SOCIAL ASSISTANCE
AND
RELATED PROGRAMS

("SARP")

1994

(Archive copy for historical purposes only)

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ADMINISTRATION

Overpayments and Recovery of Assistance

Newfoundland

When assistance is paid by reason of non-disclosure of facts, misrepresentation, fraud, etc., the amount of social assistance paid is a debt due by the recipient (or by his estate if he is deceased) as of the date of such payment. Act 23

If it is not possible to recover the whole or any part of social assistance obtained by the above means, an officer of the Department may suspend the payment of social assistance granted to that person in whole or in part until the aggregate amount of the suspended payments equals the amount improperly paid, less any amount which has been recovered. Regulation 26

The recovery rate will be 5% of the requirements for regular assistance (see section 5.2.10(a)) or board and lodging. Policy 132.01

If a Computer Pay client has an overpayment on a Manual Pay account, it is transferred to Computer Pay. Editorial Comment

In cases where a social assistance recipient experiences difficulty in establishing his date of birth for Old Age Security eligibility and social assistance is continued to avoid hardship, the person must agree in writing to reimburse any social assistance granted during the period covered by any subsequent retroactive Old Age Security lump sum (OAS may be paid retroactively for up to one year). If the OAS entitlement merely reduces the social assistance entitlement (rather than disqualifying the pensioner from receiving social assistance), the OAS overpayment is recovered from subsequent social assistance payments. Policy 122.01

In other cases there may be a reason for not making a recovery, such as the death of the husband and remarriage of his widow, or marriage of a couple in a common law relationship, where a man is not responsible for debts contracted by his wife prior to their marriage. In such cases, it may be in order to have the overpayment written off as uncollectible and recommendation to this effect should be made to the Director of Social Assistance. Policy 132.01

Where an investigation reveals that the circumstances of the family are such that assistance must be provided even if there is no entitlement, recovery of the assistance granted will not be undertaken. Policy 132(f)


Prince Edward Island

The Director may recover from any person any sum improperly paid to him, or paid on his behalf, under the Act as a result of misrepresentations or non-disclosure of facts which make necessary an adjustment to his allowance. The Director may reduce or suspend the payment of assistance granted to that person in whole or in part, until the aggregate amount of the suspended payments equals the amount improperly paid, less any amount which has been recovered, or may be recovered by such other means as the Director considers appropriate. Regulation 25(4)

Overpayment recoveries from persons with continuing eligibility may be negotiated as follows:

i) repayment in a lump sum;

ii) a minimum deduction from the monthly cheque of 5% of the overpayment (a lower rate may be approved by the Director to prevent extreme hardship);

iii) termination of assistance until the recipient has expended an amount equivalent to the overpayment, considering both basic and special need expenses; or

iv) some combination of the above. Policy 7(13-7-2)

Where a beneficiary has squandered any part of his welfare assistance, thus incurring accumulated arrears, and where negotiations between the beneficiary and his creditor(s) concerning repayment have not proven successful, an amount may be granted to cover such arrears; any amount advanced is recoverable from the client's welfare assistance entitlement within six months or before the anticipated date of termination of benefits, whichever occurs first. Policy 7(13-7-1)

Where initial recovery attempts have proven futile, further recovery action may be waived in the following situations:

a) overpayments resulting from staff error (provided that the client could not reasonably be expected to recognize that an overpayment had occurred and he/she cannot repay the overpayment without using assistance granted for basic and special needs);

b) overpayments of $100 or less (where the client is no longer in pay and recovery would cost more than it is worth);

c) overpayments to persons who are (or are about to become) residents of specified homes and manors and whose only income is OAS/GIS;

d) overpayments resulting from an unreported increase in the client's income due to indexing of federal benefits (OAS/GIS, CPP, DVA, etc). Policy 7(13-7-2)

Where a person has obtained assistance by means of failure to disclose information, misrepresentation or fraud, the Minister may recover from the recipient or his estate, as a debt due the Crown, all or such part of the assistance as was obtained thereby. Act 2(4) (see "Offenses and Penalties", section 7.9)

Nova Scotia - Provincial

The administrator may recover from a recipient, or out of the estate of a deceased recipient, as a debt due by the recipient to the province, any sum improperly paid by way of family benefits whether as a result of non-disclosure of fact, misrepresentation, or any other cause, and may deduct from any sum payable by way of family benefits an amount sufficient to repay the sum. Act 12

Where the Minister determines that the recovery from a person (or out of the estate of a deceased person) of any assistance improperly granted would cause undue hardship to that person or his family, he may direct that such assistance be deemed to have been properly granted or paid to the person. Act 15

Where a recipient receives wages or unearned income after the date of payment of (FBA) benefits but which wages or unearned income are paid for a month in which a payment of (FBA) benefits was made, the Director shall recalculate the benefits for the month as if the recipient were in receipt of the wages or the unearned income in that month; where benefits would have been lower, the difference between what was actually paid to the recipient and the recalculated payment is a sum which was improperly paid and which is recoverable from the recipient. Regulation 44(12) - added 02-92

When an overpayment is due to untimely or inaccurate processing of information which was properly submitted by the client, it may be waived as an administrative error.

Under normal circumstances, the following rules shall apply to overpayment recoveries:

1.the maximum recovery period shall not exceed 60 months or the expected duration of eligibility;

2.recovery of the overpayment shall not exceed the following rates:

Overpayment

Monthly Recovery

Under $ 100

$ 100 - $ 299

$ 300 - $ 399

$ 400 - $ 799

$ 800 - $1,199

$1,200 - $1,599

$1,600 - $1,999

$2,000 - $2,500

over $2,500

$ 10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

divide amount by 60


3.persons who have an outstanding overpayment when they cease to receive Family Benefits will receive a letter from the Supervisor requesting them to make arrangements for a recovery plan with the closest office of the department. Policy 05-07-12, 13, 14


Nova Scotia - Municipal

The provincial Social Assistance Act (see section 7.1) authorizes a municipal social services committee to recover from a person or his estate the expenses so incurred a debt due to the Municipal unit; however, no amount may be recovered by means of the conveyance, sale, mortgage or encumbering in any way of that person's residence. Soc. Assist. Act 29, 29A (eff. 05-88)

Every reasonable attempt will be made to recover monies issued in excess of the allowable budgeted need, including lump sum reimbursement by the client or reasonable reductions in subsequent social assistance entitlement. Halifax Policy 1.3.1

Where the overpayment results from the client's failure to report changes in his/her financial or social situation, recovery of the overpayment will be at a rate not to exceed 10% of budgeted need, with a monthly minimum of $15 per case.

Overpayments due to worker error may be waived where financial hardship would occur otherwise.

New Brunswick

Where a person has received assistance under the Social Welfare Act to which he is not entitled, the value thereof may be recovered by the Minister:

a) from the person by deduction from subsequent payments to that person under the Act;

b) from the person or his estate (in case of death):

- as a debt due to Her Majesty in right of the Province; or

- in accordance with a restitution agreement with that person for the recovery of the value thereof, in whole or in part. Act 10

In cases of default in payment of debts due to the Province as recovery of assistance for which there was no entitlement, the Minister may file a certificate in the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick for the amount due plus interest, if any, and all reasonable costs attendant upon the filing, entering and recording of the certificate. Act 10.1

Quebec

The following amounts shall be reimbursed to the Minister:

1. any amount of benefits a person or, as the case may be, his family has unduly received, except where it has been paid by reason of an administrative error that the person could not reasonably have noticed;

2. as soon as a legal impediment to the alienation of a property ceases, the amount of benefits that would not have been paid to the person or to his family if the property had been considered in computing the amount of the benefits;

3. the amount of benefits granted under this Act when the person or a member of his family has been declared ineligible for allowances or benefits under another Act in force in Quebec or elsewhere for a reason similar to those set out in section 28 or 29 (see section 2.6), up to the amount that would have been payable, but for such a reason, under another Act, and as soon as the ineligibility ceases;

4. the amount of benefits granted under this Act when allowances or benefits granted to the person or to his family under another Act in force in Quebec or elsewhere had been reduced to compensate an overpayment, or as a penalty, up to the amount of the reductions, and as soon as such reductions cease. Act 34

Except for the sums determined by regulation, every person shall reimburse to the Minister the amount of benefits granted following an event giving rise to the exercise, by the person or his dependent child, of a right, through judicial proceedings or by any other means, whether or not the right is a personal right, and whether or not benefits had been granted to the person or his family at the time of the event. The amount of the reimbursement is exigible from the realization and up to the value of the right and is established by applying the rules of computation of resources set out in section 5.2.5 (page 1) of this report. Act 35

The recovery of a sum due is prescribed by three years from the date it becomes exigible. In the event of bad faith, it is prescribed by three years from the date on which the minister became aware of the fact that the sum was exigible, but not later than 15 years after the date it became exigible. Act 36

Spouses shall be severally liable for the reimbursement of benefits unduly paid to their family unless either spouse proves that the ground giving rise to the claim is an act or omission of the other spouse and that he could not reasonably have been aware of it. Spouses shall also be severally liable for the reimbursement of any sum due under paragraphs 2 to 4 of section 34 (see above). The spouse of a person to whom benefits payable to an independent adult or to an adult who is the sole adult of a family have been unduly paid shall be severally liable for the reimbursement of the benefits unless he proves that he could not reasonably have known that his spouse was receiving the benefits or that he did not receive the notice provided for in section 41. Act 37

A sum due under section 35 shall be exigible only from the creditor of the right realized or from the adult having charge of the child who is the creditor thereof. Act 38

Where the claim of a person is a support payment determined by judgment, the Minister is subrogated by operation of law in the rights of the creditor for all payments of support which are due at the time the person or his family becomes eligible for benefits and for all payments which will become due during the period for which the benefits were granted. The Minister may, to exercise such subrogation, require the collector of support payments to intervene as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure (R.S.Q., chapter C-25), whether or not his request is made under oath. The Minister shall give the creditor the amount by which the sums collected exceed the amount recoverable under section 35. Act 39

In the case of a claim under section 35, except support payments determined by judgment, the debtor of a person who has received or is receiving benefits for himself or his family, and every person who may become the debtor of such a person shall remit to the Minister, upon written notice of the latter, the amount due up to the amount recoverable above under the said section. Any amount so remitted is deemed to be a payment validly made to the creditor; if the creditor fails to remit such amount, he shall be required to pay an equivalent amount to the Minister. Act 40

The Minister shall send a formal notice to the debtor of recoverable benefits, indicating therein the amount and the reasons for which the debt is exigible and the debtor's right to apply for a review of such decision. A formal notice under this section interrupts the prescription. Act 41

The debtor is liable for the payment of interest in the cases determined by regulation, at the rate fixed therein. Act 42

Where the debt is not paid in full, the Minister may, at the expiry of the time prescribed to apply for a review or to file an appeal, or, as the case may be, at the expiry of 30 days after a decision of the Commission des affaires sociales confirming all or part of the Minister's decision, issue a certificate setting out the surname, given name and address of the debtor and the amount of the debt. Act 43

After issuing such a certificate, the Minister may effect compensation up to the monthly amount fixed by regulation in respect of any benefits granted to the debtor or, as the case may be, to his family, unless the debtor authorizes the Minister to effect compensation for a greater amount.

The debt may also be compensated out of a reimbursement due to the debtor by the Minister of Revenue in accordance with section 31 of the Act respecting the Ministère du Revenu (R.S.Q., chapter M-31). Act 44

Upon the deposit of a certificate, accompanied with a copy of the final decision establishing the debt, at the office of the competent court, the decision becomes executory as in the case of a final judgment, not subject to appeal, of that court, and has all the effects of such a judgment. Act 45

A debtor who does not receive benefits shall reimburse a recoverable amount by paying to the Minister each month an amount sufficient for the debt to be repaid within no more than 36 months unless the Minister and the debtor agree otherwise under section 42 of the Act. Payments shall not be less than $56 per month. Regulation 119-minimum payment increased 01-93

A recoverable amount owed to the Minister as a result of the realization of a right shall be reimbursed to him in full as soon as the right is realized. Regulation 120

A recoverable amount becomes payable in full where the debtor fails to comply with section 119 or with an agreement made under section 42 of the Act. Regulation 121

For the purposes of the Parental Wage Assistance program (see section 6.3), the Minister may assign to the payment of an amount recoverable an advance payment provided for in the Act to a maximum of 33 1/3% of the advance payment or 100% of that payment where the recoverable amount was fraudulently obtained or received. Regulation 122

The Minister shall effect compensation between a recoverable amount and benefits under a last resort assistance program granted to a debtor or to his family to a maximum of $56 except in the case of:

1.an independent adult living with a foster family, or one who is sheltered in a reception centre or in a hospital centre, or who is required to live in an establishment with a view to his reintegration into society, in which case the maximum shall be $22 or

2.a person who made a statement containing false information or who transmitted a document containing such information so as to render him or his family eligible for a last resort assistance program, or in such a way as to receive or have his family receive benefits greater than those that would have otherwise been granted, in which case the maximum shall be $112. Regulation 123

A recoverable amount shall bear interest from the date on which the Minister may issue the certificate provided for in section 43 of the Act at the rate

fixed by regulation made under section 28 of the Act respecting the Ministère du Revenu (R.S.Q., c. M-31). No interest shall be required of a debtor making the reimbursement agreed upon with the Minister under section 42 of the Act or in respect of which the latter effects the compensation provided for in section 44 of the Act. Regulation 124

A beneficiary shall not be required to reimburse the amount equivalent to the tax that he must pay on the sum received from the realization of a right covered by section 35 of the Act, where the amount of tax is calculated at the time of the realization of the right. The Minister shall reimburse the beneficiary for the amount of the overpayment, upon submission of proof of payment of the tax, where the amount of tax is not calculated at the time of the realization of the right. This section applies where the tax payable on the sum received by the beneficiary operates to reduce it to less than the amount he must repay to the Minister. Regulation 125

Ontario - Provincial

The Director may recover from a recipient any sum paid to him by way of an allowance under the Family Benefits Act or any predecessor Act to which he was not entitled, whether by reason of non-disclosure of facts, misrepresentation or fraud, or for any other cause disentitling him to such an allowance, by reducing or suspending any allowance payable to the recipient or by proceedings to recover such sum as a debt due to the Crown in any court of competent jurisdiction. Act 17

Where a recipient ceases to be eligible for the allowance because of an increase in the value of liquid assets, the amount recoverable as a sum to which he was not entitled shall not exceed the difference between the maximum value of the liquid assets that the recipient and any other beneficiaries owned during the period of ineligibility and the maximum value of the liquid assets permitted under Regulation. Regulation 16(3)

All overpayments not resulting from an administrative error are to be recovered as a general rule. The minimum rate of recovery shall be 5% of the monthly Family Benefits or GAINS-D basic rate (including basic allowance and basic shelter but excluding the shelter variable) except where undue hardship would result; the maximum rate of recovery should not normally exceed 10%. Policy 0503-03

When a case is terminated with an overpayment outstanding, the Income Maintenance Officer will complete a case review sheet (reasons for overpayment, period affected, recommendation concerning collection) to be used to monitor overpayment follow-up activity. The person or household head is informed by letter of the outstanding overpayment and of the Ministry's intent to pass the account to Central Collection Services of the Ministry of Government Services if a payment is not received within 30 days. Subsequently, monthly statements will be mailed to the household to acknowledge any payment made and provide the outstanding balance. Where a household has been terminated with an overpayment and later re-applies for assistance, 5% of the GAINS-D or FBA basic needs is applied to the outstanding overpayment. Policy 0503-03

An overpayment will be considered temporarily uncollectable in the following circumstances:

-client in receipt of GWA or otherwise unable to pay

-client in receipt of Work Incentive (WIN) benefits (Note: residual caseload, very few cases involved)

-client in receipt only of Personal Needs Allowance or Special Boarder Allowance.

An overpayment will be considered permanently uncollectable in the following circumstances:

-administrative error

-client deceased, no estate

-client in receipt of GWA for at least two years and has not acknowledged the debt nor made payments towards the amount of the overpayment

-supporting documentation is no longer available to substantiate the overpayment

-debt is over two years old and client has never been advised of the overpayment

-client's whereabouts unknown. Policy 0503-03

Except for income specifically exempted by regulation, where moneys (either income or capital) are due or may become due to an applicant, recipient or beneficiary, the Director may require as a condition of eligibility that the person agree in writing to reimburse Ontario for all or any part of the benefits paid or to be paid for the period of time to which the moneys apply. The written agreement may include

a)an authorization and direction to the person or agency by whom the money is payable to deduct and pay the money directly to Ontario, and

b)an assignment to Ontario by the applicant, recipient or beneficiary of the right to be paid the money by the person or agency by whom the money is payable.

Where a beneficiary who is not the spouse of the applicant or recipient receives or is to receive the payment of money, the amount of benefit for which Ontario is entitled to be reimbursed under the agreement shall not exceed the proportion of the benefit payable to the applicant or recipient on behalf of the beneficiary. An applicant or recipient is not ineligible for a benefit solely because a person or agency failed to deduct and remit money to Ontario under an authorization and direction or assignment made under this section of the Regulation. Regulation 10; Policy 0503-03

Even in cases of suspected fraud (where the case is expected to be referred to the police for investigation or charges), the client will be informed of the amount of the overpayment and of the intention to recover that amount. Policy 0503-05

Ontario - Municipal

A municipal or regional welfare administrator may recover from a recipient any sum paid to him by way of assistance to which he was not entitled under the General Welfare Assistance Act, or in excess of any amount to which he was so entitled, whether by reason of non-disclosure of facts, misrepresentation or fraud or for any other cause disentitling him to such assistance, by reducing or suspending any assistance payable to the recipient or by proceedings to recover such sum as a debt due to the municipality or to the Crown, as the case may be, in any court of jurisdiction. Act 12

A welfare administrator may require as a condition of eligibility for assistance that an applicant or recipient agree in writing to reimburse the municipality, Indian band or Ontario, as the case may be, for all or part of the assistance advanced during any period to which any amount of non-exempted income applies. Regulation 5

Overpayments made as a result of administrative errors should not be recovered. Overpayments resulting from errors made by recipients (such as failure to report income or misrepresentation of facts) should be recovered. Policy 0203-03

As a rule, the rate of recovery should be approximately 10% of the person's total income from all sources; the welfare administrator may reduce the amount of overpayment recovery to 5% if it is determined that the higher reduction rate would create undue hardship for the client. Policy 0203-03

Where a person ceases to receive assistance, the welfare administrator shall decide whether:

a)to request a lump sum payment;

b)to request monthly instalments on the amounts owed based on the former recipient's ability to pay;

c)to initiate civil action where the former recipient refuses to repay an overpayment. Policy 0203-05

Where a recipient dies, the Municipal Welfare Administrator will decide whether to recover the overpayment from the estate of the deceased or to waive recovery of the overpayment.

No attempt to recover any overpayment should be made where legal action is contemplated in cases involving fraud. Policy 0203-06

Manitoba

If the government or a municipality has paid a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance to or for a person following an error or a misrepresentation made by that person, the amount may be recovered as a debt due to the Crown or the municipality, as the case may be. It may also be recovered from his executors or administrators, his spouse, or the executors or administrators of his spouse and, if the person is an infant, from his parent or guardian or any person legally liable to pay his expenses. Act 20(1)

Where a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance was paid to a person because of the neglect or failure of another person to comply with any law or the order of any court requiring that other person to maintain or to contribute toward the maintenance of the person to or for whom the assistance was provided, the government may recover from that other person or his executors or administrators up to the total amount which he neglected or failed to provide or pay, as a debt due to the Crown or the municipality, as the case may be. Act 20(2)

Where the person identified in the two preceding paragraphs is a recipient of a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance, the Director may authorize the deduction of an amount that would not cause undue hardship to the recipient from each subsequent payment of social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance until the amount of the indebtedness of that person is discharged. Where a person ceases to receive a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance for any reason, any unpaid balance of the debt owed to the Crown or the municipality continues to be debt owed until fully discharged. Act 20(3, 4)

An applicant or recipient and his/her spouse shall, as a condition of eligibility, make all reasonable efforts to obtain the maximum amount of compensation, benefits or contribution to support and maintenance that may be available under another Act or program. Where a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance is paid pending receipt of such monies, the Director may require that the person entitled thereto assign to the Department the right to receive a portion of the funds sufficient to recover any social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance that would not have been paid if the funds had been available. Where the applicant or recipient does not make the reasonable efforts or agree to the assignment described above, the Director may (subject to the Canada Assistance Plan and Regulations) deny, suspend or discontinue assistance, or reduce the assistance to which the person is entitled by an amount equal to the social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance that would not have been paid otherwise. Provincial Regulation 9(2,3,4); Municipal Regulation 12(2,3,4) - eff. 04-93

The Department does not attempt recovery of social allowances paid to recipients for the period from date of enrolment to the time at which assets such as accident claims become available. The Department has no legitimate claim to recover such social allowances because the need for social allowances is established in each case at the time of application and the reason for need is extraneous. Such allowances are properly payable. Policy EO-31-03-02

General conditions under which overpayments may occur are the following:

a)unreported income;

b)unreported change in family unit;

c)unreported duplicate assistance;

d)unreported change in budgetary needs;

e)administrative error. Policy GO-21-01

As of November 1993, the rate of recovery of overpayments for active Social Allowances cases is a monthly flat amount based on family size ($40 for one person, $60 for two persons and $80 for three or more persons. Provincial Contact

Recovery of overpayments may be waived in the following cases:

a)debts outstanding on the file of a deceased recipient;

b)overpayments of $25 or less on files closed for six months or longer;

c)overpayments up to $1000 on closed files (2 years) which are determined to be uncollectible;

d)administrative error (except where the recipient was aware of the overpayment situation and wilfully neglected to advise staff). Policy G0-31-01

Liens

A lien may be registered against the property of a recipient of a social allowance, general assistance or municipal assistance for the recovery of the following:

a)any payments to which a recipient is not entitled;

b)any payments granted when a court order of maintenance is not respected (to be recovered from absent spouse);

c)any principal payments on a mortgage or agreement for sale;

d)payment of arrears in real property taxes; and

e)the cost of major (exceeding $200) repairs to a recipient's residence. Act 21(1)


The Winnipeg Municipal Assistance Policy Manual stipulates that the following needs (when provided) should be set up for recovery:

-security deposits to landlords

-payment of more than one household move per 12 months

-gas, hydro, water and telephone deposits

-duplicate assistance for food, clothing, rent and utilities (where arrears have been paid in extenuating circumstances)

-duplicate assistance for special needs (where special needs funds are misspent)

-any assistance for which there was no entitlement but which was received as a result of false statements.

The standard recovery rate is $25/month for a single person and $30/month for families. Higher rates of recovery may be negotiated with clients who have other (outside) income; lower rates based on individual family circumstances require supervisory approval. Municipal Policy p.40

Saskatchewan

When the need is urgent but temporary and there is an indication that the person in need may or will acquire resources greater than are necessary for his maintenance and livelihood, the unit may enter into an agreement with the person for repayment of monies advanced for assistance. Act 22, 23

Any person who has received assistance from a unit may voluntarily repay the unit for any assistance given. Act 25

Any amount of assistance which is paid to a recipient to which he is not entitled or any payment to a recipient in excess of the amount to which he is entitled, may be recovered from future entitlement, or by other means. Regulation 22(2)

When Saskatchewan Assistance Plan benefits are cancelled and there is an outstanding overpayment, the sum may be recovered from Family Income Plan benefits where the client is eligible for FIP. Policy 12- 2-4

Where a recipient has received an overpayment and subsequently applied for bankruptcy under the federal Bankruptcy Act and has had a discharge of all debts (including the overpayment), the overpayment is considered uncollectible unless it can be proven the debt arose through fraud, false pretences, misrepresentation or breach of trust. Policy 12-2-5

The rate of recovery of an overpayment is calculated against future entitlement of net Saskatchewan Assistance Plan ("SAP") payments, i.e., total basic needs plus continuous special needs minus non-exempt income minus recoveries of any advances.

The standard recovery rate is equal to 60% of any exempted earnings of the household for that month plus the appropriate monthly rate shown below.


Net SAP Payment*

Recovery Amount

$ 0 - $ 250

$ 251 - $ 400

$ 401 - $ 550

$ 551 - $ 700

$ 701 - $ 850

$ 851 - $1,000

$1,001 +

$ 15

25

40

55

70

85

100

* Total of basic needs and continuous special needs minus non-exempt income minus advance recoveries.

A higher recovery rate may be used if requested by the client. A lower rate or a deferral may be considered for those clients:

-who receive room and board payments

-who receive level-of-care payments (institutional cases)

-whose overpayment was the result of departmental error

-whose overpayment was the result of an income/utility adjustment based on previously declared information

-whose overpayment is being appealed

-for 12 months following a decision by an appeal committee/Board or sooner if the client's circumstances change.

Subject to income calculation policies (see section 3), where a recipient receives or is entitled to receive payments from any person, including any department or agency of the government of Canada or the government of any province or territory of Canada, with respect to any period during which the recipient was in receipt of assistance, the unit administrator may require that the recipient assign to the minister all of the recipient's rights to the payments that relate to the period during which the recipient also received assistance. The total amount recovered by the minister under an assignment pursuant to the above shall not exceed the total amount of the assistance paid to the recipient with respect to the same period. The above provision does not apply to a payment that was taken into account in estimating need and calculating income of the recipient with respect to the same period. Regulation 6.2 (1,2,3)

Alberta

Every person who:

a)in the opinion of the Director, uses a social allowance for purposes other than those for which it has been granted; or

b)due to non-disclosure of a material fact, false representation, error or any other reason, receives a social allowance to which he is not entitled; or

c)causes the forfeiture of a damage deposit to a landlord or former landlord;

may be required to repay the amount as an overpayment. Act 17(1)

Where fraud has been eliminated as the reason for overpayment, recovery must take place by arbitrary deduction from monthly benefits if the client's debt has accumulated at a rate of less than $1000 per month. Policy

The caseworker must determine the recovery rate based on the client's circumstances and departmental standards. The minimum rate of recovery is the amount of the personal allowance (see section 5.2.9), but a higher rate may be negotiated when it is possible and desirable to do so; where the budget deficit is less than the minimum rate of recovery, the rate of recovery is an amount that will leave the recipient $1.00 in assistance. Policy

The Departmental Recoveries Unit reviews every file which is closed for more than 180 days where the debt owed by the client is $500 or more and there has been no recovery activity for 180 days; a Debtor's Summary is then forwarded to Crown Debt Collections for collection. Where the total debt is less than $500 and the file has been closed for two years with no recovery activity having taken place during that period, the debt is "written off" (the client is not actively pursued for the recovery but the debt still remains. Policy 05-06-01 (p.5), 05-06-03

If a client who is a property owner is in arrears on a recovery agreement or order, the agreement or order must be registered with the Land Titles office if the payment is more than 90 days in arrears. Policy 05-06-01 p.5

Recoveries from active files (i.e., clients still in receipt of assistance) are effected by means of automatic deductions from clients' benefits at the minimum monthly rate of $21 for single persons and single parent families or $42 for any household with two adults. A higher rate of recovery can be used at the client's request or with the client's agreement. In all cases, a recovery deduction must not reduce the client's entitlement to less than $1.00 (this might occur where a client is entitled to a very small monthly benefit because of non-exempted income from some other source). Policy 05-06-02 p. 1-2

A caveat must be registered with the Land Titles office against a client's property when required by policy. The claim is calculated as (i) the amount by which principal on the client's mortgage was reduced while the client was in receipt of assistance, plus (ii) the full amount of assistance provided for home repairs and improvements. Recovery takes place when the property is sold or when alternate recovery methods are agreed upon. Policy 05-06-04

British Columbia

Where an individual has received income assistance or social services to which he is not entitled due to non-disclosure of facts, false representation, error, or any other cause, the amount so received or the cost of the social services may be recovered from that individual in court as a debt due to the Crown, or may be deducted from subsequent payments of income assistance. Act 21

Since April 1989, there are only two methods by which a benefit may be recovered - by assignment of future benefits or by a repayment agreement. Policy 3.30

i)Assignments: Where a recipient will be receiving future benefits from the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Workers' Compensation Board or Human Resources Development Canada, an assignment form is to be completed prior to hardship assistance (see section 5.2.10 note "l") being issued. This assignment procedure is intended to insure repayment to the Ministry of Social Services of any duplicate benefits which have been issued by both agencies to a client.

ii)Repayment agreements: A repayment agreement signed by a client acknowledges an overpayment or a recoverable payment and the client's intention to repay income assistance benefits issued by the Ministry. The repayment agreement is required where:

-a person in receipt of income assistance is subsequently found to have been ineligible due to non-disclosure of information, false representation or error;

-a recipient has lost cash or an endorsed GAIN cheque and a replacement cheque is being issued; or

-a recipient is awaiting Old Age Security or Canada Pension Plan benefits.

Where a repayment agreement has been signed and the method of recovery is deduction from future benefits, staff shall ensure that the deduction does not cause the client hardship; where it does, the amount of the monthly deduction may be reduced or the repayment deferred (for up to six months).

Where an overpayment is caused by office error, staff shall negotiate methods of recovery with the client; the Area Manager's prior approval is necessary whenever reduction of future benefits is considered. Where the client has spent the overpayment on approved essentials and would suffer hardship if future benefits were reduced, the Area Manager may decide to waive recovery.

Since March 1994, security deposits under the Residential Tenancy Act (see section 5.3.10"a") are an assignable benefit, i.e., such deposits are recoverable by the Ministry of Social Services. Policy 3.30.7

Yukon

The Director may recover, from a recipient or the estate of a recipient, the amount of any payment of assistance in excess of that authorized by the Social Assistance Act and Regulations or to which the person was not entitled but which was granted to him because of his deliberate concealment of or failure to disclose income or assets or other change in family circumstances. Act 14; Regulation 25

Agreements to repay should be discussed with the recipient in the following circumstances:

i)when the recipient is expecting income from the sale of assets, bequests, rebates, retroactive benefits, etc.;

ii)when assistance requested is short-term, i.e., the recipient is expecting income within the next thirty days;

iii)specific circumstances, e.g., special needs such as work clothing or other single-issue items;

iv)when the recipient is anticipating income, e.g., commencing or resuming employment.

Agreements to repay are only taken when it appears that the applicant will have a reasonable ability to repay. Policy 8/9/2

Any person who has received assistance may voluntarily repay such assistance. Regulation 26

Northwest Territories

The Director may recover from a recipient or the estate of a recipient, the amount of assistance in excess of that authorized by the Act, the Regulations or any other regulation made thereunder, or to which the recipient was not entitled but which was granted to him because of his failure to disclose income or assets. Act 14; Regulation 22

Any person who has received assistance may repay such assistance and the money so received is deposited in the Northwest Territories Consolidated Revenue Fund. Regulation-23

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