What is an overpayment?
An overpayment will occur when we have paid Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit/Reduction that the claimant was not entitled to. This can be because:
- you continued to receive benefit after leaving a property you were claiming for
- you, or a member of your household, had a change in circumstances resulting your benefit being reduced, and we have already paid you at a higher amount for the same period.
- you don't tell us that your circumstances have changed and we have paid you benefit that you are not entitled to
Can you get the overpayment reduced?
If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit/Reduction there are some circumstances in which this could be reduced by "underlying entitlement".
This is not an award of benefit, but a calculation of what you would have been entitled to had your benefit been assessed on the correct information.
In order for us to do this, you must provide evidence of your income, capital and circumstances for the period of the overpayment. This information must be provided within one month from the date of notification.
Do you have to pay back the overpayment?
We will recover the overpayment from you if:
- you don't tell us about a change in your circumstances, such as an increase in your income
- you told us about a change, but carried on receiving benefit that you knew you were not entitled to
- We will not recover the overpayment from you if we made a mistake that you could not have reasonably been expected to know about.
Who has to pay the money back?
We will recover the overpayment from persons or organisation to whom the payments were made. This means that, if the Housing Benefit was paid direct to a private landlord, we will normally recover it from them unless it was because of a change in your circumstances that they would not have known about.
How do we collect the overpaid Council Tax Benefit/Reduction?
If too much Council Tax Benefit/Reduction has been paid we will take the overpayment from the rebate originally given. This will be shown on the Council Tax bill as excess benefit. The Council Tax Section will issue a bill showing the new balance to be paid.
How do we collect the overpaid Housing Benefit?
If you have been overpaid but are still entitled to some Housing Benefit we will make a deduction from your benefit. This will continue until the overpayment has been paid back or you stop claiming. If you stop claiming we will send you an invoice. If you can't pay this immediately you will have to make an arrangement to repay the overpayment in installments.