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It is your responsibility to tell us if you your circumstances change. If you do not tell us straight away, we may pay you more benefit than you should get. This is called an overpayment and you will have to pay it back.

What happens if you have been overpaid Housing Benefit

We will write to you with the following information:

  • that there has been an overpayment
  • how much Housing Benefit has been overpaid
  • the reason for the overpayment
  • the period of the overpayment
  • how we worked out the overpayment
  • how we intend to recover the overpayment
  • details of your appeal rights

If you have been overpaid, we will usually decide that you need to pay it back.

You won't have to pay it back if (all of the following statements are true):

  • the council or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) make a mistake
  • you did not contribute to the overpayment occurring
  • you could not reasonably be expected to know that you were being overpaid

We can recover overpayments from:

  • the Housing Benefit claimant
  • the person the payments were made to
  • an appointee
  • any other person who contributed to the overpayment occurring

If you disagree with an overpayments decision, you can:

  • ask for an explanation (a statement of reasons)
  • ask us to reconsider the decision
  • appeal against the decision

What happens if you have received too much council tax reduction (CTR)

We will adjust your bill and send you a new one, which will show a lower amount of CTR.

If you disagree with our decision you can ask us to reconsider.

To arrange a repayment plan, email the council tax team.

Paying back your overpayment

If you are still receiving Housing Benefit we may deduct an amount from the payments until the overpayment is recovered. We will tell you before we do this. We’ll also let you know how much we will deduct each week.

If you no longer receive Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice for the overpaid amount, with details about how to pay.

You can pay online:

If you are experiencing financial hardship, contact the overpayments team to talk about a payment plan.

We can also recover an overpayment by:

  • using one of our debt collection agencies
  • asking your employer to make deductions from your earnings
  • using the County Court, which will lead to additional court costs that you will have to pay
  • asking the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to make deductions from your benefits
  • asking another local authority to make deductions from your Housing Benefit if you have moved

Overpayments fraud

If you deliberately provide a false statement or document, or fail to report a change of circumstances with the intention of getting or retaining Housing Benefit or council tax reduction, this is fraud.

If the fraud is related to Housing Benefit, we will look to recover the overpayment at a higher rate.