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08 AUG 2011

BENEFITS: KW v Lancaster City Council and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2011] UKUT 266 (AAC)

(Upper Tribunal; Nicholas Wikeley; 4 July 2011)

The mother was paid both housing benefit and council tax benefit on the basis that she was not receiving child support. She was not receiving child support at the time, however, the Child Support Agency eventually got a substantial lump sum from the father by way of arrears (£34,408.64), covering the relevant period. A large part of the arrears (£23,779.75) was paid directly to the mother. The local authority then sought to recover the relevant benefit payments (over £17,000) as overpayments.

Held that as a matter of principle the local authority could recover the overpayment of benefits in such circumstances.