If you have received too much benefit because you did not tell us about changes in your circumstances, you’ll have to pay us back the full amount.
- We can recover the overpayment from the person who made the claim or their partner.
- We may also recover the overpayment from the person who received the payments (landlord or agent), or from anyone who caused the overpayment.
So don’t delay — tell us about changes in your circumstances and avoid being overpaid.
How to repay an overpayment
- If you're still entitled to benefit we can reduce your weekly benefit by an agreed amount.
- If you've just started work, you may be able to get up to four weeks additional benefit, known as extended payments.
- If you're no longer entitled to benefit, you can pay us back by agreed instalments.
- You may be able to reduce or off-set the overpayment if you have any benefit due to be paid.
- If you're a council tenant and your rent account is in credit, you can ask that some or all of your overpayment be sent to your rent account
- We can do a calculation to see if there would be a reduction in the original overpayment (underlying entitlement). You must provide proof of your income, capital and full household details.
Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your repayment options.
If you are in financial hardship, read our cost of living help pages to find out about other forms of help that may be available.
If you don’t pay
Housing benefit overpayments are a civil debt for which we can sue in the County or High Court. If a court order is made for the repayment, your credit rating may be affected for up to six years.
If no payment is made, the county court bailiff can be empowered to recover the debt, which may include the removal and sale of personal articles.
We can also apply for bank accounts to be frozen, an Attachment of Earnings deduction via your employer or even prevent the sale of property.
All actions in the courts incur charges which will be added on to the original debt.
All overpayments must be paid back
The only exception is if an official error occurs and is combined with a situation where the claimant or person to whom the payment was made (including landlord and agents) could not have known at the time of payment that there was no entitlement to that rate of benefit.
Official errors can include mistakes made by us, Job Centre Plus, or The Pension Service.