We have been viewing a document recently, this document is from the Audit Sub Committee regarding benefit overpayments. Now before i start i want you to note something;
There have been current local authority members and past members who have jumped on this quick time, they have tried to tell us that we simply do not understand what the document is saying, however i think it is important at this point not to forget a vital point, which ever way you may read this document it still clearly states 2 very disturbing points, in black and white!
You can view the document for yourself HERE
Back to document, we accept that there may be points that we simply do not understand in this document and we would not argue the point however within this document medway council have identified the following;
Ovepayment recovery, in terms of the cost to the council, is not represented solely by the cash collected from claimants or landlords. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also allows categories of overpayment for subsidy purposes at varying degrees from 0% to 100% e.g. overpayments as a result of claimant error are reimbursed at 40% in addition to any claimant recovery. It is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment.
I would like to draw your attention to the last part of that statement;
” it is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment”
personally i find it disturbing that medway council council even identify that.
Another point raised within this document clearly states;
Why we need a policy
It is essential for Medway Council to demonstrate that it carries out administration and recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments efficiently and effectively.
By doing so the Council:-
• reduces losses to Public Funds;
• provides revenue for the Council;
• helps reduce the loss from overpayments;
• deters fraud and error;
• demonstrates the Council’s commitment to accuracy and provision of a quality
service to its customers as outlined in its Benefits Statement of Intent.
Again we see that medway council have clearly stated;
” provides revenue for the council”
Now we can say that yes this could be ambiguous however it does give rise to questions like;
1. If the council were to overpay benefits on a regular basis would this or could this be seen as a profitable income during these difficult times?
I am so outraged that im almost speechless, medway council can claim an overpayment is the claimants fault, overpay the benefit, receive a 40% subsidy and then keep all overpayment recovered! I think this is a total outrage and must be challenged!!
In times where families are bending over backwards to keep roofs above the heads of their families we find the local authorities can still profit from our loss.
We will be looking more indepth into this situation and meanwhile welcome views of those affiliated with this document.