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HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Overpayments and recoveries: Offsetting prior payments of Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance against arrears payable by virtue of a subsequent determination

Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance (Administration) Regulations 2003, Reg 38

Social Security Administration Act section 71 & Social Security Administration Act (Northern Ireland) section 69

Providing it has not been determined a recoverable overpayment under s.71AA or S69 NI AA, any Child Benefit paid for a period covered by a subsequent determination shall be offset against any arrears payable by virtue of that determination, likewise any GA where

  • an award is revised, superseded or overturned on appeal

or

  • a sum is paid for a period by way of a dependant increase and it is subsequently determined that
  • the dependant person is entitled to ChB or GA for that period

or

  • a 3rd person is entitled to the increase for that period in priority to the person who has been paid.

Note:

Where

  • child benefit has been awarded; and
  • payment of child benefit under that award is then suspended whilst a possible overpayment is investigated; and
  • a decision is then given that the claimant has been overpaid for a period that includes only part of the period of suspension

The arrears due for the remaining period(s) of suspension are not arrears due for ‘a period covered by a subsequent determination’. Rather, they are arrears due by virtue of a decision to suspend payment of child benefit payable under the original award. As such, the arrears cannot be offset in the calculation of the overpayment and should be paid: Brown v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2006] EWCA Civ 89 (R(DLA)2/07).

ChB treated as properly paid

Where ChB has been paid under an award is subsequently awarded to another person, for any week, the decision maker should treat it as properly paid if

  • it was received by a person other than the person to whom it was originally awarded who
  • lived with the child, or qualifying young person or
  • was contributing to the cost of providing for the child or qualifying young person at a rate not less than the weekly rate of ChB

and

  • that person could have been entitled to child benefit had a claim been made.

Any amount treated as properly paid to the initial claimant will be deducted from the amount payable to the second claimant under the subsequent award.