Housing Benefit Overpayments

 

An overpayment can occur when too much housing benefit is awarded. In this situation, we will normally request that the overpayment is repaid. We will contact you telling you the reason for the overpayment and the period it relates to, the amount, whether we will be recovering the money and the method of recovery. If you think we are wrong, you can ask us to look at the decision again.

If you are still receiving housing benefit we will make a weekly deduction from your ongoing entitlement. The rates of recovery are set amounts, but if this causes undue financial issues, please email revenues.benefits@arun.gov.uk or telephone 01903 737753 and we may be able to review the amount.

If you are no longer in receipt of benefits or there is insufficient entitlement from which to take the deductions, an invoice will be issued for payment within 30 days.

 

How to pay us

Direct debit

If you are paying in monthly instalments, direct debit is the easiest way to do it. A guarantee is offered by all banks and building societies that take part in the direct debit scheme. If the amount or payment date changes we will give you 10 working days' notice. You can choose to make the payments on either the 5th or 20th of every month. 

To pay by direct debit please contact us on 01903 737541 and we will send you a form for completion.  

 
Debit and credit card

You can pay using all major debit or credit cards by using the online payment facility. Click on 'Pay an invoice beginning with 813 or 816' and follow the instructions. 

You can pay over the phone by calling 01903 737541 office hours only) and quoting the invoice number beginning with 816.

Alternatively, you can call 0844 557 8321 (open 24 hours). You will need the 19 digit barcode number on the bottom of the invoice to use this facility. 

 
Cash payments

You can use the barcode on the bottom of your bill to make cash payments free of charge at any shop displaying the PayPoint symbol or at any post office in the UK. Visit the PayPoint site and enter your postcode to find your nearest outlet. You must take your bill with you so that the barcode can be scanned. The person processing your payment will give you a receipt, which you should keep as proof of payment. 

 
Cheque

Please post cheques to Revenues & Benefits at the Littlehampton address below, or bring it to either of our offices. Please ensure that the cheque is made payable to Arun District Council and the 816 invoice number is written on the back. We will not accept post-dated cheques, and we will not issue a receipt unless the payment is accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope.

 

Standing orders/online banking

Please use sort code 30-80-12, account number 14615968. Please quote your 816 invoice number and allow 5 working days for your payment to reach us.

 

Difficulty paying

If you are having difficulty paying your overpayment amount, a special arrangement can be made. To help you we have created a useful leaflet Managing your money.pdf [pdf] 3MB. Please contact us on 01903 737541 to discuss your options. Arrangements can be made at any stage other that if a County Court Varied Order has been granted. You could also complete and return a request to reduce recovery amount from overpayment.pdf [pdf] 523KB.

 

If you do not pay

If you do not pay the invoice within the time allowed, we will initially send you a reminder. This should be paid within 7 days. A final notice will be issued if the reminder is not paid.

If payment remains outstanding after the final notice or if a payment plan is not maintained, we may take the matter to county court. If this happens, all costs will be added to your account. An Order of Award or a County Court Judgement (CCJ). Your credit rating may be affected. This will allow the council to take any of the following enforcement action:

  • Order for questioning – A writ/summons can be issued for a full enquiry into your financial circumstances
  • Attachment of earnings – Enables the council to take money directly from your earnings
  • Warrant of execution – Enables the council to request an enforcement officer to remove and sell goods belonging to you up to the value owed
  • Charging order – Allows the council charge of your property and enables us to force the sale of it to recuperate what is owed
  • Third party debt order – Can be issued to any third party who owes the debtor money or is holding money on behalf of the debtor, usually a bank or building society
  • Bankruptcy – The council can petition to the county court for a bankruptcy order to be made against an individual

If you believe you are going to have difficulty meeting payments, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can try to put arrangements in place to help you. 

 

Other action

We can, at any stage, take the following actions in order to help us recover the debt:

  • A Direct Earnings Attachment - Enables the council to take money directly from your salary. For more information, please see this guide for employers Direct Earnings Attachment.pdf [pdf] 2MB
  • Deductions from benefits - Enables the council to apply to the Department for Work and Pensions to make deductions from other benefits you may receive. We can deduct up to 30% of your income through this method.