Overpayment of benefits
What happens if I am overpaid Housing Benefit?
If we find out that we have paid you too much benefit we will look at the circumstances and decide if it is recoverable and, if so, from whom.
If we have paid your benefit to your landlord on your behalf we may recover the overpaid benefit from them.
Alternatively, we may decide that you are responsible for repayment.
How do I pay back the overpayment?
If you are still in receipt of Housing Benefit we will make a deduction from your weekly entitlement.
If you are no longer getting Housing Benefit then we will send you an invoice. You can pay this back:
- By credit/debit card on telephone number 0121 569 6268 / 6266 (or 0121 569 3460 if these numbers are unavailable)
- By standing order.
- By sending us a cheque (please ensure that your invoice number is written on the back of the cheque).
- By coming to the cash office in Local Housing Offices and paying by cash or by cheque (please bring your invoice with you).
You must always quote your invoice number when making a payment.
Please be aware that we can only discuss a benefit claim with the person claiming the benefit. If you want someone else to be able to contact us on your behalf please fill in our Third Party Authorisation form.
What happens if I don't pay back the overpayment?
We may ask the Department of Works and Pensions to make deductions from a benefit that they pay you. If you are not receiving any benefit from the Department for Works and Pensions then your invoice may be sent to a debt collection agency.
Where the debt remains unpaid, and deductions from benefit are not possible, then we may register the debt in the county court. This could give us a number of recovery options for example:
- enable us to ask your employer to deduct the money directly from your earnings (Attachment of Earnings)
- enable us to take money direct from your bank account
- enable us to send a bailiff to your property to remove goods to the value of the debt
- enable us to put a charging order against any property you own
Your credit rating may be affected and in addition to the original amount of the overpayment, you will also be responsible for repaying any additional costs incurred.
What if I can't afford to pay the overpayment back at the required level?
If you are having difficulty in affording the instalments on your invoice, or the deductions from the ongoing benefit, please call us on 0121 569 6268 / 6266 . Alternatively, complete and return a Payment Budget Sheet and we will consider reducing your weekly or monthly repayments.
Please do not ignore requests for payment, as we can help you to reach an arrangement to suit your financial circumstances.
What happens if I am overpaid Council Tax Reduction?
Council Tax Reduction is awarded against your council tax account. If, for any reason, you are overpaid Council Tax Reduction, the amount of the overpayment will be added to your ongoing Council Tax account, and you will be sent a revised Council Tax bill.
If you have any difficulty in paying the amount of Council Tax due, please contact call us on 0121 368 1155, as it is often possible to offer an alternative payment arrangement.
The council has a Housing and Council Tax Benefit/Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme Overpayment Recovery Policy which is reviewed every year.