Local council mistake leaves debtors on benefits out of pocket

Euro coins
Euro coins
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Up to 15,000 welfare benefit claimants who are also repaying debts have been left with too little to live on thanks to local council errors, a document seen by broadcaster NOS has shown.

Around 200 local councils have failed to pass on accurate income figures to debt collection agencies, allowing them to take a bigger share of debtors’ income. In some cases people’s income was cut by €50 a month too much, NOS said.

Debt recovery umbrella organisation KBvG and the Dutch local council association VNG said the mistake came to light because a new way of calculating the amount debtors pay was introduced in January.

The mistake has since been rectified and those affected will be reimbursed, the KBvG said in statement although it could not say how many people have been compensated so far.

However, the money that has already been paid to creditors will not be recovered and this means thousands may not get their money back, NOS said.

The social affairs ministry said a solution is being sought for this group. ‘We are now being confronted with a mistake which is not of our making,’ Paul Otter of the KVvG told the broadcaster. ‘We are not going to ask all our clients for the money back. If people request it we will do so in individual cases.’

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