Council Tax benefit overpayment/Fraud/Death

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    Mr is the claimant for Council Tax benefit. Fraud case is opened and proof provided that Mrs has been working since 2004. This information was received from Fraud dept March 06.
    When looking at the claim I notice the claimant actually passed away Feb 06.

    Council Tax account is in Mrs name.

    Therefore if I assess and create an overpayment it will go directly to Mrs Council Tax account.

    Can I do this as Mr is not on the Council Tax account but Council Tax benefit has been paid to this account?


    Carol Meredith

    You can recover it from the claimant or the person to whom the excess Benefit was allowed. CTB reg 85 (I think!) So by recovering it from Mrs CT account you are recovering from the person to whom it was allowed.


    remember that if living together as husband and wife they should both be jointly and severally liable, they are both frauding regardless of who is claimant/partner therefore both responsible for the excess benefit


    New Reg 70 states that you can ‘recover from whom the excess benefit was allowed’ para 1 but para 2 states that they must be members of the same household when the deduction is made.

    This is not the case as the claimant has died!!!

    Therefore, can we still add the excess CTB to her Council tax account in this case, and if so. under what reg etc.



    Mr Commissioner Jacobs looked at the matter of allowing CTB in the context of excess CTB caused by official error, and all parties agreed that allowed ment credited to the CTAX account or paid in whatever form to the claimant or payee.

    Reg 77 of the current CTB Regs does not differ from Reg 77 of the 1992 Regs :

    “77. Time and manner of granting council tax benefit

    (1) Subject to regulations 80 and 81 (payments on death and offsetting), where a person is entitled to council tax benefit in respect of his liability for a relevant authority´s council tax as it has effect in respect of the relevant or any subsequent chargeable financial year, the relevant authority shall discharge his entitlement—
    (a) by reducing, so far as possible, the amount of his liability to which regulation 20(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992(a) (the English and Welsh Regulations) or regulation 20(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Scotland) Regulations 1992(b) (the Scottish Regulations) refers; or ….”

    Notice that Reg 77 refers only to the person entitled to CTB. I suggest that recovery of excess CTB credited to the CTAx account of the claimant, whther or not that claimant is jointly and severally liable with someone else can only be from that claimant.

    Consider the situation where several people club together to rent of buy a house. Only one of them claims CTB, but at some later date that person has a retrosepctive increase in his income. Recovery of excess benefit should not be from anyone other then the claimant in this situation.

    The power to recover via the CTAX account is discretionary. I suggest that recovery from “innocent” joint CTAX payers in these circumstances is unreasonable oppressive and ultra vires. It raises the possibility of JR.

    The correct way to recover excess CTB in these circumstances would be via one of the alternatives to recovery via the CTAx account eg a simple invoice or recovery from prescribed benefits paid to the claimant

    The duty to notify changes of circumstances is essentially on the claimant. Unlike tax credits of certain JSA claims, there is always only one claimant for CTB. A partner in the context of CTB Reg 74 is not necessarily a” person by whom or on whose behalf sums payable by way of council tax benefit are receivable,”. Such a person in that context would be someone such as an appointee or agent.

    Reg 85 of the CTB Regs is narrower than Reg 101 of the HB Regs in that there is no provision for recovery from a third party who may have misrepresented a material fact. This puts the focus even more onto the claimant.

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