Paying back a Housing Benefit Overpayment
The way you pay back a Housing Benefit overpayment depends on whether you rent from the Council; Housing Association; or a Private Landlord and whether your claim is still in payment or not.
Next steps if you are still receiving Housing Benefit
Whilst weekly deductions are being made to repay your Housing Benefit overpayment, you will be responsible for covering any shortfall that arises in order to make up your rent with your landlord. It is important to remember that if your Housing Benefit is paid directly to your landlord, the amount your landlord receives whilst the deductions are being taken may not be enough to cover your rent. In this situation, you must keep track of your rent amounts due and make the necessary additional payments to your landlord to ensure that you do not fall into rent arrears.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties in making the additional payments, you can request a review of your weekly deduction rate by the Council's benefits service.
Paying with a one-off payment
As an alternative to weekly deductions from your Housing Benefit payments, if you would prefer to pay your overpayment balance in a one-off payment, please call the Housing Benefit office and ask for an invoice to be sent to you instead.
Next steps if you are not receiving Housing Benefit
If you are no longer receiving Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice for repayment. We will give you 3 weeks to pay the invoice. In certain circumstances we may give you longer to pay and we will consider your household incomes and out-goings and other debts you are repaying or commitments you have.
How do I make payments?
What will happen if I don't pay the outstanding debt?
We can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to make deductions from certain State Benefits you may receive. Up to a third of your income can be deducted.
Your debt could be passed to an outside agency for them to collect the debt on our behalf.
We are also able to register your overpayment in the County Court. Once registered, we will hold an order to recover against you, which can be enforced by the Court. Enforcing the Judgement can mean you will be summoned to Court to examine your finances and to fix an appropriate instalment arrangement. Failure to comply with the Court order will result in the Court Bailiff being instructed under a warrant of execution. We can apply for an attachment of earnings which means we will recover this debt from your salary/wages. We can also apply for a charging order on your property or a third party order to recover money from your bank or building society account.
If we register your overpayment in the County Court and then proceed to enforce the Order to recover, you will be liable for the extra costs incurred. These will be added to your original debt.
If you are a landlord that owes an overpayment and you receive Housing Benefit for any other tenants, we can recover your overpayment from the benefit payable in respect of another tenant. Where recovery is made from another tenant's benefit, that tenant will be deemed to have paid rent to the value of recovered amount.
Local Council Tax Support Overpayments
Your Council Tax Support is calculated when you first apply or each April for the year ahead based on your circumstances known at that time. If, during the year, your circumstances change we may need to adjust your Council Tax Support. This could result in an 'overpayment' of Council Tax Support.
If this happens, we will write to you with details of the overpayment and send you a revised Council Tax bill showing the outstanding amount and details of how to pay it.