Government Asks Employees To Pay Back $3 Million In Benefits
Benefits blunders cost taxpayers millions every year. New York, for example, paid out an extra $140 million in Medicaid benefits thanks to a computer glitch. But now there's been a mistake so egregious that some of those who were overpaid will have to pay it back on an installment plan.
The British Department for Work and Pensions estimates that $5.4 billion is overpaid each year, because of fraud and errors. But this past year, 10 lucky recipients got extra payments totaling $2.8 million, reported The Sun.
Lucky, that is, until the department discovered the mistake. Now the government is asking for the money back. Even when split 10 ways, $2.8 million is a hefty sum for benefit recipients, who most likely spent the extra money when they got it.
Now the 10 individuals, used to being paid by the government, are on a payment plan which has them giving money back to the government for the rest of their lives.
The arrangement, according to a department spokesman, was intended to "avoid undue hardship."
One of the individuals, now $294,800 in debt, is paying the government $16.29 a month for 142 years, according to The Sun. Another, who owes $238,525, is paying it back in weekly installments of $32.90. A third, whose debt's a stone's throw from half a million, is handing over $57.58 a week.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...