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Benefit deductions by the DWP

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 request for information

1. Please provide copies of policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance used / followed by the Department for Work and Pensions involving considerations and steps to be taken when a Borough Council / Local Authority requests deductions from someone’s benefit (e.g. Employment Support Allowance) to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit.

1.1. This includes information on any checks / oversight / safeguards carried out by the DWP into Council / Local Authority requests for deductions from someone’s benefit to pay back an alleged overpayment before the DWP makes deductions.

2. Does the Department for Work and Pensions automatically apply deductions to someone’s benefit upon request by a Council / Local Authority, or is there a process that checks / verifies correctness / veracity / procedural fairness, etc, involving an alleged debt and request for deductions before the DWP makes deductions. If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

3. Does the Department for Work and Pensions require information, documentation, evidence, including notification of decision, explanation of decision, a written statement of reasons by a Council / Local Authority, and any responses from an alleged debtor, before applying deductions from someone’s DWP managed benefit to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit? If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

4. Who is the decision maker regarding applying deductions to someone’s benefit (e.g. Employment Support Allowance) to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit – a Council / Local Authority or the DWP? Please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

5. What happens to deductions from someone’s benefit to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit (e.g. are they credited to a Council / Local Authority)? If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

6. Are there circumstances where the Department for Work and Pensions should contact an alleged debtor to make enquiries, or provide advance notice / warning, or provide an opportunity to make representations, BEFORE a decision is made / a process is applied (e.g. by the DWP) to make deductions from someone’s benefit (e.g. Employment Support Allowance)? If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

7. Before applying deductions from someone’s s benefit to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit, does the DWP consider and make determinations about:

7.1 Whether an overpayment was an error of Council / Local Authority, and whether the overpayment should be waived / written off? If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

7.2 An alleged debtor’s liability to pay back an overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit. If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

7.3 An alleged debtor’s ability to pay back an overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit, and hardship that benefit deductions may cause. If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

8. After a Council / Local Authority requests deductions from someone’s benefit (DWP managed benefit) to pay back an alleged overpayment of housing benefit and / or council tax benefit, does the Council / Local Authority have any ongoing responsibilities / duty involving the matter to the DWP? If so, please provide associated policies, processes, procedures, protocols, and guidance.

Yours faithfully,

Olivia Chapman

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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

9 Attachments

Dear Olivia Chapman,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 15th
June.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Olivia Chapman please sign in and let everyone know.