Sometimes we give you too much Housing Benefit than what you are entitled to.
This may happen because:
- it takes time to deal with changes you tell us about. Even if you tell us straightaway and we deal with it quickly it can be impossible to avoid paying you too much
- you may have given us wrong information, not told us something we needed to know, or been slow to tell us about a change
- we may have made a mistake
- we have to write to you about the overpayment and any action we will take
We can ask you to pay it back if:
- it was your fault we overpaid you. For example because you did not tell us about a change
- it was not strictly your fault but it was not our fault either. For example, because you got a pay rise in June, backdated to April that you could not have told us about earlier
- it was our fault but you could have realised we were overpaying you and did not tell us. For example, if you get a pay rise but your benefit and Council Tax Support do not change, you should let us know
We cannot ask you to pay it back if it's our fault and you could not have realised you were getting too much Housing Benefit.
How it works
From your weekly benefit, if you are still entitled to Housing Benefit we can take money out of each week's benefit until your overpayment is cleared. We will normally deduct £11.10 a week or £18.50 a week for fraudulent overpayments, unless we've agreed an alternative amount with you.
If you are working, we may make additional deductions depending on your circumstances.
We can deduct:
- less if the amount we are taking is causing you hardship
- from money in your rent account if you are a council tenant. If your rent account is in credit we can take the overpayment back from your credit (we will not put you in rent arrears)
- from your landlord if you are a tenant of a private landlord, housing association or housing trust. If we have been paying your landlord direct we may ask them to repay the money (this may mean that you owe your landlord more rent)
We may send you a bill (an invoice) if you are no longer on benefit or do not get enough each week for us to make a deduction. If you get a bill from us you must make arrangements to pay it by completing an income and expenditure form.
If you do not make an arrangement we can issue a direct earnings attachment, send the debt to collection agents, deduct from Department for Work and Pension benefits or take County Court action.
You can pay online using our payments service, at one of Medway's Community Hubs or by phoning 01634 333 333.