Reg 98 Issue

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    John Boxall

    I am dealing with an appeal against an OP

    Basically what happened was………

    1. Claimant did not declare JSA(C) so we created an OP for Dec – Mar 2011
    2. I then created a credit for the same period as we did not apply the 13 week rule

    However the system did not offest the OP’s against the credits for the same period so the credit paid out.

    Claimant is now no longer entitled and are appealing against the OP which is still outstanding

    Now as far as I can see we have them bang to rights guv, except for the fact that Reg 98 says

    Where a person has been paid a sum of housing benefit under a decision which is subsequently revised or further revised, any sum paid in respect of a period covered by a subsequent decision SHALL be offset against arrears of entitlement under the subsequent decision except to the extent that the sum exceeds the arrears and shall be treated as properly paid on account of them.

    Given that we didnt offset, does this raise any issues over recoverability etc?

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield


    I’m fully prepared to get shot down in flames for this, and i’m certain someone else can say this more eloquently, but here goes…

    I think you might be looking at this from the wrong angle, John.

    Paragraph (1) of reg 98 is really about underpayments and basically says a claimant will only get the difference between what they were already paid and what they were entitled to if a subsequent decision means they were entitled to more benefit. Paragraph (3) makes it implicit that paragraph (1) should not be used where an overpayment has occurred.

    “Offsetting” arears/ underpayments against existing overpayments comes under HB reg 102 where “a relevant authority MAY recover a recoverable overpayment… by deduction from any housing benefit to which that person is entitled”.

    Ideally, your system should have offset the credit against the o/p, but the fact that it didn’t doesn’t make overall o/p unrecoverable IMO.


    I agree reg 98 is not really an issue here.

    Since it was for the same period, the credit was essentially a revision of the overpayment decision – you were saying that actually the claimant had not been overpaid by as much – maybe the “claimant error” overpayment has been reduced to nothing.

    The payment in error was an official error overpayment – it clearly should not have been paid out.

    The recoverability test should be applied to the payment that was sent in error.

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