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Benefits overpayments

A Benefit overpayment could happen for a number of reasons including failure to declare a change in your circumstances. It is extremely important that you tell us straight away if you have had any changes that you feel could affect your claim. Please refer to the Report a change of circumstances affecting your Housing Benefit or Council Tax page for further details.

Do all overpayments have to be repaid?

We can recover all overpayments under Housing Benefit Regulations unless they are caused by an official error and we could not reasonably expect you to know you were being overpaid.

All money owed to the Council affects the services we can offer, which is why it is important we recover overpaid Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support.

If you wish to set up a payment arrangement for your invoice please complete the online form to request this Housing Benefit Overpayment Arrangement Form

What if I disagree with the overpayment?

If you disagree you have one month from the date of the decision to ask for a reconsideration. An officer will review the original decision made and will contact you with the outcome.

If the decision changes in your favour we will send you a notification letter detailing the revised outcome. If the decision does not change, you will be notified in writing and you will have one month from the date of the letter to make a formal appeal.

How are overpayments recovered?

  • Local Council Tax Support - If you have received too much Local Council Tax Support we will recover these monies from your council tax account and you will be sent a new bill outlining your revised instalments.
  • Housing Benefit - If you are still entitled to Housing Benefit we will recover the overpayment by instalments from your on-going benefit entitlement. If your rent is paid direct to your Landlord you will need to ensure you pay the shortfall so that you do not fall into rent arrears.

We will notify you by letter how much your deductions will be and when they will start.

If you are no longer entitled to Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice detailing ways to pay the outstanding balance. If you want to make a payment or set an arrangement please contact our Recovery department on 01268 533333 or email us at to request a financial statement.

What if I cannot afford the repayments?

If you are struggling to meet the repayments that we are asking for you can request us to review the weekly amount we are deducting. Please complete the online form to request this Housing Benefit Overpayment Arrangement Form

What if I am overpaid a tenant's Housing Benefit?

If a landlord receives a tenant's Housing Benefit directly and the tenant's circumstances change, this can create an overpayment. If this happens, we may ask the landlord to repay the money that has been overpaid or recover the overpayment by making deductions to the tenant's Housing Benefit payments.

If we ask the landlord to repay the overpayment, we will send them an invoice. The invoice will show the name of the tenant and the amount of overpayment.

Sometimes, as a last resort, if a landlord does not repay an overpayment of Housing Benefit that they have received directly, the Benefits team can arrange to recover the outstanding amount from future payments of Housing Benefit due to other tenants. If we do this, the landlord is not entitled to recover the money from the tenant.

You can find out more about this legislation in Part 3: Section 75 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

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