A4 2006

Currently, there are 0 users and 1 guest visiting this topic.
Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #19693

    Quick poll on A4 2006, particularly the proposals for bulk recovery of overpayments following a change of address. (Para 20)

    In these circumstances, ado we still have to wait 1 month before starting recovery of the overpayment in bulk or not?


    No, I don’t think so, and I think many people will be surprised to see this type of situation described as an overpayment at all.

    It is absurd to pay the claimant twice for the same period – they have already received their benefit for the early weeks of the new tenancy is how many people will see it.

    Imagine the following:

    1. Claimant moves to a new address with exactly the same rent, and tells the Council that he is moving
    2. Council delays in dealing with this information; meanwhile, HB continues to be paid to the claimant’s bank account.
    3. The Council catches up with its paper work and reassesses HB for the new address: there is actually no change to the amount.
    4. The claimant says “You have to pay me my new entitlement for my new home; furthermore, you cannot recover the overpayment for my old home because the o/p was official error and I couldn’t have known because I thought you were paying me for my new home. Now I know you weren’t, I think you owe me”
    5. Council says “Overpayment? What are you on about? We have paid you what you are entitled to, now get out of here”.

    Fair enough? I think it’s only necessary to talk about overpayments where the rate of HB at the old addess is higher than the rate of HB at the new address. When that happens, there is clearly an overpayment to the extet that the former exceeds the latter. But to say that you have been overpaid £100 a week and underpaid £100 a week both at the same time seems over-elaborate to me.


    DWPs response.


    Thank you for raising a very interesting point.

    We are in the process of drafting more detailed guidance on “when recovery should commence.” We held a meeting to discuss this issue last year, which included representatives from the Local Authority Associations, CPAG, Citizens Advice, Debt Management (DWP), Local Government Ombudsman and HBSD. We have also sought advice from Solicitors. The guidance will state that recovery from ongoing HB should not commence for one month, giving the claimant time to arrange their finances, or appeal against the decision if they do not agree with it. If recovery is going to take place by invoice or via the Ctax account, there is no reason why it cannot start straight away. The reason for this is that the LA will not be physically taking any money from the claimant by adopting these recovery methods and so therefore should not cause any hardship.

    In the scenario that paragraph 20 covers, the claimant will have notified the LA that they have moved and that they are now residing at a new address within that LA’s area. This will be dealt with as a change of circumstances. The claimant will actually be informing the LA of the overpayment by telling them, for example, that they were not living at Property A for the last 3 weeks, and that instead they want to claim HB for Property B. If the claimant wanted to appeal against the overpayment for Property A, for example because they felt that they should get HB for both Properties A and B, then normally they would inform the LA of this at the same time they inform them they have changed address. If however, they appeal against the decision after the offset has taken place, then the LA can consider paying them the HB for Property B whilst the appeal is taking place. The regulations have been drafted so that LAs do not have to offset the overpayment if they think it will cause hardship. This recovery method is discretionary. The LA can pay the HB for the second property and recover the overpayment for the first property by weekly deductions. I apologise if we have not made this clear in the guidance issued.

    We will include the “change of address” scenario in the guidance we are presently drafting on “when recovery should commence”. If you need anything further at this time, please let me know.

    Kind regards

    Jane Autherson

    HB/CTB Overpayments Policy

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.