Housing benefit overpayments
How do we get the money back?
By Housing Benefit instalments
- If we are still paying you Housing Benefit we can take money out of each week's benefit to take back what we have overpaid you
- If we pay you a single payment of arrears of Housing Benefit we can take the overpayment from it
Remember, if the benefit we pay towards your rent is reduced you will have to pay the amount of money we take to your landlord from your wages or other benefits.
We can discuss the rate we will recover the overpayment with you to avoid you any hardship.
From your council rent account
For council tenants, if your rent account is in credit because you have overpaid we take this credit off the account to clear the overpayment. We will not put your account into arrears by taking more than the credit so that you owe more rent.
From your landlord
If we have been paying your benefit to a private landlord, housing association or housing trust, we may ask them to repay the money if they could have been expected to know they were being overpaid, for example, if you have moved.
By sending you an invoice
We may send you an invoice asking you to repay the money and this should be paid by the due date. You can pay the bill online, by telephone, post or in person. The invoice gives full details of payment methods available.
If you cannot pay the invoice in full, you should contact us to agree a special arrangement to pay the invoice in installments.
In some cases we can negotiate a realistic level of repayment over a longer period of time, by smaller regular payments. In these cases you will be expected to complete a statement of your financial affairs for an offer to be considered. However, this does not mean that any offer is guaranteed to be accepted.
If you do not pay the invoice and you do not contact us to make an acceptable offer of repayment, we can then seek to recover the overpayment through the County Court that can result in you incurring extra costs, and in a judgement being entered against you. This may prevent you from obtaining a mortgage, credit or hire purchase facilities.
Other methods of recovery can include attachment to earnings, bailiffs or a charging order.
Council Tax Bill
If we overpaid you Council Tax Reduction, we will add the amount of the overpayment to your Council Tax bill and increase your installments. If you do not pay the increased installments we may get a court order which will incur extra costs for you. If you have a problem paying your Council Tax bill please get in touch with us as soon as possible.
Other ways we can get the money back
- we can ask the DWP to take money out of your benefits
- we can ask another council to take money out of any Housing Benefit they are paying you