Housing benefit and Council Tax Support overpayments
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What is an overpayment?
An overpayment is when more benefit is awarded than someone is entitled to (this can happen when somebody does not tell us about a change in their circumstances). This includes any housing benefit that has been paid to a claimant or their landlord or any Council Tax support which is paid direct to your Council Tax account.
Most overpayments are recoverable, which means you will have to pay the money back.
It is therefore very important that you make sure you give us correct information and that any changes are reported to us as soon as possible so we can avoid an overpayment happening.
View further information on how to tell us about any changes and examples of the type of changes that you need to report on our change in circumstances page.
Reducing your overpayment
If you have been told you have an overpayment, this could be reduced by a payment 'Underlying Entitlement'. If your overpayment happened because we did not know what your circumstances were, and you could later provide the true information for the period the overpayment covered and you would have actually been entitled to some benefit, we can reduce your overpayment with the money you would have been entitled to.
What happens if you are overpaid
If you are overpaid housing benefit or Council Tax support, we will send you a decision letter. This will explain to you:
- dates that the overpayment covers
- the weekly amount of benefit you were paid at the time
- the weekly amount of benefit you should have received at the time
- weekly amount overpaid
- number of weeks that you have been overpaid
- total amount that you have overpaid
- reason for the overpayment
- person the overpayment will be recovered from.
The overpayment is recoverable if:
- you did not tell us about a change in your circumstances or income
- you continued to receive benefit that you knew you would not be entitled to.
The overpayment is not recoverable if:
- we made a mistake and you could not have reasonably known that you were receiving the wrong amount of benefit.
If you do not agree with the overpayment
If you do not agree with the amount of the overpayment, you can ask for an explanation of how we worked it out. If you do not agree that there was any overpaid benefit, or you think that you shouldn't pay it back then you can make an appeal.
Paying back an overpayment
Do not ignore a request for repayment of overpaid housing benefit. If you do not contact us by the due date further action will be taken which includes:
- asking the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to recover the overpayment from your other benefits
- asking your employer to make deductions direct from your earnings via a Direct Earnings Attachment
- asking an external debt collection agency to start recovery action
- approach the Court in some circumstances. This will incur additional costs which you will have to pay back to us.
The minimum recovery from ongoing benefit is £12.75 per week or £21.25 per week if fraud has been proven.
The recovery rates may be increased depending on your financial circumstances.
If you cannot afford to pay back the overpayment or afford the amount we are deducting from your on-going housing benefit payments you should contact us by email to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Council Tax support
Overpaid Council Tax support will be added on to your Council Tax bill and you will be sent a bill advising you the new amount to be paid.
Paying your housing benefit overpayment
Pay housing benefit overpayment online (select the Benefit Repayment option from the left hand side)
Pay Point: you can make a payment wherever you see a Pay Point sign, including every Post Office. You will need to use the barcode on the front of the invoice sent to you.
Phone: call 01257 511000 to pay by phone at any time using your credit or debit card. You will need your invoice number.
Standing Order: you can set up a monthly standing order with your bank. You will need to give your bank the following information:
Account Name: Chorley Borough Council Collections Account
Sort Code: 20-69-93
Account Number: 63417069
Account Branch Details: 23 Market Street, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 2SY
Please quote the invoice number as your reference.
Paying your Council Tax
View more information on how to pay your Council Tax.