Deductions

The rules about deductions from benefit and direct payment to third parties are set out in the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.380/2013), the Fines (Deductions from Income Support) Regulations 1992 (as amended), (SI.No.2182/1992), the Council Tax (Deductions from Income Support) Regulations 1993 (as amended) (SI.No.494/1993) and the Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.384/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

When can deductions be made

Regulation 58 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out the conditions under which part of the universal credit award can be paid wholly or in part to another person.

Limitation of deductions

Schedule 6 paragraph 3 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out the maximum number of deductions that can be made, and when consent is or isn’t required to make a deduction.

Maximum amount of deduction

Schedule 6 paragraph 4 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out the maximum amount that can be deducted from a person’s award.

Priority of debts

Schedule 6 paragraph 5 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out the priority order for deductions where there are limitations on the number of deductions that can be made.

Housing costs

Schedule 6 paragraphs 6 and 7 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out when deductions can be made in respect of rent arrears and service charge debts, the amount that can be deducted, and the earnings level above which deductions may not commence or re-commence, or must cease.

Fuel costs and water charges

Schedule 6 paragraphs 8 and 9 of SI.No.380/2013

Sets out when deductions can be made in respect of debts or continuing costs of fuel costs and water charges, the amount that can be deducted, and the earnings level above which deductions may not commence or re- commence, or must cease.

Fines

Regulations 4 and 7 of SI.No.2182/1992

Sets out when deductions can be made in respect of fines and the amount that can be deducted.

Council tax arrears

Regulations 5 and 8 of SI.No.494/1993

Sets out when deductions can be made in respect of council tax arrears and the amount that can be deducted.

Advances, hardship payments and overpayments

Regulation 11 of SI.No.384/2013

Sets out the maximum amount that can be deducted in respect of advances, hardship payments and overpayments.

In Northern Ireland, SR.No.220/2016 makes provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain. In respect of deductions for fines, SR.No.98/2018 will make equivalent provision but has yet to be updated (see paragraph 3.5 of the Explanatory Memorandum).

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for Decision Making

Chapter D2

Provides further guidance and examples on what deductions can be made and when.

Gov.uk

Universal Credit: debt and deductions that can be taken from payments

Sets out who claimants can talk to about debts/deductions, the priority order for taking deductions, the maximum amount that can be deducted, and when deductions can and can’t be made.

Gov.uk

Benefit overpayment recovery: staff guide

​Guide for DWP staff which explains how overpayments of benefits administered by the DWP are recovered, including advances of benefits and hardship payments.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Deductions

Sets out the maximum rates of deductions that can be taken in total and in respect of individual deductions. Also provides guidance on what happens when sanctions, penalties or advances are being applied or deducted at the same time.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

​Deductions priority order

​Sets out the priority order for making deductions, and which deductions are taken before the priority order is applied.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

We’re not aware of any case law relating to this issue.