Social Security payment error: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Request for Information 1: The number of occasions, per month, an underpayment or overpayment of a benefit due to staff error has been identified by either the applicant or Social Security Scotland, for the last 12 months (From 1 March 2021 to 1 March 2022), broken down by benefit type.

Request for Information 2: For each of these months, the total amount of money a) underpaid and b) overpaid to applicants because of staff error.

Request for Information 3: The total number of staff errors identified relating to applications made that have not involved underpayments or overpayments (where, for example, an applicant has mistakenly been told they were not eligible for a benefit), broken down by benefit and month.


Requests for Information 1 and 2: The attached table shows the information requested. In all instances where an underpayment is identified, a payment covering the shortfall is made to the client. In
line with Social Security Scotland Act (2018)Íž sections 63 and 64, if an overpayment is identified, we advise clients but, in the event of staff error, the client is not liable for this payment unless an individual could reasonably be expected to identify this. To date, we have not used this exception.

Request for Information 3: While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we do not have the information you have requested. We do not hold information relating to staff errors
where an overpayment or underpayment was not generated. To ensure that the information given to clients regarding eligibility is correct, there are a number of steps taken to quality assure determinations across all benefits.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202200287248 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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