This issue was highlighted on Twitter after Radio 4 journalist and presenter Paul Lewis responded to a tweet from a man who had just lost his mother and complained that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had asked the family to return £160.
When someone dies, their death must be reported within five days in England and Wales, or within eight days in Scotland via the Government’s ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which is run by the DWP. In Northern Ireland, deaths must be reported within five days via the Government’s bereavement service.
Doing so informs all relevant departments, including the tax office and local Government offices, to cancel things on behalf of the deceased, such as benefit payments and driving licences. This process can take a little while and may be the cause of a state pension overpayment after death.
But MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has confirmed the advice given by Mr Lewis that people have no legal obligation to repay any money wrongly paid after the authorities have already been informed about a death.
See our Pension need-to-knows and State Pensions guides if you need more info on saving for retirement.