Housing Benefits overpayments
If your circumstances change, the amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled too may also change.
If you’re paid too much benefit it’s called an overpayment.
Overpayments can happen if you do not tell us about a change in circumstances which could affect your benefit, or because we have made a mistake when calculating your benefit. They can happen if you forget to tell us that:
- you have started or changed jobs
- your household income has changed
- you have moved home
- somebody has moved into your home
- you stop getting child benefit for a dependant
You can help prevent overpayments by reporting changes in your circumstances as soon as they happen.
Each time your benefit is adjusted, you will receive a notification letter which will give you a breakdown of the calculations used to make that adjustment. You must read this notification letter carefully and let us know if any information is incorrect.
Notifying you of an overpayment
If you’ve been overpaid, we’ll write to you to tell you how this affects you.
- how the overpayment happened
- the amount you were overpaid
- the period of overpayment
- how you need to repay the overpayment
- your rights of appeal
You will also receive an invoice which gives you an invoice number and tells you how to pay the overpayment.
Paying back overpaid Housing Benefit
If you are getting Housing Benefit, we will normally reduce your benefit payments each week to recover the overpayment. You do not need to take any further action.
If you no longer receive Housing Benefit, you can pay online.
Alternatively, you can repay using one of the methods below.
Make a one off payment or set up a standing order through your bank. Our bank details are as follows:
Account name: Luton Borough Council
Sort code: 30-66-76
Bank account number: 17256862
Please quote the invoice number you want to pay.
You can pay by Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Solo on our automated telephone payment system. It is available 24 hours a day on 0300 456 2725.
We recommend that you listen to all payment options to ensure the correct one is chosen for a successful payment.
Please note, there is a charge for credit card payments, but no charge for using a debit card.
If you are experiencing financial hardship and cannot afford to pay the overpayment we will consider reducing the rate of recovery.
You can make an offer to pay a small amount on a weekly or monthly basis against the outstanding overpayment. However your offer may not necessarily be accepted and you may be asked to complete an income and expenditure form.
Please call us on 01582 546050 to speak with a Customer Service Officer who can discuss this with you further.
If you still find it hard to pay in instalments and would like some help with budgeting and debt solutions, please visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
Can I reduce my overpayment?
In some cases, it’s possible to reduce your benefit overpayment by awarding underlying entitlement - this is the benefit that you would have been entitled to, had your claim been based on the correct details.
If you changed jobs and did not tell us, you could have been over paid.
At a later date, you provide proof of the end of your old job and pay slips for your new job. These confirm that based on your income, you could have been entitled to some housing benefit.
This underlying entitlement can be used to reduce the overpayment by the amount of benefit you should have been given. This will reduce the amount you need to pay back.
If you believe that your circumstances were different to those that were used when the overpayment was created, please provide evidence of your actual circumstances for that period of time.
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