A Benefit Overpayment is a payment of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit made to a claimant or a landlord that exceeds the amount of benefit that they are entitled to receive.
If we have paid you more benefit than you are entitled to, this money can be recovered. This means that we can ask Claimants, and in some circumstances the Landlords, to repay the money to the Benefits Service at Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
WHY BENEFIT OVERPAYMENTS HAPPEN
Benefit overpayments can happen for a number of reasons, such as:
- You have not told us that you have had an increase in your income, e.g. in your pay, tax credits or pension.
- Someone has moved out of your home.
- You have not told us that you have moved.
- You have started or changed your job.
- The circumstances of other adults living with you have changed.
HOW WE NOTIFY YOU OF AN OVERPAYMENT
If you have an overpayment, you will receive a telephone call or letter explaining how much the overpayment is, how the overpayment has been created and the dates this occurred between.
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council can recover overpayments in the following ways:
- By reducing the amount of benefit you receive if you are still in receipt of Housing Benefit.*
- By sending you an invoice asking for the payment in full.
- If your Housing Benefit is paid directly to your landlord, we may ask that person to repay the overpayment.
- By asking the Department For Works And Pension to take the money from any social security benefits that you receive.
- If you have moved out of the area, we can ask your new council to take the money from any Housing Benefit payment that they pay you.
- By adding the amount that we have overpaid you to your Council Tax bill, if you have been overpaid Council Tax Benefit.
- By making an arrangement to repay the overpayment.
- County Court procedure. If we do have to go down this route then £40.00 costs will automatically be added to your overpayment. Once the court order has been obtained there are various routes we can go, the majority of which may add substantial costs to the original overpayment, the options available to us are applying to your employers for an attachment of earnings, instructing the Courts bailiff and charging orders.
* From April 2012 the standard maximum weekly rate of recovery from continuing HB is £10.65. From April 2013 this will be increasing to £10.80 per week.
* From April 2012 the standard maximum weekly rate of recovery from continuing HB, when the overpayment has arisen from fraud, is £17.75. From April 2013 this will be increasing to £18.00 per week.
To repay your overpayment please contact us, alternatively you can repay using our secure online payment system – link.
If you are having difficulty repaying your overpayment, don’t delay contact us today.
Alternatively you can complete an income and expenditure form detailing your income and outgoings to enable us to agree an affordable arrangement.