An overpayment is any amount of housing benefit or council tax support (or both) which has been paid, but which you are not entitled to. This could happen because you did not inform the council of a change in your circumstances, such as:
- Your income support or Jobseeker’s Allowance ending
- An increase in the earnings or private pension or other benefit award of you or anyone else in your home
- Someone joining your household
- You leaving the address for which housing benefit was being paid
What is an overpayment of benefit?
This is the difference between the amount of benefit you were paid and the amount you were entitled to and should have received.
Do I have to pay the money back?
In almost all cases overpaid benefit has to be repaid, even if it was paid because of our error. However, you may not have to repay the overpayment if it was our error and we could not have reasonably expected you to know you were being overpaid.
If you have been overpaid, we will write to you giving the reason for the overpayment and a statement of the dates and amount.
How is the money paid back?
If you are a council tenant or private tenant and still receiving housing benefit, you can repay the overpayment from the benefit you are getting. This will mean you have to increase the amount you contribute to your rent. The current recovery rate is £11.10 per week, or £18.50 per week if your overpayment is due to benefit fraud.
If you are no longer receiving housing benefit, you will get a bill, and if you cannot repay the overpayment straight away you can pay it in instalments.
You will need to contact us to make arrangements, call us on 01522 873864.
What if I disagree with the overpayment?
If you disagree that you have been overpaid, or with the amount we have calculated, or that you should repay it, you can ask us to explain our decision in writing within one month of the overpayment. You can also ask for us to look at our decision again.
What if I do not repay the overpayment?
If you do not repay or arrange to repay the money, we may take further action to get it back. This can include us using a debt recovery company, applying for a direct attachment to your earnings or pursuing civil action through the County Court.