The level of discretion when applying UC deduction

The request was successful.

Jagna Olejniczak

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The Benefit Overpayment Recovery Guide v3.10 (April 2023) Chapter 8 sets out the circumstances in which the SSWP will exercise his discretion not to recovery an overpayment.

Paragraph 8.2 BORG states “Discretion can be considered at any point in the debt journey which could be either when an overpayment is first discovered and before it is notified to the claimant…”.

Paragraph 8.3, first bullet point, states that “the Secretary of State discretion may be applied…. [w]here the Secretary of State does not consider that any action to recover the debt is warranted on cost grounds e.g., small overpayments (SMOP). Para 2.16-2.18 applies. This would result in the entire debt being written off.”

1. Please confirm in what circumstances the SSWP will apply his discretion to not recover an overpayment before it is notified to the claimant (as per para 8.2 BORG) other than the circumstances set out in paragraph 8.3 BORG, first bullet (i.e. SMOP written off on costs grounds) and other than as a result of the application for a waiver.

2. Please provide any policy or guidance documents governing the exercise of the SSWP discretion in these circumstances.

3. Please confirm how many times this discretion to not recover an overpayment before it is notified to the claimant has been used in the last three years (calendar or financial, whichever is more convenient) both for

(a) overpayments within the Small Overpayment Limit
(a) overpayments above the Small Overpayment Limit.

4. When an overpayment is identified, how automatised is the process of applying the deduction? In other words, is there a decision maker, or does a computer automatically action the deduction of an identified overpayment?

In case this request exceeds the cost limit under Section 12 of the FoI Act, please prioritise question 4, followed by 3, 2 and 1 (reverse order).

Yours faithfully,
Jagna Olejniczak

Department for Work and Pensions


Sorry your e-mail with subject line: Freedom of Information request - The level of discretion when
applying UC deduction , To : [DWP request email] was not delivered,

please re-send.

This is a system generated email please do not reply.


Sent request to Department for Work and Pensions again.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
Timescales for responding
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
Internal Review (IR) Requests
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
Receiving a response from us
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
Further Information
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
More information on the DWP can be accessed on here –

show quoted sections


Visible links

2 Attachments

Dear Jagna Olejniczak,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 13th

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team