Employers may be asked to deduct money form an employee’s wages that they owe the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)...

This is known as a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA).


There are two guidance booklets published by the DWP, both of which were updated on 03 January 2018 with new contact numbers and with an E-Mail address field added to the payments schedule:

The Guide for Employers

This guide explains what employers need to do if asked to implement a DEA from DWP Debt Management.  For example, it advises:

  • The legal responsibilities
  • How to operate a DEA and
  • How to make payments to DWP Debt Management

A More Detailed Guide

This guide contains more detailed guidance and advice for employers and software developers, including worked examples on how a DWP DEA should be operated.

The DWP is very clear that both guides are intended to help employers understand the main points about DEAs and are not a full description or statement of the legislation surrounding them.


Local Authorities also have the power to issue DEAs for overpaid Housing Benefit.  The above revised guidance booklets only relate to DEAs that have been issued by the DWP.  Whilst the DEAs may operate in the same way, the DWP Debt Management and the Local Authorities are different organisations.  Therefore, it is important that the payments are sent:

  • For DWP DEAs to the account number and / or address detailed in the Employer’s Guide
  • For Local Authority DEAs to the account number and / or address provided by that Local Authority

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