Changes in circumstances for benefits

An overpayment is any amount of housing benefit that we have paid to you (or paid to a third party on your behalf) which you are not entitled.

We could have overpaid you for a variety of reasons, for instance:

  • you may have provided the council with incorrect information
  • you may not have told us about a change in your circumstances
  • we may have assessed your claim incorrectly
  • we may have failed to act upon your information promptly

Always read and understand your notification letters to check that the details we have used in calculating your housing benefit are correct. If you notice we are not using the right information, you need to let us know within one calendar month from the date of notification.  

It is vital that you inform us of any changes in your circumstances as soon as you are aware of them. To do this, please complete our online change of circumstances form.

Who repays the overpayment

Each claim is looked at individually and in most cases we will seek to recover any overpayment. Depending on the circumstances of the claim, we may seek to recover the overpayment from either you or your landlord, for instance:

  • if the overpayment was caused by a change such as you starting work, we would ask you to repay the overpayment
  • if we paid your housing benefit to your landlord after you moved and your landlord knew you were moving, we usually recover any overpayment from them

Paying back the overpayment

When recovering an overpayment of Housing Benefit we will either:

  • take weekly deductions from your on-going housing benefit payments (at least £11.10 per week - remember you will need to increase the amount you pay to your landlord by the amount we deduct), or
  • send you an invoice and ask you to repay the amount

Where we are making deductions from your housing benefit entitlement and you feel this is causing you extreme hardship, you can ask Housing Benefits to consider lowering the deduction being taken.

If you have been overpaid housing benefit and you would like to repay now, please visit our online payments website

If you have had an invoice and you cannot afford to clear the overpayment in one lump sum you can contact the Accounts Receivable team to discuss repayment.

Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the council in respect of fraudulent overpayments. 

If you disagree with the overpayment

When an overpayment is created on your claim, we will send you notification letters telling you about the reassessment and the overpayment caused. These notification letters give you one calendar month to write in and ask that we reconsider your claim.

Find out more about disputes and appeals.