If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit this means that you have been paid more benefit that you are entitled to. In such circumstances we will write to you to tell you why the overpayment happened, the amount of the overpayment and the period that it covers. The letter will also tell you what you should do if you disagree with the overpayment.
Where your overpayment is less than £100 and you continue to qualify for Housing Benefit, we will generally recover this from your ongoing entitlement at a standard recovery amount.
If your overpayment exceeds £100 we will ask you to contact us, within 7 days of the date on your invoice, to discuss an arrangement. You can contact us on 01246 242438 to discuss an arrangement. You can set up a Direct Debit to repay this by completing the housing benefit overpayments Direct Debit form.
If you do not contact us within 7 days we will pursue the other recovery options available us, which may include:
- Recovering your overpayment from any ongoing Housing Benefit you remain entitled to;
- Asking the Department for Work and Pensions to take money from your Social Security Benefits;
- Asking your Employer to take money from your wages, via a ‘Direct Earnings Attachment’;
- If you have moved address we can ask another Council to recover the overpayment from your Housing Benefit on our behalf;
- Asking a Debt Collection Agency to collect the overpayment on our behalf;
- Registering the debt with the County Court and asking them to force you to pay it back by gaining an order. This will then include adding any court costs incurred to the debt. Failure to repay or make an arrangement to repay could then result in a County Court Judgement (CCJ), which may affect your credit rating.
We would urge you not to ignore any overpayment letters or invoices, as the debt will not go away. We have a duty to protect public funds and will take appropriate action to recover all debts.