Overpayment of Housing Benefit
An overpayment is an amount of benefit that has been paid, but there was no entitlement under the Housing Benefit (HB).
You are claiming Housing Benefit (HB) and fail to tell us that you have an increase in your income. When your claim is recalculated it will mean that you were paid too much HB for a past period and you will have to pay that back.
More seriously, failure to declare a change of circumstance is potentially a criminal offence that may result in legal action being taken against you, including prosecution.
Recovery of overpayments
An overpayment is recoverable from either the person who caused the overpayment, or the person who received the overpayment.
Overpayment of CTB (excess benefit)
Where CTB has been overpaid, this is known as excess benefit. The overpayment will be added to the council tax bill and will need to be paid in addition to the annual council tax due.
Overpayment of HB
Where HB has been overpaid, we will recover this using a variety of methods outlined below:
Recover from the tenant
If the tenant is currently receiving housing benefit, the overpayment will be recovered from future benefit payments by a weekly deduction. This is known as recovery from ongoing benefit or 'claw-back'.
If payments are made direct to the landlord, we will reduce the amount of HB paid every 4 weeks by the amount we are clawing back to recover the overpayment. The tenant is responsible for paying any rent arrears that occur as a result of the reduced amount paid to the landlord.
If the tenant is not currently receiving HB, the overpayment may be recovered from other benefits or an invoice for payment may be issued.
Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the Council in respect of fraudulent overpayments. In other words if we successfully prosecute you for a fraudulent claim, you will still have to pay back the overpayment on top of any sentence or fine the court may give you.
Recover from the landlord
If a landlord received an overpayment of HB we can recover this from that landlord. We will usually take into account the reason for the overpayment and whether it is reasonable that the landlord could have known about the tenant's change in circumstances that caused the overpayment.
Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the Council in respect of fraudulent overpayments.
The claimant can ask for a revision or appeal of a decision to calculate an overpayment. Any such request should be made in writing within one month of the decision notice.
Landlords have the right of appeal against a decision to recover an overpayment from them but do not usually have the right of appeal against the reason for the overpayment.
Where the overpayment is owed by the landlord, he will be notified in writing of the decision to recover from him. Any request for a review should be made within one month of the decision notice.
A landlord can write to the Council at any time requesting a written statement of reasons for the recovery of an overpayment from him.
For further information see Appealing against a Housing Benefit decision.
Online: Make an enquiry
Telephone: 08456 122 660
Fax: 020 8891 7934
Revenues and Benefits,
44 York Street,
The opening hours of the Civic Centre are 9.00am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 5.00pm Friday.