receipt of social welfare payments who’ve been notified that they were overpaid and that they owe the Department of Social Protection money.

In his report, Mr Tyndall writes:

During 2015 and 2016, I noticed an increase in the number of complaints to my Office from people who had been, or who were currently, in receipt of social welfare payments and who had received notice from the Department of Social Protection that they had been overpaid. The Department was demanding repayment from them.

The periods during which the overpayments accrued ranged from relatively recently to over 20 years ago. The amounts also ranged from €1,000 to over €100,000.

An examination of these complaints raised significant concerns so I decided to initiate a systemic examination of the Department’s processes in raising and collecting overpayment debts from claimants.

My Office examined local overpayment files held in two Dublin Intreo Offices. In October 2016, I sent a report of our findings to the Department for its consideration and response.

During 2016, my Office examined other individual complaints received from overpaid social welfare claimants. A total of 55 overpayment complaints have been examined. 25 have been finalised and closed. Of those closed, I upheld 15 (60%) and the overpayments were written off by the Department.

In one case study, Mr Tyndall explains how one woman, who was told she owed the Department of Social Protection €19,900, ended up receiving a €700 refund from the department.

Mr Tyndall writes:

A woman complained to the Ombudsman after she wrote to the local office of the Department of Social Protection and failed to receive a response. The woman had received correspondence from her local office saying that an overpayment of €19,900 had been made to her. The woman was unaware of how this debt arose and had written to the Department for an explanation.

The Ombudsman contacted the Department’s local office and asked it to respond to the woman’s correspondence. While responding to the Ombudsman the Department also reviewed the woman’s social welfare payments. It discovered that her application had not been processed correctly. The woman’s income had been recalculated a number of times resulting in different outcomes, while in considering her husband’s income the Department had failed to take account of an illness that reduced his income.

Following the review, Department discovered that not only had there been no overpayment but that the woman was entitled to a refund of approximately €700.

Read the report in full here

Earlier: How Many?


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44 thoughts on “‘Not Only Had There Been No Overpayment… She Was Entitled To A Refund’

    1. Optimus Grime

      She was cheating us all!…..wait a second what do you mean we were cheating her!

      1. Rob_G

        For that lady that got the extra €700 that she was entitled to – we kind of were…

        – just as well that have this level of oversight for the system.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Defends government refusing €13 billion in unpaid bills from a massive corporation. Complains that private lady getting €700 is cheating Irish society. The mind of the right wing, slogan chanting, bootlicking serf.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            “For that lady that got the extra €700 that she was entitled to – we kind of were”

            LOL. Ok, little buddy.

          2. Vote Rep #1

            I read Rob_G as saying that the state was cheating this woman out of the 700 quid she was entitled to or did I read that wrong?

          3. Rob_G

            @ Rep – you read it correctly. Moyest was a bit too caught up in his lather of indignation, and managed to misread it.

            Honest mistake, can to the best of us – I won’t hold it against you, Moyest.

          4. WhiteKnight

            “I read Rob_G as saying that the state was cheating this woman out of the 700 quid she was entitled to or did I read that wrong?”

            You read it correctly.

    2. ahjayzis

      For Leo and his supporters, defaming and tormenting people on social welfare is an end in itself.

  1. Rob_G

    So, if there is over-payment, the DSW can ask the recipient to pay it back.

    And if the DSW claims that there has been an over-payment and the payee feels that this is not correct, they can refer it the Ombudsman.

    Sounds like the system is working pretty well, tbh.

      1. anne

        “working perfectly well” lol

        gross incompetence.
        massive inaccuracies.
        worrying & harassing vulnerable people needlessly.
        requests for explanations ignored.

        last resort, the ombudsman helps you..

        And the likes of are telling us the system is working.

        go way of it, you clown.

        1. Rob_G

          It’s unfortunate, but in any large bureaucracy, there will always be errors. It’s good that we have a system to rectify those errors.

          I personally think that it’s a good thing that a govt department is taking measures to prevent money being frittered away unnecessarily, but that’s just me.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yes, Rob. You have the only sensible position. Everyone disagreeing with you loves when the government unncessarily fritters away money. What a bunch of degenerates, eh? You’re certainly proving how much better you are then them with posts like that.

          2. Rob_G

            Well, the DSP budget costs €20bn a year; I do think that it is judicious to have some sort of oversight on how this money is spent, don’t you?

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            No, obviously not. I’m a beret wearing leftist who only believes in chaos. I’m not as grown up and civilised as you. Only smart people like you believe in reponsibility….unless we’re talking about corporations of course. They are our Gods so they can do what they want.

          4. anne

            there is no system to rectify the errors…which part of it aren’t you getting?

            the dsp ignored the woman’s request to explain the overpayment.

            going to the bloody ombudsman is not a system to rectify errors.

          5. anne


            its not a system.. it should be used as a last resort.

            the dsp need to get their house in order and need an internal process to thorough explain overpayments when people query them.. not ignore them.

            trot along now.. I’ve no interest in debating the shear incompetence of the dsp here.

            This just makes leo valdkar look even more an idiot.

            He’s not getting up early enough it seems as we have this farce going on.

    1. anne

      “and if the payee feels it’s not correct ”

      feelings shouldn’t come into it…

      They shouldn’t be making these sorts of mistakes and they need to outline the exact details over the overpayments to people.

      You shouldn’t have to refer it to the ombudsnan.. the dsp didn’t respond to her query on the overpayment in the first instant.

      This is gross incompetence.

      1. Cian

        Anne, DSP has a budget of about €20 billion each year. This means that they pay out over €380,000,000 each month.

        About half the people in Ireland get a payment of one type or another.

        “They shouldn’t be making these sorts of mistakes ” – really – you think anybody can make this number of payments and not make any mistakes?

        1. anne

          Leo isn’t getting up early enough obviously.. this is his dept, he needs to sort out this mess.

          You have a woman being told she owes them back 19k..queries it, is ignored..has to go to the ombudsman, then the dsp looks into it and she’s actually been underpaid. it’s not acceptable.

          what process is in place to spot these mistakes? Or to give peiple thorough breakdowns of overpayments? anything?

          Leo’s fraud figures have been plucked out of his a*rse now it turns out. Is there a deliberate policy of harassing people for incorrect overpayment figures, under the threat of being named and shamed by Leo – the early riser who does nothing all day?

  2. Rob_G

    I find it strange that many of the people who comment on Broadsheet seem to want more state involvement in everything, and then go into fits of apoplectic rage when the state gets things wrong in the functions that it is currently involved in.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      LOL! ‘I find it strange that the people I’m charactarising as myopic sheep aren’t living up to the image I have of them in my head’. Poor little Rob. You make us feel better about ourselves. Except Clamps.

    2. Increasing Displacement

      Rob_G – you’re a fool. The only thing that’s strange is your contempt for your fellow man

        1. I'm "alright" Jack. Mad Jack is on annual leave.

          Why do you guys waste so much time on this?

        2. Zena

          @ Rob

          Why do you insist on winding people up, does the backlash do it for you?

          Genuine question.

          1. Rob_G

            ‘Goebbels’? Just because I disagree with you on aspects of government spending oversight? That’s a bit harsh.

            Wait… which of us is that is always posting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on BS? Oh that’s right, it’s you.

  3. Zena

    Jusayinlike, there’s definitely something amiss, seems like it’s his favourite pastime. Son of Rotide, by any chance, do you reckon? ;-)

Comments are closed.

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