Overpaid Housing Benefit
A Housing Benefit overpayment is any amount of Housing Benefit that is paid to somebody where there was no entitlement. If you are overpaid Housing Benefit, we will notify you in writing.
If the overpaid Housing Benefit was paid to a landlord we will write to the landlord as well.
The letter will explain how much the overpayment is, what period it covers and why it happened.
Some reasons for Housing Benefit overpayments are:
- we were not told about a change in circumstances such as income going up or somebody joining the household
- we have been given wrong information; for example a customer had not told us about savings or income they may have or a landlord had not told us when their tenant moved out
- we may have delayed in making a decision after we had some new information
- we made a mistake when calculating benefit entitlement
An overpayment can be recovered from you, a person acting on your behalf or the person to which the benefit was paid (a landlord for example).
If your Housing Benefit was paid to a landlord but you were overpaid because of a change in your income, your landlord could not have known about that so the overpayment will be recovered from you.
Paying your invoice
You can repay your Housing Benefit overpayment online. You can pay using a credit or debit card.
You will need to enter your invoice number; this is the 6 or 7 digit number quoted on the invoice we sent you.
Pay by telephone
You can pay by telephone using a credit or debit card. You will need to enter your invoice number, this is the 6 or 7 digit number quoted on the invoice we sent you.
24 hour payment line
020 8227 2050
Choose option 7 for paying Housing Benefit overpayment invoices.
Pay by standing order or bank transfer
Payments can be made by bank transfer or standing order. You will need to contact your bank and quote your Housing Benefit overpayment 6 or 7 digit invoice number, along with the council’s bank details.
Council’s bank details:
Lloyds TSB plc, City Office, PO Box 72, Bailey Drive, Gillingham Business Park ME3 0LS
Sort Code: 30 00 02
Account number: 01526028
Pay at a bank
You can pay at any bank using the payment slip at the bottom of your invoice. Some banks make a charge for this service. Allow 5 working days for your payment to reach us.
Reducing the overpayment
In some cases we can reduce the amount of the overpayment based on what you would have been entitled to for the period of the overpayment, had we known your circumstances at the time. This is called underlying entitlement.
To determine your underlying entitlement, we will need:
- evidence of your household income for the period of the overpayment
- evidence of capital for the period of the overpayment
- evidence of any childcare costs relating to nursery or childminding for the period of the overpayment
If you're not sure of what to provide, contact us.
Challenging the decision
If you think that the decision that you were overpaid Housing Benefit is wrong, you have legal rights to dispute this decision.
Recovering overpaid benefit
We recover overpaid benefit in a number of ways including:
- sending an invoice for repayment
- taking deductions from your ongoing Housing Benefit payments
- if you are a council tenant, using any credit that you may have on your rent account
- deductions from payments you receive from the Department for Work and Pensions, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, State Pension or Pension Credit
- take money from payments being made to you in respect of any other tenants (landlords only)
Invoices are payable immediately. If you're not able to pay immediately in some cases we can agree to accept instalments.
To discuss instalment repayment, contact the Housing Benefit overpayment team.
We will make every effort to agree a reasonable and affordable repayment arrangement with you. We can also refer you to independent government-funded debt advisers who will not charge you for their help.
They can help you with most debts that you have including overpayments of benefits, rent and Council Tax arrears as well as credit debts, store cards, overdraft and loans.
Income and expenditure review
Income and expenditure review (PDF, 97.05 KB)
You can complete this review if you are experiencing financial hardship and cannot meet the payments due on your invoice.
If you don’t pay
Payment must be received on time. If payment is not received on time, further action will be taken. To avoid this contact the Housing Benefit overpayment team.
Further action can include but is not limited to:
- debt collection agency – the debt is referred to a debt collection agency to recover money from you
- obtaining a county court judgement – this will severely affect your credit rating and may affect your ability to get credit including mortgages, credit cards and increases to credit limits (further costs will be incurred)
- appointing enforcement agents to remove and sell your possessions (further costs will be incurred)
- third party debt order – this is made to prevent you from taking money out of your bank account
- charging order – this prevents you from selling assets such as property, investments or land without paying what is owed. The council can apply to the court for an order allowing us to force the sale of property once a charging order is agreed
- bankruptcy – a creditor can apply to make you bankrupt if you owe more than £750
- deductions from your earnings – the government has given the council the power to serve your employer with a Direct Earnings Attachment notice (DEA) in order to recover your Housing Benefit overpayment should you fail to repay it to the council directly. This means your employer will have to make deductions from your wages