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Sometimes an overpayment of Housing Benefit can occur. An overpayment means any amount that has been paid but to which there was no entitlement.

When an overpayment has occurred, you will be asked to re-pay the money; this may be by an invoice or by reducing your weekly benefit entitlement until the overpaid amount has been cleared. 

If your benefit is reduced to repay an overpayment and you are finding it difficult to meet the financial difference between the benefit paid and the rent charged, please contact us and we may be able to reduce the amount you pay each week.

To reduce the chance of an overpayment occurring make sure you tell the benefit department about any changes in your circumstances, immediately they occur.

What is a recoverable overpayment?

All overpayments are recoverable, except if they are caused by an 'official error' and you could not reasonably have known about it when you were paid or told about your benefit.

What is an 'official error'?

An official error is a mistake we, (or the Department for Work and Pensions) make. It is not an official error if you, or a person acting for you, contributed to the mistake by not giving us information, or by giving false or misleading information.

What can you do if you disagree with the overpayment?

If, after reading our explanation, you disagree with our decision, you can request a more detailed explanation, or ask us to look at the decision again. You need to do this within one calendar month of the date on the decision letter.

The things you can challenge are:

  • if we can recover the overpayment or not (see 'recoverable overpayments' above)
  • who we can recover it from
  • how we have worked it out

Things you cannot challenge are:

  • if we should recover the overpayment from you
  • how we choose to recover the overpayment

Can you appeal?

If you still disagree with our decision, you can appeal. You must appeal in writing, and sign it, You must make it clear which decision you are appealing against and give your reasons for appealing.

Can the overpayment be reduced?

If you tell us about your correct circumstances throughout the period of the overpayment we may be able to reduce the amount we overpaid you. This is called 'underlying entitlement'.

Before we can work out whether you should get any underlying entitlement, we may ask you to fill out a new form to explain your circumstances, and give us documents as evidence of your actual income and capital for the period of the overpayment. You need to supply this information within one month of the notice of overpayment.

If we decide you should get some underlying entitlement, we can only reduce the amount of the overpayment, we cannot give you more benefit than the original amount of overpayment.

Pay for your benefit over-payment

Independent advice: