Overpayment of Housing Benefit occurs when benefit has been paid for a period beyond the date that entitlement to the benefit has reduced or ended.
The Council is entitled to recover overpaid benefits made to you.
You will receive written notification of the amount you have been overpaid by, this will advise you of the reasons for the overpayment, how this has been worked out and your new entitlement to Housing Benefit, if any. Our letters will also advise you on what you can do if you think our decision is wrong.
Recovering Council Tax Reduction
As Council Tax Reduction is paid in advance up to the end of the financial year (31 March), any excess Council Tax Reduction paid will be recovered directly from your Council Tax account. This will therefore mean that you will receive a revised bill for your Council Tax owed up to the end of the financial year.
Recovering Housing Benefit
Recovery will not start until one month after we have notified you of the overpayment. After one month, the recovery method will depend on your circumstances, but we will write to you again to explain how the amount will be recovered.
If you still qualify for some Housing Benefit, we will reduce your entitlement each week by an appropriate amount until the overpayment is cleared.
If you no longer qualify for Housing Benefit, we will issue you with an invoice for the amount due.
Direct Earnings Attachment
The Welfare Reform Act 2012, allows the Local Authority to ask employers, to make deductions directly from a customer's earnings. We do this by asking the employer to operate a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA).
Employers can find out more information by referring to our guide on Direct Earnings Attachments [277Kb].
How to pay back overpayments
Repay Housing Benefit online or pay by phone 24 hours a day on 0345 60 30 121 and selecting option 6.
If you are unable to repay the amount due in full, please contact our overpayments team on 01738 476050 as soon as possible.
Overpayments can occur when changes in your personal circumstances are not reported or aren't reported correctly. Contact us when your circumstances change to minimise the chance of overpayments occurring.