Benefit debt deductions from your pay

As part of the Welfare Changes in Northern Ireland the Department for Communities may now ask your employer to deduct from your pay benefit overpayments, including Social Fund loans, that you owe. This is called a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA).

How a Direct Earnings Attachment works

In cases where the Department for Communities (DfC) Debt Management has been unable to agree a repayment plan directly with you, the department will write to your employer to let them know they need to make DEA deductions.

Your employer will then:

  • work out how much to deduct from your pay
  • check if you have other debt orders to pay and if they take priority over a DEA
  • tell you that money will be deducted from your pay
  • take the money from your pay and pay it to DfC
  • continue to make deductions and payments to DfC until the debt is repaid 

How much will be deducted

There are two deduction rates – Standard Rate and Higher Rate.

Your employer will tell you which rate will apply when you are contacted about the DEA.  The rate applied may change throughout the life of the DEA, from Standard to Higher and vice versa.

The deduction will be calculated based on your net earnings after tax, National Insurance and workplace pension contributions. 

A percentage will then be deducted from your earnings based on the tables below. 

Standard Rate

Employee’s daily net earnings Employee’s weekly net earnings Employee’s monthly net earnings Deduction rate to apply (percentage of net earnings)
£15 or less

£100 or less

£430 or less Nothing to deduct
£15.01 - £23 £100.01 - £160 £430.01 - £690 3%
£23.01 - £32

£160.01 - £220

£690.01 - £950 5%
£32.01 - £39

£220.01 - £270

£950.01 - £1,160 7%
£39.01 - £54

£270.01 - £375

£1,160.01 - £1,615 11%
£54.01 - £75

£375.01 - £520

£1,615.01 - £2,240 15%
£75.01 or more

 £520.01 or more

£2,240.01 or more 20%

The maximum amount which can be deducted by a DEA at Standard Rate is 20 per cent of the net earnings.

Higher Rate

 

Employee’s daily net earnings

Employee’s weekly net earnings Employee’s monthly net earnings Deduction rate to apply (percentage of net earnings)

£15 or less

£100 or less  £430 or less 5%
£15.01 - £23 £100.01 - £160 £430.01 - £690 6%
£23.01 - £32  £160.01 - £220  £690.01 -  £950 10%
£32.01 - £39  £220.01 - £270 £950.01 - £1,160 14%
£39.01 - £54  £270.01 -£375  £1,160.01 - £1,615 22%
£54.01 - £75  £375.01 - £520  £1,615.01 - £2,240 30%
£75.01 or more £520.01  or more £2,240.01 or more 40%

The maximum amount which can be deducted by a DEA at Higher Rate is 40 per cent of the net earnings.

If you think your employer may be asked to start deductions from your pay and you want to make a repayment arrangement without involving your employer, phone Debt Management or look at the 'How to make a payment' section on the following nidirect page:

 

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