Attachment of Benefits or Deduction of Benefits

What is an attachment of benefits and how do they work?

There are 2 types of attachment of your income that can be requested to deduct:

  • Attachment of benefits
  • Attachment of earnings

 The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can deduct money from your benefits and pay it to a creditor or supplier for outstanding debts such as:

  • Council Tax arrears
  • Fuel costs arrears
  • Rent and service charge arrears
  • Gas and Electricity arrears (Fuel Direct Scheme)
  • Water bill payment and arrears (Water Direct Scheme)
  • Court fines

After an order in granted deductions can be taken from as an attachment of benefits from benefit income such as:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Pension Credit Guaranteed Credit (PCGC)
  • Universal Credit (UC)

The attachment of benefit can only happen if the person whose name appears on the bill is in receipt of one of the above benefits.

The Department for Work and Pensions will pay the deduction over to the council monthly until the debt is cleared.

If you’ve had a benefit overpayment:

You’ll can get an attachment of benefits which means you could get less in your benefits payment each month until you pay it back. In most cases, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will reduce your payment by between 15% and 25% of your ‘standard allowance’ – this is the basic amount you get, not including extra amounts called ‘elements’.

If you don’t have enough to live on:

You can ask for a reduced attachment of benefits with your Universal Credit if it being reduced means you don’t have enough money to live on. You might have Universal Credit attachment of benefit for:

  • a benefit debt
  • a Social Fund loan
  • rent arrears

You’ll need to show the DWP that you don’t have enough to live on – this is called financial hardship. You’ll need to give them a financial statement showing your income and what you spend your money on. You’ll also need to show you can’t meet your basic living costs with the current rate of deduction. You can send this information through your online journal or in a letter if you don’t have an online account & this can sometimes reduce the attachment of benefits.

If you think your attachment of benefits is wrong:

You should call the Universal Credit helpline or ask for a reason or by using your online account if you have one.

You should do this if:

  • your payment is less than you expected, and you haven’t been told why
  • you think there’s been a mistake with how your Universal Credit has been worked out

Provide any evidence you have:

It’s a good idea to give them some evidence of the mistake if you can to try and stop the attachment of benefits. You’ll need to do this through your online account if you have one, or by letter. Evidence could be, for example:

  • your tenancy agreement – if you think your housing costs are wrong
  • payslips or bank statements – if there’s been an error in your earnings (ask your employer for payslips if you don’t have them)
  • childcare bills – if they have your childcare costs wrong

If you still disagree with the attachment of benefits

If the DWP give you an explanation and you still disagree with the decision, you can challenge it – this is known as a mandatory reconsideration.

Can a debt solution stop an attachment of benefit?

Yes, if you owe enough debt, qualify and you decide to enter an insolvency solution such as a Debt Relief Order (DRO) or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) your debts can be included, and you will begin to receive your full benefit award.

You can check to see if you qualify of a debt solution by speaking with a Personal Finance Manager by applying online.

We assess your individual circumstances based and will make an assessment for all available debt advice solutions. Please find below a list of debt solutions we will assess for:

If you have used our online application form, we will contact you to run through your income and outgoings and then discuss all your options so you can make an informed choice. At Debt Support Direct we offer all statutory debt solutions in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland so you can choose the debt solution tailored to you and your circumstances.

If you have an attachment of benefits and you have then chosen the debt solution that you feel is the most appropriate there will be some paperwork to fill in to put the debt solution programme in place.

Our debt advice is free, non-judgemental, and friendly so if you are struggling with debt, speak to one of our experienced debt experts for a confidential chat on 0161 549 9848.

Take the first step to dealing with your debt today.

Important Information – Attachment of Benefits / Deduction of Benefits

All debt solutions should be very carefully considered. Fees will be charged if a solution is taken for us to set up your plan and maintain it – all fees will be outlined during your consultation. For further information on fees, please see the FAQ section of the different solutions available. Retained payment may place you further into arrears. You have the right to a cooling off period of 14 days. It is likely that your ability to obtain further credit in the short term will be affected and this may also be the case over the medium to long term. Calls to our free phone number from mobile phones and other networks may be charged.

Debt Support Direct is regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. This means we can offer debt advice and deliver both formal and informal solutions. All debt solutions need to be carefully considered and you must take independent debt advice.

There are sources of free debt advice and services. You can find out more by contacting the Money Advice Service on 0800 138 7777 or by visiting their website.



Free and impartial money advice is available from the Money Helper, an organisation set up by the Goverment for people in debt.