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Offsetting underpayment against outstanding benefit overpayments

Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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Total Posts: 41

Joined: 8 August 2018

So I posted a few weeks ago about a client who was having deductions for carers allowance despite it no longer being in payment.

I’d like confirmation if there’s any difference between how underpayments are dealt with by UC if it is for previous assessments or the most recent assessment?


August AP
client stops caring
UC award: paid carer element + deduction for carers allowance

September AP
client reports she’s stopped caring on August date
UC award: recalculation causes overpayment of the carers element total of 160.20
37.77 deducted for this overpayment
Deduction for CA

October AP
Client queries award and deductions. No one picks up on the problem
Deduction for UC o/p and deduction for CA continues.

November AP (7 Oct - 6 Nov)

5 Nov: I notify UC of the problem, they check system which shows claim is suspended not closed
Lots of unnecessary hoops jumped and award is revised with a small underpayment of £13 as they’ve used 5/11 as the end date for CA

8 Nov Cl gets a letter that the £13 will be paid in to her account

UC refuse to correct the end date without further evidence

13 Nov: cl is paid her UC (with full deduction of CA)
Same day but separate payment for £13 to correct the CA deduction

14 Nov I send letter from CA confirming CA claim ended in August and request the case be escalated so cl could receive money due asap

19 Nov UC award Aug - Nov revised generating £800 underpayment
Cl gets a letter that this will be sent to debt management as client owes money (approx 50 remaining on the o/p of the carers element)

28 Nov client still not received any money owed.


Sorry for the detailed account but I’m confused why the 13 was sent to the client but the 800 to debt management?

I’d have thought cl would have received the money owed for November’s payment and the money owed for Aug - Sept be sent to debt management (even though the underpayment fat outweighs the remaining overpayment)

As this is the award UC has determined is enough to last until her next UC payment in December

Is there a difference in how November’s underpayment is handled (compared to Aug - Sept) - had the casemanager contacted CA directly that money could have been paid on her usual day or in a separate payment with the £13?

Am I seeing a distinction that isn’t there?

Another example would be if a client has 2 paydays fall in their assessment in error and earnings reduce UC award to 0. Cl does rti dispute and UC corrects the award say 10 days after the assessment period ends, so 3 days after their payment would have been. If client had an outstanding overpayment could that entire underpayment go to debt management and leave the cl with nothing?

[ Edited: 30 Nov 2019 at 01:47 am by Tara CAC ]
Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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See para 5.50 here, in particular the first and fourth bullet points.

[ Edited: 1 Dec 2019 at 11:58 am by Charles ]
Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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Total Posts: 41

Joined: 8 August 2018

Thank you

I’d read point 1 as ‘full period of benefit’ as if she’d incorrectly been paid 0 then they’d need to pay directly to her.

But point 3 should be relevant since they were waiting on verification the CA had closed.

So other than in the listed instances there’s no difference between money owed for this payment and for previous ones? That just seems silly!?!

Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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Total Posts: 470

Joined: 27 February 2019

Did you see the 4th point (on the next page)?

Tara CAC
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Children's Centre Project: Citizens Advice Cornwall

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Total Posts: 41

Joined: 8 August 2018

No I did not! Was looking on my phone- even thought you’d mentioned 4 but could only see 3! Found it now! Thanks again