What is an Overpayment?
An Overpayment is any amount of Housing Benefit which has been paid to you to which you are not entitled. Overpayments can happen for a number of reasons:
- Your income or the income of anyone else in your household increases
- Loss of benefits, such as those paid by the Department for Work and Pensions
- A resident dependant person who is now classed as a non-dependent person
- A Change to who lives in your property
- You leave your property
Any changes in your award of Council Tax Reduction will be debited to your Council Tax Account and an amended Council Tax Bill will be sent to you.
To make a payment by telephone, please call 0300 456 0535.
How is an overpayment calculated?
An overpayment occurs where there a reduction in your Housing Benefit award for a period that you have already been paid for. Your Housing Benefit decision notices will advise you of the period and amount of overpayment.
This is an example of how overpayments are raised:
- You are paid £90 a week Housing Benefit for two weeks, total paid £180. As a result of a change in your circumstances notified to us, it is calculated that you are only entitled to £50 a week benefit for the same two weeks.
- The overpayment is calculated by taking the original amount of benefit paid of £180 less the new amount of benefit due of £100.
- The amount of benefit overpaid is therefore £80.
Our Housing Benefits team may have sent you a letter inviting you to tell us about any household income you may have had during the period of your overpayment, do not ignore this letter. An underlying entitlement can reduce or clear your overpayment.
Do I have to pay the money back?
Most overpayments have to be paid back, regardless of what caused the overpayment.
If you are still in receipt of Housing Benefit the overpayment will be recovered from your ongoing entitlement, at a set amount each week. This means you will have to increase the amount of rent you pay to your landlord or letting agent.
If you are no longer in receipt of benefit you will be sent an invoice detailing how you can pay.
Do not ignore this invoice. If an invoice remains unpaid, your debt will be passed on to our Enforcement Agents or collected via an attachment of earnings from your employer.
How can I make a payment?
The easiest way to make a payment is online - all you need is your invoice number and card you would like to pay with.
We also have an automated 24-hour telephone payment service on 0300 456 0535.
You can pay with:
- Direct Debit - can be arranged for either 1st, 7th or 22nd of the month. Please contact us on email@example.com and we will call you back to set this up.
- Standing Order (to: North Hertfordshire District Council. Sort Code: 30-94-30 Account No.: 02264262)
- Continuous Card Payments - please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back to set this up. This is a regular payment taken from your Debit or Credit Card on a date to suit you.
If you cannot repay the amount in one payment, please contact us at email@example.com with the amount you can afford on a monthly repayment plan. If you include your mobile number, we can send you a SMS text to let you know what the next step is.
How do I prevent overpayments?
The easiest way to prevent overpayments is to notify us of your changes as soon as they happen.
What if I disagree with the overpayment?
If you do not agree with the amount of the overpayment or the decision to ask you to repay it, you can request a further explanation in writing stating why you do not agree, and this is called Reconsideration. Our Housing Benefits team will look at the decision made and answer your query in writing.
We will not ask you to repay an overpayment if we have made a mistake in the calculation of your Benefit and you could not have reasonably been expected to know that the Benefit you were paid was wrong.
If you are still not happy with a review of your overpayment we have made you can appeal. An appeal should be made in writing within one month of the date of the letter notifying you of our decision, or from the date of our further letter of explanation. In your appeal letter, you should also include all the points you disagree with.
All Housing Benefit appeals are heard by an independent tribunal administered by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service.
Appeals regarding the amount of Council Tax Reduction granted to you need to be submitted to the Valuation Tribunal Office directly. Further information on how to appeal can be found on the Valuation Tribunal Office website.
Who can help me?
We have a fast convenient messaging service available. If you have a quick question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mobile number and question. We will send you a SMS text reply.
If you would like independent advice and help with managing debt, you can contact the following:
Citizens Advice - North Hertfordshire
Telephone: 03444 111 444
10am to 4pm: Monday - Friday
The Money Advice Unit
The Money Advice Unit is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s Health
and Community Services. Visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk for further details.