Overpayments – Write off V’s Choose not to recover

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    Can anybody please clarify if there is a difference between writing off an overpayment and choosing not recover an overpayment.

    Is it just a different way of saying the same thing or is there a fundamental difference 😕

    Any help very much appreciated,



    In the latter case, you have decided that the overpayment is a recoverable one. The LA has the discretion of whether to recover or not.

    If you decided not to recover, then you would write it off.

    However, you would have no option but to write off an overpayment that is a non-recoverable one ie due to official error & appropriate person could not have realised they were being overpaid.


    There are different types of write off
    Write offs fall into three categories
    • Non–recoverable write offs – these are overpayments that are legally non-recoverable i.e official error/clmt couldn’t have know/didn’t contribute.

    • Discretionary write offs – these are when the LA uses its discretion and decides not to recover an overpayment (or any outstanding balance), eg financial hardship, terminal illness, severe medical conditions or it would be uneconomical to recover. Each case must be decided on its own merits

    • Standard write offs – these are when the claimant cannot be traced or all methods of recoveryhave been tried and have been unsuccessful. However if the claimant is not notified of the writeoff it may be resurrected and recovered at a later date

    So it depends ..


    That’s great – thank you for the replies and the clarification.



    Just to add – technically you cannot “write off” a non recoverable overpayment as the debt should not be raised in the first place. The cost of the “non-recoverable” overpayment should not become part of the write off allowance of the Council.


    The terminology “write off ” is that used by the DWP. I disagree than non recoverable overpayments should not be raised. If its an official error, the debt should be raised and made non recoverable. This is different from having a recoverable overpayment and choosing not to recover it which is when you would use your discretion and write it off. It is this amount that goes toward the amount written off within Stats 124.



    For the purpose of the Stats 124 and the BVPI’s, you should be recording a non recoverable overpayment and it should form part of BVPI 79b(iii) as a write off.

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