Benefit Overpayments

An overpayment is any amount of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support (or both) which has been paid to you, but which you are not entitled to. This could happen because you did not inform the council of a change in your circumstances, such as:

  • your Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance ending;
  • an increase in the earnings or private pension or other benefit award of you or anyone else in your home;
  • someone joining your household;
  • you leaving the address for which Housing Benefit was being paid.

The amount you have been overpaid is the difference between the amount of benefit you actually received and the amount you should have received. For example: if you received £12 a week for two weeks (total £24) and as a result of a change in your circumstances you should only have received £10 for each week (total £20), then you will have been overpaid by £4. (£24 - £20 = £4.) So you would have to pay back £4.

If your circumstance change (household or income) let us know as soon as possible.

Do I have to pay the money back?

In almost all cases overpaid benefit has to be repaid, even if it was paid because of our error.

However, you may not have to repay the overpayment if it was our error and we could not have reasonably expected you to know you were getting an overpayment.

If you have been overpaid, we will write to you giving the reason for the overpayment and a statement of the dates and amount.

How is the money paid back?

If you are a council tenant or private tenant and still receiving Housing Benefit, you can repay the overpayment from the benefit you are getting.

This will mean you have to increase the amount you contribute to your rent.

If you are no longer receiving Housing Benefit, you will get a bill, and if you cannot repay the overpayment straight away you can pay it in instalments. You will need to contact us to make arrangements (contact details are on the back of this leaflet).

For Council Tax Benefit, the overpayment will be added to your council tax bill.

What if I disagree with the overpayment?

If you disagree that you have been overpaid, or with the amount we have calculated, or that you should repay it, you can ask us to explain in writing. We will answer within 14 days.

Alternatively you can ask for a review or you can appeal against the decision. You must ask for a review or make an appeal within one month of the date of the overpayment notice. For more information on making an appeal, please see our appeals leaflet.

What if I do not repay or appeal?

If you do not repay, appeal or arrange to repay the money, we may take further action to get it back. This could lead to legal proceedings.

 

Download

Change of Circumstances

Change of Income

How to Appeal Council Tax Support

How to Appeal Housing Benefit

Underlying Entitlement or How to get Your Housing Benefit Overpayment Reduced

Contact details

The Benefits Service
Daneshill House
Danestrete
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HN

Telephone: 01438 242440
Textphone: 01438 242555
Email: benefits@hertspartnership-ala.gov.uk