An overpayment is where we've paid you (or your landlord) more benefit than you were entitled to. You must tell us if you notice we have paid you too much and we will normally ask you to pay it back.
Overpayments usually happen because you have forgotten to tell us about a change in your circumstances, for example:
- your income has increased
- you have moved to another home
- somebody has moved in or out of your home
- there has been a change to your other benefits
- you have been given, won or inherited money.
If you have been overpaid we will write to you explaining the full details, including the amount that needs to be paid back and how we plan to recover it.
- If you are receiving Housing Benefit we will reduce future payments.
- If you are a council tenant we may take credit from your rent account.
- If you have been overpaid Council Tax Support, we will add the overpayment to your Council Tax account.
- If we were paying benefit directly to your landlord and they knew you were being overpaid, for example because you had moved out, we will recover the overpayment from them. If they could not have known about your change in circumstance then we will recover it from you.
- If none of the above apply, we will send you an invoice for the overpayment.
As soon as you receive an overpayment invoice you should pay online or contact us on 01932 425395.
If you can't pay it all at once, we can arrange for you to pay in instalments. However if you do not contact us at all then we may consider legal action or referral to a debt collection agency.
Occasionally mistakes are made by us or another government department, such as the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue and Customs. If we make a mistake that you could not have reasonably known about when we paid you, this is known as an 'official error' and you won't need to pay the money back.
It is not an official error if you knew about the mistake and did not tell us or contributed to it by giving us false or incomplete information.
If you think our decision is wrong you can ask for a written statement setting out why the overpayment occurred and why we are asking you to pay it back. You must write to us within one calendar month of the overpayment letter, explaining why you disagree with our decision.