Coronavirus (COVID-19): Changes to Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA)
The Department for Communities is writing to employers to ask them to temporarily stop benefit debt repayments. You should not make any further Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA) deductions to your employees’ salary until after the end of June 2020. You will be notified if this is to be extended.
Please note this has no impact on Direct Earnings Orders (DEO) in respect of deductions for Child Maintenance.
The Department for Communities (DfC) requires that a supporting payment schedule for Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) be completed and issued in order to ensure that the correct payment is allocated to the correct debtor account.
DfC Debt Management has introduced an email route to receive payment schedules from employers, this is the preferred way for payment schedules to be sent.
For data security reasons the data required for the email payment schedule is slightly different to that on the paper schedule. By restricting the data recorded on the email payment schedule DfC Debt Management will still have enough information to correctly allocate payments to our customer records, whilst minimising the risk of personal data being fraudulently used should the email fall into the hands of a third party. Schedules do not need to be encrypted before emailing.
The postal route for sending payment schedules remains in place and a schedule template for use when forwarding schedules is available at appendix 2 of the DEA: a guide for employers (DOC, 767K).