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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 94284, tabled on 16 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claims were found to be inaccurate since April 2020; and in how many of those cases (a) recovery action has been initiated and (b) an overpayment has been identified.

Answered on

11 January 2022

Our annual Monetary Value of Fraud and Error Estimates 2020/21 (table 5) published May 2021, provide information on the proportion of Universal Credit cases overpaid:

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2020 to 2021 estimates - GOV.UK (

It should be noted that many will only have a very small overpayment, as the measurement doesn’t distinguish between a very small overpayment and a whole award error, which is considerably rarer. The biggest area of loss from these overpayments is fraud, which includes cases where people exploited our suspension of face-to-face identification checks at the start of the pandemic.

Since April 2020, DWP has referred over one million Universal Credit overpayments for recovery, of which 694k have led to a recovery of money.