Benefit overpayments

Most overpayments happen because customers don't tell us about changes straight away. Sometimes overpayments happen because it takes us a little while to process the change.  Sometimes we can make mistakes at our end.

If we make a mistake this type of error can only be an official error overpayment if the mistake is down to us and what we, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have done.

It's your responsibility to tell us when your circumstances change. If you haven't told us and an overpayment has been made then it's not an official error.

Appealing an overpayment

You can appeal an overpayment within one calendar month from the date you were notified about it. Include details of your objections and the reasons for your appeal with any supporting evidence.

The recovery of the overpayment may be put on hold while we’re dealing with the appeal.

Repaying the overpayment

If we decide that you must pay back any overpayment there are a number of ways this can be done. We may use more than one of these methods at the same time. 

  • Recover from ongoing benefit at pre-set weekly rates
  • If your rent account is in credit, we may take it from your rent balance (housing benefit overpayment only)
  • For overpayment of Council Tax Reduction, we may increase the amount of council tax you owe and you will be sent a new council tax bill
  • If you no longer qualify for housing benefit, you’ll be sent an invoice asking you to repay the debt in full
  • If you cannot repay the amount in full you will need to contact us to discuss paying by installments
  • Direct Earnings Attachment a through your employer, based on a percentage of the money you earn

If you don’t pay the overpayment back

If you don't pay us back or make an arrangement to pay us, we will take things further.

If we have sent an invoice, and you don't pay we will send you a reminder.

If you still don't pay we may ask a debt collector to visit your home or ask the County or High Court to issue an order for payment. This will increase the amount you owe because we will have to add costs and interest to the debt.