6.1.14 There are certain circumstances where you may recover a debt from an award when a member is leaving early. The Treasury’s document, “Managing Public Money,” (www.gov.uk/government/publications/managing-public-money) explains how and when to recover overpayments. The debt you propose to set off must be legally recoverable, and you may wish to check this with your legal adviser before taking any action. You must explore all other routes to recover the debt before approaching the Scheme Manager (Cabinet Office).

6.1.15 You must consult the Scheme Manager at an early stage. They will give you written authority if they think it is appropriate for you to recover the debt from the member’s award. You will then need to liaise closely with the Scheme Administrator to ensure the correct action is taken.

6.1.16 The Scheme Manager will only give authority to you to exercise set off of a debt where you send them an application accompanied by either:

  • an acknowledgement, signed and dated by the employee of the existence and exact amount of the debt (that is, the amount to be set off against a CSP or CSCS benefit); or
  • a copy of an enforceable order of a County Court or other appropriate court, or in consequence of an award of an arbitrator or, in Scotland, an arbiter to be appointed (failing agreement between the parties) by the sheriff.

6.1.17 You must take care to ensure that any acknowledgement of the debt by the debtor does not constitute a charge or assignment of benefit, which is unlawful under section 5(1) of the Superannuation Act 1972. This states: ‘(1) Any assignment (or, in Scotland, assignation) of or charge on, and any agreement to assign or charge, any benefit payable under a scheme made under section 1 of this Act will be void’.

6.1.18 This also applies where you seek to set off an overpayment of CSCS benefits while an appeal against refusal to grant ill health retirement is in progress (see ‘Paying CSCS benefits while an appeal against refusal to grant Ill Health Retirement is in progress’ (paragraph 6.3.8 to 6.3.11) for details).

Published:
4 January 2022
Last updated:
27 January 2022