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What happens if you've been paid too much housing benefit or council tax support?

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment is an amount of housing benefit or council tax support which has been paid to you but which you were not entitled to receive. They occur if something happens which changes the amount of your benefit, but we did not know about this change at the time.

This could be something like:

  • a change in your income: for example starting work, having an increase in your wages or receiving a new entitlement to benefit
  • moving address
  • someone else living with you has had a change in their income

Overpayments include benefits that have been paid to you, your landlord or any amount that has been credited directly to your rent or council tax accounts.

Can you ask me for the money back?

Usually we will ask for the overpayment to be repaid. We will only consider not asking for the money back if;

  • the overpayment was our fault and
  • you could not have realised that you were getting too much benefit.

Can an overpayment be reduced?

We try to make sure that we have all the information about your circumstances before we make a decision. However even after the overpayment has been created we can still go back and look at your claim again.

When we write to tell you about the overpayment we will offer you the opportunity to provide us with more evidence about your circumstances to reduce the overpayment.

If you believe that the information contained on your notification letter is not correct, please contact us as soon as you can. Our contact details are at the top right hand corner of this page.

What can I do if I do not agree with your decision?

If you do not agree with any of our decisions about overpayments you can ask us to look at it again.

You can appeal against our decision that

  • the overpayment is recoverable or
  • that you should be the person liable to repay the overpayment

If you believe we have not used the correct information to work out your claim, please contact to let us know what you think is wrong.

Find out how we can collect an overpayment.