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Overpaid benefit

An overpayment is any amount of benefit that has been paid to you but you were not entitled to receive.

If your benefit is reduced and we have already paid you at the higher amount, there will be an overpayment.

Overpayments happen for various reasons. Here are some examples.

  • you may have given us wrong information.
  • you may not have told us something that we needed to know about.
  • we may have made a mistake
  • you may not have told us about a change in time to adjust your benefit

Council Tax Benefit overpayments and Council Tax Support

We pay council tax benefit and Council Tax Support for a whole year at the start of the year. If something changes during that year we may have reduced your council tax bill by too much.

Any changes to your benefit or reduction will be applied to your council tax account. We will then send you a bill for the new amount

Paying back an overpayment 

We can usually ask you to pay back what we have overpaid, even if it was not your fault that you were being overpaid.

We will write to tell you how much you have been overpaid and the action we will take. This is called the decision notification letter. 

If you are struggling to pay back an overpayment and would like us to reconsider the amount of your regular payments, contact us. You can download and complete an Income and Expenditure form.

We can get the money back in the following ways

  • from instalments of your housing benefit
  • from your rent account, if you are a council tenant
  • by using other money we owe you
  • by sending you a bill
  • from your landlord
  • we can ask the Department for Works and Pensions to take money out of other benefits you receive
  • we can ask another council to take money out of any housing benefit they are paying you.

Underlying entitlement

If you are overpaid housing benefit or council tax support, we can sometimes reduce the overpayment if you provide us with evidence of all your income, savings and investments for the period of the overpayment.

We will calculate the amount of benefit that you would have been entitled to if we had known your correct circumstances at the time. We will use this amount to reduce the total amount of the overpaid benefit.

How to disagree with our decision

If you disagree with our decision you should contact us within one month of the date on the letter. Visit our Disagreeing With Our Decision page for more information.

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