Housing Benefit overpayments

Housing

Alert

Overpayments happen if we’ve paid you more Housing Benefit than you are entitled to.

Overpayments can happen if:

  • you don't tell us about changes in your circumstances
  • you didn’t give us correct information when you claimed
  • you gave us incomplete information
  • we’ve made an error

      You must tell us straight away of any changes in your circumstances.

      If you’ve been overpaid Housing Benefit, you must pay us the money back.

      In the event of an overpayment we will send you a letter and an invoice for the amount you owe.

      There are several ways you can pay back the overpayment. You can either:

      • make a one-off payment to pay the full amount
      • set up a Direct Debit to pay in instalments
      • contact us to make an arrangement to pay in instalments

      There are several ways you can pay back the overpayment.

      You can either:

      • make a one-off payment to pay the full amount
      • set up a Direct Debit to pay in instalments
      • contact us to make an arrangement to pay in instalments

      Make a one-off payment

      You can use one of the following methods to pay back your overpayment in full.

      Pay the full amount now

      Telephone banking

      If you have a telephone banking facility, contact your bank. You’ll need to give:

      • your invoice number
      • sort code: 20 00 00
      • account number: 53234460

      By phone

      You can phone our automated payment system on 020 8496 3000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’ll need:

      • your debit or credit card
      • your invoice number

      At a Post Office or PayPoint site

      You’ll need to take your letter because you need the barcode to pay.

      If you don’t have it, please call us on 0208 496 3000 to get another one.  

      If you need more time to repay, you can set up a Direct Debit with to pay in instalments.

      Here’s what you need to do:

      1. Use the table below to check how many instalments you need to pay over. To find the amount we'll take each month, just divide the full amount you owe by the number of monthly payments.
      2. Download and complete the Direct Debit form (PDF 225KB)
      3. Return it to: Revenue.Services@walthamforest.gov.uk or by post to: Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow E17 4JF.
      Amount of overpayment Number of monthly payments
      from £5.01 to £50 single payment only
      from £500.01 to £1,500 3
      from £1,500.01 to £2,500 9
      from £2,500.01 to £5,000 12
      over £5,000 24

      If you don’t want to complete a Direct Debit, you can contact us to propose a payment arrangement. Please be aware, we may still expect you to pay over the same number of instalments as listed in the table above.

      You can use the below form to make an offer of payment towards your overpayment, the form will be reviewed and responded to by one of the overpayments team

      Make a repayment proposal

      You can use one of the following methods to pay back your overpayment either in full or at an agreed instalment amount.

      Pay the full amount or agreed instalment now

      If you disagree with our decision about your Housing Benefit, you must tell us within one month of the date of the decision letter.

      You can use our online revision and appeal form to

      • ask for an explanation of how we calculated your benefit
      • ask us to look at the decision again
      • ask for an appeal hearing from the Tribunals Service

      If you don’t pay or make an arrangement to pay, we’ll send you a final demand for payment.

      If you still don’t pay, we can take steps to recover the money by:

      • reducing your Housing Benefit
      • reducing your other benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions
      • 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 only relevant for overpayments which we can recover directly from the landlord.  

      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 we paid them direct)

      If we can’t recover the money this way, we may ask a debt collector to visit your home.

      We may then ask the County Court to issue an order for payment. This will increase the amount you owe because costs and interest will be added to the debt. It may also affect your ability to get credit in future.

      We may apply to the court for:

      • you to be made bankrupt: All your existing assets and your bank account will be frozen and controlled by the official receiver. You’ll be liable to pay our costs, plus the receiver’s costs (up to £2000) and any insolvency practitioner costs (up to £50,000 or more if the case is complex).  If you’re a homeowner, you may be forced to sell your house to settle your debts.
      • a charging order on your property: You’ll be liable to pay costs and daily interest. We may also apply to enforce the order and sell your property.
      • a warrant of execution giving court bailiffs the authority to seize goods: Your goods will be sold at public auction and the proceeds used to pay the debt you owe.
      • an attachment of earnings order: This allows deductions to be made directly from your earnings.
      • a third party debt order: This allows payment to be taken directly from your bank or building society accounts.

      Why have I been overpaid? I do not agree with the overpayment?    

      An overpayment occurs as a result of a Housing Benefit decision.

      The notification letter advising you of the overpayment will show why you have been overpaid and advises you of your appeal rights. If you wish to appeal against the decision or ask for a revision of the decision, please complete our online appeal or revision form.  

      You may be able to see a copy of your notification letter if you register for Benefits Connect self-service

      I’ve received an invoice but no Benefits notification letter

      If the invoice was received today, the notification letter should be with you in the next day or so. The Invoice and notification letter are not printed together so sometimes there is a delay in receiving one of them.

      If you haven’t received a notification letter and more than 2 days have passed, please call the Benefits team on 0208 496 3000. 

      You can see a copy of your notification letter if you register for Benefits Connect self-service.

      I can’t afford to repay the overpayment in one lump sum? 

      We can consider a repayment arrangement.  

      If you would like us to consider a repayment arrangement, please complete our online financial statement form

      Please note that if your proposal to repay the overpayment will exceed a period of 12 months evidence will be required to confirm your income and expenditure, if no evidence or insufficient evidence is supplied then we are unable to assess your financial circumstances.

      I want to pay the overpayment in full / make a payment toward the overpayment

      There are several ways in which you can repay the overpayment.

      Please be aware that if you haven’t set up an arrangement to repay the overpayment in instalments then the overpayment invoice is expected to be paid in full.

      Please note that we are only able to set Direct Debits on a monthly basis. If you wanted to make weekly payments, you can do this either by standing order or as a cash arrangement. 
      Cash payments should be made a few days prior to the due date as it can take a few days to reach us. This will ensure payments reach us on time to avoid arrangements defaulting. 

      I have received demand letters, but I am appealing against the overpayment

      If you have submitted an appeal or have requested a revision, we can consider putting a hold on the overpayment recovery. A hold will only be placed on an overpayment if it relates to the decision you are appealing against or requesting a revision of. 

      If you would like us to look at putting a hold on the overpayment recovery please contact us

      I have an arrangement in place, but I have missed a payment or going to miss a payment

      Please let us know by calling us on 0208 496 3000.

      When an arrangement is broken the overpayment recovery cycle recommences which means demands to repay the overpayment will be sent to you. It is better to let us know if payments have been missed or will be missed so we can either reset an arrangement with you or discuss a new arrangement if you are struggling to keep up with the arrangement you have.   

      I would like to set up a direct debit to repay the overpayment

      A direct debit can be set up where a repayment arrangement has been agreed.

      Call us on 0208 496 3000 to set up the direct debit and if an arrangement hasn’t yet been agreed the officer will discuss a reasonable repayment plan with you. 

      Please note that we are only able to set Direct Debits on a monthly basis. If you wanted to make weekly payments, you can do this either by standing order or as a cash arrangement. 
      Cash payments should be made a few days prior to the due date as it can take a few days to reach us. This will ensure payments reach us on time to avoid arrangements defaulting. 

      I’ve received a direct debit cancellation letter but want to continue with a direct debit

      Call 0208 496 3000, to discuss resetting the direct debit arrangement

      I am having overpayment deductions from my Housing Benefit, but I am having difficulties as the deductions are too high

      If you are having financial difficulties you can propose a new repayment arrangement.

      You can do this by completing our online financial statement form   

      Please note that if your proposal to repay the overpayment will exceed a period of 12 months evidence will be required to confirm your income and expenditure, if no evidence or insufficient evidence is supplied then we are unable to assess your financial circumstances.

      I’m having deductions taken from my earnings to repay an overpayment, but the amount taken is too high / I want the direct earning deduction removed

      We do not withdraw the earnings deductions once they are implemented but we could ask the employer to reduce the amount to be deducted. If you would like us to consider lowering the deductions please complete an online financial statement form

      Please note that if your proposal to repay the overpayment will exceed a period of 12 months evidence will be required to confirm your income and expenditure, if no evidence or insufficient evidence is supplied then we are unable to assess your financial circumstances.

      I am in receipt of Universal Credit; can deductions be made from that to repay my overpayment?

      We will always seek repayment directly from you; however, we can request deductions from your Universal Credit award. The DWP will decide whether to make the deduction. Where deductions are not made you will have to make an arrangement with us to repay the overpayment.   

      Where can I see the current balance on my overpayment?

      You can check the status of your overpayment online by registering for Benefits Connect self-service.

      Just one thing to note when using Benefits Connect, you will need to enter the financial year that the overpayment was created in order to see details of the overpayment, including the outstanding balance  

      If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service pc to log your request/report. Staff are available to support you if you need it.​​​​​​​

      Please make a note of the 10-character form reference in case you need to ask us something. You can also use this reference to go back to a partially completed form.

      Once you have answered the questions on all of the pages, click ‘Show Errors’ to confirm that the form is complete. Any pages with errors or omissions will be shown. Click on the page number to go to that page where the issue will be highlighted.

      You can attach any evidence required by clicking ‘Upload & Attach File’.

      If you get stuck, and cannot submit the form, please use the ‘Contact Us’ option to send us a message. If you send us the form reference we will be able to help you more quickly.

      Once any errors have been resolved you can securely submit the form by clicking ‘Submit’.

      When we have received your form, you will see a confirmation message on your screen. We will send you an email to confirm receipt of your application.