Housing Benefit Overpayments

 

An overpayment is when we pay you or your landlord too much housing benefit. Overpayments happen for various reasons. Often, it is because we haven’t been told about a change of circumstance soon enough.

If you have an overpayment, we will send you notifications that explain:

  • The reason for the overpayment
  • The period you were overpaid for
  • How much the overpayment is
  • Who we will recover the money from, and how

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. If this is causing you financial hardship you can contact us, and we may be able to reduce how much we take off each week.

If you’re not getting housing benefit anymore, we’ll send you an invoice with details of how to pay.

 

Want to make a payment today?

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 

and quoting the invoice number beginning with 816.

Alternatively, you can call 0330 041 6497 (open 24 hours). You will need the 19-digit barcode number on the bottom of the invoice.

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 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. 

Difficulty paying

If you are having difficulty paying your overpayment amount, a special arrangement can be made.

Please contact us on 01903 737541 to discuss your options. Arrangements can be made at any stage other than if a County Court Varied Order has been granted.

If you’re struggling to manage your money, we have created a useful leaflet Managing your money.

 

If you do not pay

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

If you haven’t paid after the final notice or if a payment plan fails, we may take the matter to county court. All costs will be added to your account. An Order of Award or a County Court Judgement (CCJ) will be applied for. This could affect your credit rating.

 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

 

Other action

We can, at any stage, take the following actions 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 Attachments.
  • 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.