Housing Benefit overpayments
A Housing Benefit overpayment happens when we pay more than you are entitled to. We will normally ask you to pay your overpaid Housing Benefit back.
You can help prevent overpayments by reporting changes in your circumstances as soon as they happen.
You could also be overpaid because of 'official error'. This is when we, or an official body acting for us (such as Jobcentre Plus), make a mistake. An overpayment is not an official error if you contributed to the mistake.
If you have been overpaid, we will write to you with full details. We will tell you:
- how much you have been overpaid
- the period of the overpayment
- the reason you have been overpaid
- how we have decided to recover your overpayment
We cannot ask you to pay back an overpayment if the overpayment was caused by an official error and you could not reasonably have known you were being overpaid.
Paying back overpaid Housing Benefit
If you are getting Housing Benefit, we will normally reduce your benefit payments each week to recover the overpayment. The standard deduction is £11.10 per week. If your overpayment is associated with an offence of benefit fraud, the standard deduction is £18.50 per week.
We can also recover your overpaid benefit by sending you an invoice and asking you to make a payment arrangement. You can make an arrangement by calling 0300 300 8011, and you can pay your instalments online.
Alternatively, you can:
- call our automated payment line, on 0300 300 8030
- pay by Allpay payment card at a Post Office or PayPoint
If you are a council tenant, we may take your Housing Benefit overpayment back from credit on your rent account.
If you do not arrange to pay back your overpayment and you are receiving certain benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions, we can ask them to reduce your payments.
If you are in financial difficulties, please contact us straight away. We will try and help you, for example, by reducing the amount you need to pay each week.
Telephone: 0300 300 8011
Please quote your account reference in all correspondence – your claim reference is a 10 digit number starting with “00000”. You can find it on your invoice or any letter we’ve sent about your overpayment.
Appealing against your overpayment
Visit our Housing Benefit appeals page to find out about the appeal process.
You can disagree with your overpayment for a number of reasons. For example, this could be if you think:
- the overpayment has been worked out incorrectly
- the overpayment is an official error which cannot be recovered
- you did not contribute to the overpayment
You cannot appeal against the way we are recovering your overpayment. For example, you cannot appeal against us taking weekly deductions from your benefit.