According to new reports, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits claimants were underpaid around £2.6 billion in the 2021/22 financial year.
Additionally, other people claiming benefits from the UK Government department were overpaid approximately £8.6 billion collectively.
As reported by The Mirror, this was the result of mistakes made by the the DWP, councils, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Errors made by claimants, as well as fraudulent claims, are also to blame for the underpayments and overpayments.
A variety of benefits have been affected, such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and Housing Benefit.
Here is a summary of they key information you should be aware of, including what steps to take if you think you have been underpaid benefits.
Which benefits were underpaid and overpaid?
Approximately £410 million of Universal Credit was underpaid, while more than £5.9 billion was overpaid.
Meanwhile, around £540 million of State Pension was underpaid, and £110 million was overpaid.
In addition, Pension Credit was was overpaid by £350 million and underpaid by £110 million, while Housing Benefit was overpaid by £950 million and underpaid by £210 million.
What happens if you were underpaid?
In the majority of cases, the DWP will be aware of the mistake and you will receive the money you are due as a lump sum.
However, if you think you have been underpaid and the DWP has not been in touch, then you can reach out to them to make sure.
Universal Credit claimants should call 0800 328 5644 or use their online account, while State Pension recipients should call 0800 731 0469.
What happens if you were overpaid?
In cases where claimants have received more money than they should have, the DWP will collect it back.
Usually, they will take a cut of your benefits — between 15% and 25% — from each of your payments until the debt is re-payed.
You can ask to keep the extra money, and though the DWP may reject the request, it is worth a try.
This is called "exercising their discretion not to recover an overpayment" and is down to the discretion of the DWP.