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GWYNEDD CRITICISED OVER BENEFIT OVERPAYMENTS

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Gwynedd CC may be powerless to claim back hundreds of thousands of pounds it has overpaid to housing benefit claima...
Gwynedd CC may be powerless to claim back hundreds of thousands of pounds it has overpaid to housing benefit claimants due to a computer system which is unable to provide the evidence needed by the courts to retrieve the money, reports to The Daily Post (p14).

The council, which has now taken steps to upgrade the computer system, has engaged two debt collection agencies in a bid to recover some of the£707,697 overpayments made before December 1999.

A report by the district auditor is highly critical of the council for allowing the high level of debt and the deficiency in the system which prevents legal action being taken to recover the money.

The report suggest overpayment of housing benefit arose for various reasons, including errors on behalf of the claimants, the council, the DSS as well as fraud.

The auditor's report makes nine recommendations to be implemented with urgency, which will be discussed at an audit committee meeting tomorrow.
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