What is an overpayment?
Overpayment is when we pay you or your landlord an amount of Housing and/or Council Tax Reduction which you were not entitled to receive. If you have been paid too much benefit either you or the person to whom benefit was paid will usually be asked to pay it back. This is called a ‘recoverable’ overpayment.
Are all overpayments recoverable?
Not all overpayments are recoverable. If we or a person or department acting for us such as the Department for Work and Pensions fail to act on the information you have given us or make a mistake when assessing your entitlement and you could not reasonably have known that you were being paid too much this would be classed as an ‘official error’ and you would not be asked to pay this back.
Why would I have an overpayment?
Overpayments can occur due to a variety of reasons but are generally a result of a change in your circumstances of which we have not been notified at the time. For more information see the 'Change of Circumstances' web page.
I do not agree with the overpayment
If you do not agree with your overpayment you can appeal. See the 'Appeals' web page.
Reducing the amount of the overpayment
In some cases the overpayment may be reduced because you are entitled to some benefit based on your circumstances during the period of the overpayment. If we award you benefit for the period you were overpaid this is called underlying entitlement.
If you do have an underlying entitlement the benefit you are due for this period will be used to reduce the overpayment.
Paying back a Housing Benefit overpayment
If you are still receiving Housing Benefit we may reduce the amount of benefit you get each week in order to recover the overpayment.
If you are no longer receiving housing benefit we will send you a bill and you must make arrangements to repay us.
If your benefit was paid directly to your landlord we may, in certain circumstances, recover the overpayment from your landlord. This would mean that you would then be liable to pay the rent due for that period to your landlord.
Paying back a Council Tax Reduction overpayment
Council Tax Reduction overpayment is recovered by adding the amount of the overpayment to your Council Tax bill.
Overpayments for the current financial year will then be collected by increasing your monthly Council Tax instalments. Overpayments for earlier years will be billed separately and you will have to make arrangements with the Council Tax section to repay them.