If you get more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support than you are entitled to, this is called an overpayment and you will usually have to pay the money back.
You might be committing benefit fraud if you choose not to report a change in circumstances.
Overpayments happen if your circumstances change and there is a delay from when the change takes place to when the benefits team are notified of the change.
If you do not tell us about changes we may pay your household too much benefit as the change may affect the amount you are entitled to.
This is known as a benefit overpayment. In most cases, this money will need to be repaid back to the council.
Report any changes in circumstances to us as soon as possible so the information we use to assess your claim is up to date and accurate.
Any changes you report will need to be supported by evidence. The evidence you need to provide will depend on what has changed. Our evidence guide may be able to help if you are unsure what type of evidence to send. You can report changes to us online by visiting our change in circumstances page.
When we send you letters about your claim please read them carefully. Our letters explain in detail how we assessed your claim and the information we used about your income and capital.
Check the figures we used in our assessment are correct. If you notice any of the information we have used to assess your claim is not correct you must contact us straight away and update the information on your claim.
It is the responsibility of the person claiming benefits to tell us about any changes that happen. Please do not assume third parties update any of your information for you.
If your benefit is overpaid we will write to you with full details of any overpayment telling you :
- What caused the overpayment
- The dates you were overpaid and by how much.
- The total amount of benefit you have been overpaid
- Who the overpayment is recoverable from and at what rate
- What to do if you disagree with the overpayment.
Underlying entitlement could reduce your CTS and/or housing benefit overpayment in some cases. If for the period the overpayment took place you had not told us about a change in your circumstances you can send us evidence of your true circumstances for this period and we can look at it again to see you would have had an underlying entitlement to benefit. We would then use this amount of underlying entitlement to reduce the overall overpayment.
If you have received an overpayment letter from us and think you might have an underlying entitlement please find out more at our overpayments and underlying entitlement page.
You can repay an overpayment in the following ways
- Set up a Direct Debit. Contact us and we can set up a direct debit for you over the phone. You can choose for us to take direct debit payments on either the 1st or 15th of every month. We will then send you a letter confirming the amount of the instalments.
- Set up a standing order. Please ask your bank to use the following details when making payments.
Account No. 91131605.
Sort code 40-15-07.
You will need to quote the invoice number on your overpayment letter and the amount to be paid each month.
- Online banking by sending payment to account number 91131605 sort code 40-15-07 using the invoice number on your overpayment letter as the reference number.
- Pay online here. Please use the invoice number on your letter as the reference number.
- Using our Automated Telephone payments line.
- Post a cheque for the attention of the Overpayments Team.
Please write your overpayments invoice number on the back of the cheque and make payable to Bromsgrove District Council.
If you are unable to pay the amount requested, complete a financial statement form, give details of your income and outgoings and advise what you can pay and we will get back you.
If you disagree with the overpayment you can contact us and ask for a ‘statement of reasons’ that explains in detail how we worked out you have been overpaid.
If you still disagree that you have been overpaid you can dispute our decision. We will ask you to provide evidence to show why you think you have not been overpaid.
If you need help with understanding an overpayment or are not sure if it is correct you can ask for independent advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau
If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit we will deduct an amount each week from your ongoing benefit.
If you stop or have stopped getting Housing Benefit, we may invoice you.
If your landlord was paid your benefit, we may ask the landlord to repay us in certain circumstances.
If you have been overpaid Council Tax Support we will send you a new Council Tax bill, which will include any money you have been overpaid.
If you receive an overpayment letter from us and are concerned about making repayments at the rate we have arranged please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss repayments with you and come to an arrangement.
If you do not contact us at all or make no attempt to repay, it is our policy to attempt recovery through the following
- County Court Action - this will incur more costs in addition to the money you were overpaid
- Request a Direct Earnings Attachment from your employer - If you are employed we can ask your employer to make deductions from your earnings and pay them to us.