Alberta.ca » Income and Employment Supports Policy Manual


Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: July 18, 2014
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Service Management: Learner Income Support

Overpayments and Debts

AUTHORITY

Income and Employment Supports Act, Section 16(1)
Income and Employment Supports Act, Part 6
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 99
Recovery Regulation, Section 1(1)

INTENT

To minimize the creation of Government of Alberta debts.

To ensure clients receive all the benefits for which they are eligible under the program.

To recover benefits which clients are not entitled, or benefits which are subject to repayment.

To maximize the collection of debt within existing legislation, without creating undue hardship for current and previous clients:

  • Government of Alberta collection must be professional, efficient and fair
  • Debts are collected as quickly as possible with the least administrative costs. The cost of recovering a debt should not exceed the amount of the debt.


POLICY

An overpayment (liability case) refers to the amount assessed to be repaid to the department. A manual liability case (overpayment) refers to situations where the client signs a repayment agreement, whereas an automated liability case (overpayment) refers to all other amounts assessed to be repaid. An overpayment (liability case) must:

  • Not exceed the financial benefits issued for that period
  • Not include medical benefits, unless the learner is not eligible for any benefits.


Learners must be informed in writing about the reason for their overpayment and their right to appeal within 30 days of being notified, with an additional 10 days to account for mailing time periods.

A debt is money owing to the Government of Alberta and occurs when a learner:

  • Has not appealed an overpayment and the appeal period has elapsed;
  • Has appealed an overpayment and the Income and Employment Supports Appeal Panel has upheld or varied the Government of Alberta's decision;
  • Has appealed the overpayment and the appeal panel has determined the appeal as abandoned by the learner;
  • Agrees to repay an amount through a repayment agreement;
  • Is issued a supplementary benefit on a repayment basis, or
  • Is convicted of fraud.


Calculating an Overpayment

Based on a reassessment(s), if the difference between what the Learner received and what they are eligible for is $500 or greater, for the reassessed time period, an overpayment is automatically calculated by Mobius and the learner is notified. The overpayment amount must total $500 or greater within an application period (normally 12 months).

Health Benefits are not included in the calculation of learner overpayment. The amount of the overpayment cannot exceed the amount issued to the learner.

If fraud is suspected, an overpayment must not be assessed or discussed with the learner until LISO has completed their investigation.

Overpayments will not be calculated for a period older than three years, or from before April 1, 2004 whichever is first, with the exception of fraud convictions resulting in a judgment or restitution order.

Once a learner has exhausted their right to appeal, an overpayment becomes a debt and is recoverable.

PROCEDURE

See procedure under Recovery of Debts.

APPROVAL

Learner Benefit Coordinator, LISO