Overpayments- circulars A4/2006 & A13/2006- offsetting

Currently, there are 0 users and 1 guest visiting this topic.
Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #22962

    Hello all,

    We are currently trying to make sure we are working correctly in our overpayments recovery procedures following these 2 circulars.

    To this end, can some of you clever folks confirm whether or not our understanding matches yours on how overpayments should work at a change of address?

    [b:b8b5936354]Our understanding-[/b:b8b5936354]
    Before April 06, where a claimant moved from Property A to Property B, but there was an overpayment at property A, we could NOT recover this overpayment in a lump sum by offsetting it against HB due for property B. This was the case regardless of who received the rent allowance. ie even if the claimant was paid direct at both properties, or the move was between 2 properties owned by the same landlord and the landlord was to be paid direct at both properties- recovering o/p HB for property A from HB due for property B was not allowed.

    So even in the case where the tenant was paid the Rent Allowance for both properties, the overpayment could only be recovered by the weekly deductions of £8.55 etc.

    After April 06, this has changed so that where the claimant is paid the HB for both properties we CAN recover the overpayment for property A, by offsetting it against the HB due for property B. [b:b8b5936354]BUT importantly- this is the ONLY situation in which this recovery is permitted.[/b:b8b5936354] ie even if the same landlord owns property A and property B, and the rent Allowance paid direct to them, and you have decided to recover from the landlord- you still can’t recover the overpaid HB for A, from the HB due for B.

    Is this undererstanding correct?


    If the landlord owned property A and Property B, would there not only be an overpayment if property A’s rent was higher than Property Bs rent?

    Otherwise can’t the payment made after the move can just be treated as HB for property B?


    Thinking through your post, I agree with your analysis.

    Property A rent £100.00 PW
    Property B rent £75.00 PW

    4 week delay in notifying = OP of £100.00.

    Even though the same landlord, this can only be recovered from ongoing entitlement at the appropriate rate


    Thanks for your reply.

    The reply we had from DWP suggested that when ever a claimant stopped living in a property any HB paid after that date for that property was an overpayment, and could only be recovered by offsetting if the HB was paid to the claimant at both properties.

    I think also they have said we should not now consider underlying entitlement at changes of address- which i think is effectively what you would be doing if you look at it as a NET overpayment etc??

    But i’m finding it all a bit confusing!



    my reply above was sent before i noticed your 2nd reply.



    Anyone else care to agree or disagree with our understanding?


    It seems ludicrous that you should pay the same landlord twice for the same period, but I agree that what you say is a logical inference from the way the overpayment regs have been drafted.

    Historically, the legislation offered no help at all in deciding the status of money paid for the “wrong” address after the claimant had moved out. It is now much clearer that the DWP views this as a discrete overpayment for Address 1, without prejudice to the claimant’s entitlement for Address 2: in effect, you can be underpaid and overpaid both at the same time.

    Where HB has gone to your old landlord, and s/he has got nothing to do with your new home, I can see how it makes sense to rope off the overpayment for Address 1 as something to be dealt with separately, and meanwhile pay HB for Address 2 to the claimant or the new landord.

    But in the other variations (HB paid to claimant or HB paid to same landlord), I think it is harder to justify the view that there has been an overpayment at all – surely it makes at least as much sense to say that some or all of the claimant’s HB for the enw address has already been paid, with any over/underpayment limited to the difference between the old and new rate?

    Nevertheless, the new bits inserted at Reg 101(1)(bb), Reg 102(1A) and at the end of Reg 104(1)(c) make it very clear that DWP views all of these cases as overpayments for Address 1, even if the same person will receive HB for Address 2. If we accept that, then Reg 102(1A) is the only provision for making a 100% pound-for-pound offset by way of deduction from the claimant’s ongoing benefit. In short, you cannot do it when HB is being paid to the landlord.

    [b:34e06c7491]HOWEVER[/b:34e06c7491] the above only applies to an overpayment recoverable from the [b:34e06c7491]claimant[/b:34e06c7491]. If the overpayment for Address 1 is recoverable from the [b:34e06c7491]landlord[/b:34e06c7491] (and where the same landlord is the landlord of Address 2 as well, I think this will usually be the case) there is nothing to stop the Council from persuading the landlord to accept a pound-for-pound clawback from the claimant’s HB for Address 2, and deeming rent for Address 2 to be paid. Nor is there anything to stop the landlord from refusing – worth a shot though

    Ozzies Mate

    This was mailed to me by a colleague from a previous post on here but not sure which so cannot cross-reference it but I hope it helps

    Extract from Reg 104 in its post-April 06 form:

    “104. (1) … in calculating the amount of a recoverable overpayment, the relevant authority shall deduct any amount of housing benefit which should have been determined to be payable in respect of the whole or part of the overpayment period-
    … (c) on the basis of the claim as it would have appeared if any change of circumstances, except a change of the dwelling which the claimant occupies as his home, had been notified at the time that change occurred.”

    In other words, you don’t apply underlying entitlement by deducting what the claimant would have got for the new address.

    The purpose of this provision is to close a loophole that was previously available to landlords in cases where an overpayment is recoverable from the landlord: the landlord cannot say “I only owe you 50p because the overpayment needs to be reduced by underlying entitlement for the claimant’s new address, wherever that may be. Bit tough on the new landlord but that’s not my problem”.

    In a case where benefit is paid to the claimant, any overpayment for Address 1 is recoverable in full from arrears of entitlement for Address 2 – for all practical purposes that’s the same as underlying entitlement but it doesn’t go by that name. But where benefit was paid to the landlord, the overpayment for Address 1 is ring-fenced from the separate entitlement for Address 2. The main effect of this is that any overpayment for Address 1 cannot be clawed back in a lump sum from entitlement for Address 2: HB is paid twice, then recovered later. DWP obviously believes that the Address 1 overpayment will generally be recovered from the landlord; me, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think the overpayment will not be recoverable from the landlord very often under the new Reg 101.


    Okay Folks- Thanks for your replies.

    Think i’ve got it straight in my head.


Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.