Overpayment Recovery (Length of Time)

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    Thanks to h/binfo and Paul Stagg for the recent overpayment trg held on 01/11/06.

    I think it was brilliant and I did learn a lot from it.

    I have just received an overpayment query.
    LA wants to recover an overpayment dating back to 1996. Customer not happy about it and wants to know if the LA has the right/power to do so.

    In my opinion LAs can go as far back as they wish but for not notifying the customer after 9 years or so, I think the outstanding overpayment should be written off and made non-recoverable. Does anyone agree with me? Is there a Commissioner’s decision at all on length of time.


    The six-year statute of limitations rule would apply.


    The rule Andy refers to would apply from the date you last tried recovery action on the OP, not the OP itself. If you only stopped recovery action in 2005 then you could go for recoivery action still. If, however this is the first time since 1996 then the prohibition would apply.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................


    I am not aware of any reason why they could not go back that far.

    The Limitations Act only restricts an old debt from Civil Recovery.

    As far as I am aware, if the overpayment is only being created [b:8519da10c6]now[/b:8519da10c6], then the limitations Act would not affect it until 6 years [b:8519da10c6]from[/b:8519da10c6] [b:8519da10c6]now[/b:8519da10c6].

    Kevin D

    I agree with Paul Christie’s response.

    There are a couple of CDs where the Limitations Act has been looked at, but I haven’t had time to check for relevance to the case in question. These *may* be worth a look:

    [b:10e42ac005]R(SB) 5/91 (aka CSB/0888/1988)



    Regardless of the limitation act, I think there is a strong HRA Article 6 argument against recovery after so long. See R(IS)1/04.

    There would also be the matter of the LA’s own breach of Reg71(1)(b) to consider


    I am not sure this Limitation Act is a clear as often thought. For instance,

    “Under the Limitations Act 1980 the time limits are

    in simple contracts, 6 years
    in contracts under seal, 12 years.

    If the debtor acknowledges the debt in writing or makes a part payment within the original limitation period, then the time limits start to run again from the date of acknowledgement or the date of payment”.

    Does this “part-payment” include a deduction from on-going benefit and thus extend the time limit? There is no limit whatsoever from getting old ebts back by deductions from new benefits.

    There are all sorts of issues here and I suspect that a lot of debt that is written off is still recoverable? Any views or suggestions on this? What about the boom in IVA’s for instance?

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