Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
FOI Reference: FOI/202300382352
Date received: 25 October 2023
Date responded: 17 November 2023
REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002 (FOISA)
Request for information 1: The percentage of recipients of SSS benefits with deductions applied to their claim.
Request for information 2: The average rate of deductions to SSS benefits.
Request for information 3: The breakout of reasons for these deductions (i.e. repayment of advance payments, overpayments caused by the claimant's mistake, overpayments caused by the administrative mistake, third-party deductions, etc.).
Any statistics relating to how deductions are applied for Scottish Benefits would be much appreciated.
Response to your request:
For all current repayment plans from ongoing awards, clients had received an overpayment of a benefit administered by Social Security Scotland and have voluntarily requested their ongoing award be reduced as their preferred method of repayment.
Request for Information 1 and 3:
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Social Security Scotland does not have the information you have requested. At this time we do not hold an aggregated number of cases across all benefits. As such, we do not hold, as a percentage, the number of recipients of benefits who have requested that deductions are made.
There are currently a total of 35 cases where a deduction from benefit is the clients preferred repayment method. These are all as a result of overpayment. In 23 cases the initial error was caused by client error and in 12 cases the overpayment occurred due to a change of circumstances meaning that the client is liable to repay the amount.
Further information relating to each benefit can be found at our official statistics page:
Request for Information 2:
The average amount of these voluntary repayments is £36.29 every 4 weeks. The amount has been mutually agreed with the clients after undertaking an affordability assessment and is based on the individual circumstances of the client.
I have included links below to our Debt Management and Error Control Strategies which you may find helpful.
Social Security Scotland - Debt Management Strategy
Social Security Scotland - Error Control Strategy
Social Security Scotland is committed to publishing responses to requests. The Scottish Government also publishes responses to requests. You can view the responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.