OP recovery for other LA’s

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    I have recently been asked to recover an OP from the claimants HB at our authority for the authority where the OP occurred.
    My problem is that they are receiving Income Support and already having max deductions taken for another debt.
    Do you think it is fair for them to have deductions taken directly from their income and then to have to top up their rent due to clawback?
    What do other authorities do in this situation??


    I have in the past sent a request back to a Local Authority on the grounds that it would cause Financial Hardship

    Similar scenario in that max deductions were already being taken from her Income Support entitlement and she was unable to meet the top up for her rent.
    She was been granted a DHP by us because of this, and then the request was made to recover HB op on behalf of another authority.

    I know that recovering from ongoing entitlement is considered good practice, and I know that if you had a HB overpayment of your own you would just recover it from ongoing entitlement – however you do have the discretion not to on the grounds of Financial Hardhsip.

    I do believe that where there are already max deductions being taken from DWP benefits that the LA should either wait and try again when the deductions have gone down or if the deductions are clearly going to take years then drioudly consider writing the debt off as the customer simply does not have the means to pay it.


    Surely you can’t award a DHP to cover deductions from DWP benefit when they are being made to recover an overpayment?

    Although I admire your charitable outlook what you are basically saying is that DWP debts are more important than ours. It is often the case that their overpayment is [i:f260f39024]not as much as ours[/i:f260f39024], and the other important factor is that we lose subsidy on our overpayments and they don’t! You can always reduce the rate of recovery if the clt is in hardship but I can’t agree that you should postpone recovery or even write it off.


    If the overpayment was due to your LA rather than an other would you recover?

    I’d use the same criteria to make the decision



    I do not know all the ins and outs of the decision to award the DHP and do not think the deductions from Income Support were a factor – in just the same way that if we were recovering an overpayment of our own that would not be a factor in awarding DHP.
    It was based purely on the rent charged – some of ours are very high and the shortfall between the HB entitlement and what the customer had to pay.

    Recovering on behalf of another Local Authority is at the discretion of the Local Authority who are currently awarding the HB, and financial hardship is a factor that imho should be taken into account.
    If there are already max deductions being taken from Income Support and then a deduction is taken for the HB entitlement is the customer likely to be able to meet their needs and pay their rent?

    I am currently recovering two overpayments on behalf of other authorities, I just turned down the case I have referred to because of the financial impact on the customer and the likelihood that this would result in them being made homeless.

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