Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Housing Benefit on 21st March 1986.
Mr. Kirkwood Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are taken by his Department before it seeks to recover certificated housing benefit overpaid so as to ensure that the claimant has first been notified by the relevant local authority (a) that a decision to recover has been made and (b) that the claimant may apply to the authority for a review of that decision.
Mr. Major Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to notify claimants of all determinations of benefit, including any given rise to an overpayment. The notification must inform the claimant of his right to seek a review of the determination. It is a matter for individual authorities to decide how best to inform claimants of actual amounts of any overpayments and the proposed method of recovery. The Department’s local offices become directly involved in recovering only certain categories of overpaid certificated benefit which are referred to them by the local authorities. In these cases the local office informs the claimant of the reason for the overpayment, the proposals for recovery, and that if the claimant disagrees with the calculation of the overpayment he should take this up with the relevant local authority.