How we get overpaid Housing Benefit back

Sometimes we have to review your benefit because you’ve had a change in circumstances or we find a mistake. If we’ve paid you too much benefit, you'll need to pay back the overpaid amount.

It's your responsibility to pay the difference between your Housing Benefit and your rent if your benefit's been reduced.

Changes that can affect your Housing Benefit 

We work out your Housing Benefit by looking at the details of everyone who lives in your home. This includes your partner, children and any non-dependants.

We'll need to recalculate your Housing Benefit if:

  • you or your partner stop receiving Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Pension Credit
  • there are other changes to your income or the income of anyone who lives with you
  • someone moves in or out of your home
  • you move address (this includes moving flats or rooms in the same building)
  • your tax credits change
  • any of your children leave school
  • your rent changes
  • you have more or less in your savings
  • there are changes in the circumstances of any non-dependants who live with you
  • you have any more children or any children start living in your home

You can read more on our changes in circumstances webpage and fill in an online form to tell us about any changes.

What happens after you've told us about a change to your circumstances 

When you've told us about any changes we'll work out if it affects your Housing Benefit. We'll then write to you with your new benefit award.

If you've been overpaid we'll tell you:

  • how much you've been overpaid
  • how the overpayment happened
  • who's responsible for paying it back

How to pay us back if you've been overpaid

If you still receive Housing Benefit we can reduce the amount we pay you (or your landlord if they receive the payment directly). We can do this until the overpayment is cleared.

If you don't receive Housing Benefit anymore we'll send you (or your landlord) an invoice to pay the overpaid amount back.

You can pay:

  • online on our pay page
  • by calling our automated payment line on 0845 075 8518
  • by standing order. You'll need to quote your invoice number and date, our council bank account number and the date the instalments are to be paid.
  • through your Berneslai Homes rent account if it's in credit

If you can't pay the full amount back please contact us to set up a monthly instalment plan.

If you're having difficulty paying us back

If you can't keep up with the repayments we've asked you to make, you can ask us to reduce them for a temporary period of 12 weeks.

You can apply for this using our online form. We'll need to know:

  • the overpayment amount
  • your invoice number
  • your income (salary, benefits, etc)
  • your outgoings (rent, utility bills, etc)

If you don't pay us back on time

If you fail to pay your overpayment invoice on time, we’ll send you a reminder telling you how much is overdue. You’ll need to pay this within 14 days. You can do this online on our pay page.

If you don't pay or arrange instalments to pay, we can take further action.

If you're working, we can ask your employer to deduct your Housing Benefit overpayments from your pay. This is called a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA). The amount that we can ask your employer to deduct is worked out nationally. You can see the DEA calculation on GOV.UK.

If you disagree with the overpayment

If you don't agree that you've been overpaid, you have a right to appeal against our decision.

If you pay us back too much 

If you pay us back too much, you can ask for a refund.