What happens if you've been overpaid, how you can pay this back, and your appeal rights
What is an overpayment?
An overpayment is an amount of benefit you've been paid, but are not entitled to.
Overpayments usually happen following a change, and where we have not been notified in time to revise your benefit entitlement. For example, if your income has increased.
If you have a change in your circumstances, it's important to let us know straight away.
What happens if you are overpaid?
We'll write to you about the overpayment. The letter will tell you:
- the reason for the overpayment
- how much you've been overpaid
- the dates the overpayment relates to
- if you have to pay back the overpayment
- how you can appeal
Paying back Housing Benefit
The overpayment must be paid by either the person who caused it or the person who received the benefit. We'll state who needs to pay it back in the letter we send.
If you are still receiving Housing Benefit we will take a weekly deduction out of your entitlement to pay back the overpayment. If we make payments direct to your landlord, we'll take your overpayment deduction out of the payment before we send it to them. You'll then be responsible for paying the resulting shortfall to your landlord.
If you're no longer on benefit, we'll send you an invoice for the full Housing Benefit overpayment. You can arrange to pay by instalments.
To pay by instalments you'll need:
- your invoice number
- to set up instalments that will clear the balance within two years (if you need longer to pay, please contact us)
Or you can pay the bill in full online. You'll need your:
- invoice number
- credit or debit card details
If you're paying by instalments, you can choose to pay by Direct Debit. You can choose to pay on the 3rd or 18th of each month. Please download our Direct Debit form. You can also use this form if you need to change an existing Direct Debit.
Other ways to pay
By telephone - Call 01553 616200. Please have your invoice number and payment card ready.
By post - Send cheques made payable to BCKLWN to Finance and Resources Department, BCKLWN, PO Box 26, Kings Lynn, PE30 1PX.
What to do if you can't pay the money back
Contact us straight away if you're having problems paying the money back. Failure to repay the overpayment may result in the following:
- court action
- deductions from DWP benefits being made
- deductions being made from your earnings
- the debt being passed to a collection agency
Paying back Council Tax Support
We'll add your overpaid benefit to your Council Tax account. You'll receive a revised Council Tax bill telling you your new instalments.
If you disagree with our decision
We may be able to look at the decision again. You have one calendar month from the date we told you about the overpayment to appeal. Please make your appeal in writing.
We will not start to recover the overpayment until we have made a decision on your appeal. For further information, see Appeals.