Housing Benefit overpayments

Housing

Alert

Overpayments happen if we’ve paid you more Housing Benefit than you're entitled to.

If you’ve been overpaid, you must pay us the money back.

Overpayments can happen if:

  • you don't tell us about changes in your circumstances
  • you didn’t give us correct information when you claimed
  • you gave us incomplete information
  • we’ve made an error

      You must tell us straight away of any changes in your circumstances.

      If you’ve been overpaid, we’ll send you a letter and an invoice for the amount you owe.

      There are several ways you can pay back the overpayment.

      You can either:

      • make a one-off payment to pay the full amount
      • set up a Direct Debit to pay in instalments
      • contact us to make an arrangement to pay in instalments

      Make a one-off payment

      You can use one of the following methods to pay back your overpayment in full.

      Pay the full amount now

      Telephone banking

      If you have a telephone banking facility, contact your bank. You’ll need to give:

      • your invoice number
      • sort code: 20 00 00
      • account number: 53234460

      By phone

      You can phone our automated payment system on 020 8496 3000 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’ll need:

      • your debit card
      • your invoice number

      At a Post Office or PayPoint site

      You’ll need to take your letter because you need the barcode to pay.

      If you don’t have it, please call us on 0208 496 8551 to get another one.  

      In person

      Waltham Forest Town Hall
      Forest Road
      Walthamstow E17 4JF

       

      If you need more time to repay, you can set up a Direct Debit with to pay in instalments.

      Here’s what you need to do:

      1. Use the table below to check how many instalments you need to pay over. To find the amount we'll take each month, just divide the full amount you owe by the number of monthly payments.
      2. Download and complete the Direct Debit form (PDF 225KB)
      3. Return it to: Revenue.Services@walthamforest.gov.uk or by post to: Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow E17 4JF.
      Amount of overpayment Number of monthly payments
      from £5.01 to £50 single payment only
      from £500.01 to £1,500 3
      from £1,500.01 to £2,500 9
      from £2,500.01 to £5,000 12
      over £5,000 24

      If you don’t want to complete a Direct Debit, you can contact us to propose a payment arrangement. Please be aware, we may still expect you to pay over the same number of instalments as listed in the table above.

      If you disagree with the overpayment, you can:

      • write to us and ask for a more detailed explanation
      • ask for us to look at our decision again

      You must do this within one calendar month of the date on the letter.

      If you’re still not satisfied, you can appeal to the HM Courts and Tribunal Service. They will run an independent tribunal to hear your appeal.

        If you don’t pay or make an arrangement to pay, we’ll send you a final demand for payment.

        If you still don’t pay, we can take steps to recover the money by:

        • reducing your Housing Benefit
        • reducing your other benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions
        • asking your employer to give us a percentage of your wages if you are working
        • using Housing Benefit paid to landlords for other tenants to recover an overpayment - this is only relevant for overpayments which we can recover directly from the landlord.  

        We can recover overpayments from:

        • the person claiming
        • someone acting on behalf of the person claiming
        • the person the Housing Benefit is paid to (including the landlord if we paid them direct)

        If we can’t recover the money this way, we may ask a debt collector to visit your home.

        We may then ask the County Court to issue an order for payment. This will increase the amount you owe because costs and interest will be added to the debt. It may also affect your ability to get credit in future.

        We may apply to the court for:

        • you to be made bankrupt: All your existing assets and your bank account will be frozen and controlled by the official receiver. You’ll be liable to pay our costs, plus the receiver’s costs (up to £2000) and any insolvency practitioner costs (up to £50,000 or more if the case is complex).  If you’re a homeowner, you may be forced to sell your house to settle your debts.
        • a charging order on your property: You’ll be liable to pay costs and daily interest. We may also apply to enforce the order and sell your property.
        • a warrant of execution giving court bailiffs the authority to seize goods: Your goods will be sold at public auction and the proceeds used to pay the debt you owe.
        • an attachment of earnings order: This allows deductions to be made directly from your earnings.
        • a third party debt order: This allows payment to be taken directly from your bank or building society accounts.