Housing Benefit overpayments

Housing

Alert

Alert:  We are experiencing a technical issue with our online form: 'paying back a housing benefit overpayment'. 

When you open the online form and select the box 'in a one-off payment', please select 'pay online' by right clicking, choose the option 'open it in new window''. This will open the secure online payments service in a new window.

Overpayments happen if you have been paid more Housing Benefit than you're entitled to. This can happen if you don't tell us about changes in your circumstances, for example your income increases. It can also happen if:

  • you didn’t give us correct information when you claimed
  • you have given us incomplete information
  • we’ve made an error

      To reduce the risk of an overpayment, tell us straight away of any changes in your circumstances.

      You must tell us about any changes and not rely on anyone else to do it for you.

      ​How we let you know Click to get info

      If you’ve been overpaid, we’ll send you a notification letter to tell you, explaining:

      • the reason why you have been overpaid
      • the dates of the overpayment
      • how much the overpayment is
      • how the amount was calculated
      • any appeals/revision rights you have

      Check the notification letter carefully to make sure that your income and other details are correct. If they’re not, please contact us straight away.

      You’ll also be sent an invoice showing how to make an arrangement to clear the amount.

      The council can recover overpayments in several ways including:

      • reducing your Housing Benefit each week to recover the overpayment
      • taking an amount from other benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions,
      • sending an invoice
      • asking your employer to give us a percentage of your wages if you are working
      • using Housing Benefit paid to landlords for other tenants to recover an overpayment -  this is known as blameless tenant recovery and is only relevant for overpayments recoverable from the landlord

      Who we can recover overpayments from

      • The person claiming
      • Someone acting on behalf of the person claiming
      • The person the Housing Benefit is paid to (including the landlord if they have been paid direct)

      How to pay back Click to get info

      See the different ways to pay back housing benefit overpayments

      What to do if you need more time to pay

      If you need more time to repay, you can make an arrangement with us. You’ll need to make an initial payment towards the debt first to get an arrange plan.

      We usually ask that you pay back an overpayment in three to six months considering the following:

      • your household income
      • the value of your overpayment
      • other financial commitments
      • the nature of the overpayment e.g. if it is fraudulent

      If you'd like to propose a schedule of repayment, contact us by phone or by email.

      If you contact us by email please tell us the date you want to make repayments on and use your reference number as the title of the email.

      Proposing a repayment schedule online

      If you’ll be repaying less than £50.00 per month or will take longer than 6 months to clear your overpayment you need to complete an income and expenditure form.

      Download the income and expenditure form (94KB Word Doc)

      If you will be repaying more than £50 per month you can use the repayment proposal form.

      Download the repayment proposal form (164KB, Word Doc)

      Make sure you complete all the information needed and supply evidence where possible.

      Once we receive your forms we’ll make a decision about the repayment amount and send you a letter with details of how that decision was made.

        If you disagree with the overpayment after reading our explanation, you must:

        • write to us and ask for a more detailed explanation, or
        • you can ask for us to look at our decision again

        You need to do this within 1 calendar month of the date on the letter.

        Appealing an overpayment

        You (or your landlord if the overpayment is being claimed back from them) can ask for an independent review of the overpayment decision.
        The HM Courts and Tribunals Service will run an independent tribunal to hear your appeal.

        If no payment or arrangement is made, you’ll receive a final demand from us asking for payment again.

        If you still don’t pay we may ask a debt collector to visit your home or ask the county court to issue an order for payment. This will increase the amount you owe because we’ll have to add costs and interest to the debt.

        How we recover Housing Benefit overpayments (15KB PDF)