If a person fails to contact us to make arrangements to repay an overpayment of Housing Benefit we will consider whether a 'Direct Earnings Attachment' (DEA) is appropriate.
We will write to you before we contact your employer to request a DEA.
A DEA allows the Local Authority to recover a Housing Benefit Overpayment by asking the employer to make deductions from an employee's earnings and to pay those earnings to us.
The law allows us to do this without applying to a Civil Court and employers are legally bound to comply if requested to do so.
Regulations provide that a proportion of earnings are protected; this is calculated at 60% of net earnings. The amount an employer will take each time an employee is paid will depend on the amount of the employee's net earnings and could be up to 20% of net earnings. Employers may also charge the employee an administration fee; this will not exceed £1 for each payment deducted from earnings.
Standard DEA rates
|Employees weekly pay||Employees monthly pay||Deductions from net earnings|
|£100 or less
||£430 or less
|£100.01 to £160
||£430.01 to £690
|£160.01 to £220
||£690.01 to £950
|£220.01 to £270
||£950.01 to £1,160
|£270.01 to £375
||£1,160.01 to £1,615
|£375.01 to £520
||£1,615.01 to £2,240
|More than £520
||More than £2,240
The employer has a duty to inform the employee in writing of the amount of the deduction including any amount for administration costs. Deductions will continue until the overpayment has been repaid.
Information on Direct Earnings Attachment, including a guidance leaflet for employers can be found at www.gov.uk/make-benefit-debt-deductions.
If you have received a letter telling you that we intend to contact your employer to request a DEA and you would like to discuss this, please contact our Overpayments Team on 01492 576602.