Direct earnings attachments and housing benefits overpayments
These are recovered on behalf of your local authority by bailiffs or sheriff officers. You may have to make repayments if you didn’t report a change in circumstances, gave the council the wrong information or if they overpaid you by mistake.
In the first instance, contact your local authority to query or challenge any overpayments of Housing Benefit.
DEAs and loans from the DWP Social Fund
These loans include:
- Winter fuel payments
- Cold weather payments
- Funeral payments
If you don’t repay these loans as agreed, the money can be recovered using a DEA.
To query overpayments, contact the Social Fund Enquiry Line on 0800 169 0140, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6:30pm.
DEAs and full income tax arrears or tax credit overpayments
HMRC can take money directly from your wages if you have arrears on income tax or other taxes, or if you’ve been paid too much in tax credits.
If you receive benefits and you’ve had a tax credits overpayment, the HMRC may adjust your benefits payments to recover the money owed, instead of issuing a DEA.
There are two ways HMRC recovers money owed from wages:
- Using a direct earnings attachment
- Changing your tax code to increase the amount of tax you pay each month
For more information, or to challenge an overpayment, call the HMRC tax credits helpline.
Telephone: 0345 300 3900, textphone: 0345 300 3909, Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, Saturday, 8am to 4pm, Sunday, 9am to 5pm.