Housing Benefit overpayment Direct Earnings Attachments

What is a Direct Earnings Attachment?

Someone who works for you as been overpaid Housing Benefit. A Direct Earnings Attachment allows us to ask you to make deductions from their wages to pay this debt, providing certain conditions are met.

The amount of the deductions depends on how much your employee earns, and is a percentage of their net earnings. They also depend on whether if you are already making deductions from your employee's wags for other debts. Full details can be found in the factsheet at the bottom of this page.

If your employee has an enquiry about the attachment please tell them to contact Bury Council. You do not have any discretion to refuse to pay deductions at the request of your employee. They will have been sent copies of the documents you have received.

If you willingly refuse to enforce an order, we can summons you to court and you could receive a fine.

What you need to do

  • return the slip on the order we have sent you to confirm that you are in a position to make payments, using prepaid envelope provided
  • work out what the deductions will be, using the factsheet at the bottom of this page
  • start making the deductions as soon as possible after receiving the order
  • make the payments to us by the 19th day of the month following when you paid your employee - please see the order or the factsheet below for payment methods
  • send us a payment schedule to confirm the payments you are making
  • tell the employee that the deductions are being made - we will have already written to them to let them know this will be happening

Contact us to let us know if the person:

  • is not employed by you
  • stops being employed by you

We will let you know:

  • when the debt is cleared and you can stop making deductions
  • if the amount your employee owes changes, possibly because they have made additional payments direct to us
  • if your employee has made an arrangement with us to reduce their payments due to financial hardship


Direct Earnings Attachment orders are made under the Social Security (Overpayment and Recovery) Regulations 2013. They allow local councils to ask an employer to deduct money from a person's wages in situations where other methods of recovery have proved to be unsuccessful. A full set of these regulations can be found on the legislation.gov web site.

Contact for Benefits Service Overpayments