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.

If you get one of our overpayment letters, read it carefully, and if you don’t understand it, please contact us.

You are entitled to ask us for a ‘statement of reasons’ which will explain in detail how we have worked out your benefit.

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.

Pay back an overpayment

You can pay back an overpayment: