Repaying a Housing Benefit overpayment

An overpayment is where you have been paid more housing benefit than you’re entitled to.

A change in your circumstances will have reduced the benefit you’re due from a date in the past. This could be due to:

  • an increase in your income
  • a change to your household
  • moving out of the property

Appealing an overpayment

You can appeal an overpayment within one calendar month from the date you were notified about it.

The recovery of the overpayment may be put on hold while we’re dealing with the appeal.

How to repay the overpayment

If you are entitled to housing benefit, the overpayment will normally be taken from your ongoing benefit at pre-set weekly rates.

If you have been overpaid council tax reduction, the change in benefit amount will be applied to your council tax account.

This will increase the amount of council tax you owe and you will be sent a new council tax bill. We aim to collect council tax balances by the end of March in each tax year.

If you no longer qualify for housing benefit, you’ll be sent an invoice asking you to repay the debt in full.

If you cannot repay the amount in full you will need to contact us to discuss paying by instalments.

Arranging to repay an overpayment

If you have been asked to repay an overpayment and have not made an arrangement then you need to contact us.

You can contact us by emailing overpayments@medway.gov.uk, phoning us on 01634 332 222 or using our Minicom number on 01634 333 111.

You can also write to: Medway Revenues and Benefits Service, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TR.

If you do not make arrange to repay an overpayment

You will need to make an arrangement to repay. The debt will not go away and it may make you more involved in further recovery action. This may cause additional costs to be added to what you owe.

We may take action by:

  • deducting it from other benefits you get from the Department for Work and Pensions
  • deducting it directly from your earnings
  • asking another local authority to deduct it through housing benefit due to you if you move away from Medway
  • passing the debt to collection agents who will make direct contact with you to recover the debt
  • deducting the overpayment owed by landlords from housing benefit being paid to them by Medway Council for other tenants
  • asking the county court to register the debt as an order of the court. This can be enforced as if it were a county court judgement.

After the debt has been registered at the country court, enforcement methods may be:

  • a warrant of execution which allows an officer or bailiff to seize and sell goods from the debtor
  • a third party debt order, which attaches a debt owed to the claimant by a third party
  • a charging order
  • bankruptcy

Debt advice

If you’re struggling with debt you can get debt advice.

If you live in a MHS homes property, independent debt advice is available. Please phone 01634 565 333 or visit the MHS Homes website.

If you live in a Medway Council property you can get confidential advice by calling 01634 334 444 or 0800 408 8080.