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Bureaux where appropriate and people advised to seek help from debt advisors if needed.

A financial statement will usually be requested if a large overpayment of Council Tax benefit is posted back onto a customer’s Council Tax account, unless they are able to clear the debt in full or clear the debt by the end of the financial year.

Bailiffs

Referral to external bailiffs (Council Tax)

When selecting accounts to be sent to an outside bailiff company accounts will not be sent where:

1.

There is a liability query that is unresolved.

2.

The customer is in receipt of Income Support/Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based).

3.

The balance is less than £49.00.

In the case of people in the following vulnerable groups:-

a)

Is over 70 years of age.

b)

Appears to be physically or mentally ill, severely disabled or suffering mental confusion.

c)

Has young children and severe social deprivation is evident.

d)

Is heavily pregnant.

e)

Is in mourning due to recent bereavement.

f)

Is having difficulty communicating due to profound deafness, blindness or language difficulties.

g)

Is in receipt of state benefits and/or on a low income and severe social depravation is evident.

h)

Is consulting his or her local councillor or Member of Parliament.

i)

Long term sickness or serious illness including the terminally ill.

Where regular correspondence has been sent to the customer and no significant payments are being made, then the account may then be passed to an outside bailiff company.  In the case of people in the above listed vulnerable groups, a ‘last chance’ letter will be sent before sending the account to an outside bailiff company.  This letter will include details of Stockport Advice services that the customer can contact for advice.

The debtor will be given fourteen days notice of a potential bailiff visit in the form of a bailiff warning letter.

If an account has been sent to a bailiff company and it comes to light that the debtor is in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based), a hold will be put on the account whilst a claim for Council Tax benefit is made and processed.  If the debtor is then entitled to full Council Tax Benefit the account will be called back from the bailiff company and an attachment of benefit order issued.

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