Reply To: Overpayments created by NTC awards


Great – just as a got my head round all the other Tax Credit rubbish we now have a new overpayment concept – the “structural overpayment”. Anthony is quite right about the manual – the DWP have given us 2 suggestions for when TC income is taken into account – either from the date the award is made (presumably the date of the award letter) or the first day that the first “non-arrears” payment is intended to cover.

I really think that this is all a complete mess. Tax Credit payments are not intended to cover a particular period at all – they are just installments – so any reference to the counting back 6 days (for weekly paid) or 27 days (for 4-weekly paid) claims is quite bizarre anyway.

The manual certainly does seem to say that the Departmental Error category will apply to all overpayments created by the 1st non-arrears installment of a Tax Credit claim. This should be fun (read “mad”) when it comes to CTC and WTC being paid using different payment cycles.

The plain fact is that Tax Credits and HB/CTB just don’t fit together and with all the good will in the world they never will. Until (and if) we get some legislative simplification it is a dead cert that LA’s will continue to come across scenario’s that the DWP haven’t thought of yet – how about HB advance payment cases for starters – and that the regulations offer no help with.

So where does this leave us? I am fed up waiting for amendments to the manual because it seems that they always generate more questions than answers. I bet some LA’s have already decided that the mid-year change cases are best dealt with just using the dates and installment amounts on the award letters – and if so I don’t blame them. It actually makes more sense that way anyhow.

As far as overpayment classification goes even if between us all we reach complete agreement on how to do it how many of you think you can teach the assessors in your LA to do it. I’ll admit right now that I have no chance whatsoever because it is simply too difficult.

Sorry to be having a moan about all this again – I don’t want to defelect this topic from where it was going. I wish you all the very best of luck coming up with the answers. Personally I’m moving on to look at Pension Credits because I’m not going to let the Tax Credit fiasco happen again.