How we recover overpayments
Recovery from Housing Benefit
If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit we will recover your overpayment directly from your payments.
You must make up the shortfall in your Housing Benefit payments to your landlord while the overpayment is being recovered. If payments are being made directly to your landlord you should notify them.
If you do not make up the shortfall to your landlord you are at risk of getting into rent arrears and possibly losing your home.
If the amount of the deduction causes you hardship you should contact us on 020 8359 2111.
If you are not in receipt of Housing Benefit we will invoice you for the full amount of your outstanding overpayment. This invoice must be paid within 1 month.
If you cannot pay the full amount, you should telephone the overpayments team on 020 8359 2250 to arrange to repay the overpayment in a short series of instalments.
Recovery from other benefits
If we have invoiced you for an overpayment, and you do not repay it in 1 month or contact the overpayments team to arrange a repayment plan, we can recover the overpayment from other state benefits that you receive.
We will do this by asking the Department of Work and Pensions to take weekly deductions from the benefit or allowance, ie Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance, that you are paid. The Department of Work and Pensions will write to you to advise you of the amount which will be deducted and the date the recovery will begin.
If you are a landlord, we will send you an invoice for the overpayment owed. This invoice must be paid within 1 month.
If you do not pay within 1 month, or fail to contact the overpayments team on 020 8359 2250 to arrange a repayment plan, we will deduct the amount owed from Housing Benefit paid to you for your other tenants.
You must then, by law, treat the other tenants' Housing Benefit as being received in full.
Housing Benefit overpayments and debt collection agencies
If you do not repay the money you owe within the specified time, or you do not keep to an instalment plan we have agreed with you, we may refer your overpayment onto a debt collection agency.
Once we have referred your overpayment to the debt collection agency, you will no longer be able to make payment arrangements with us and will need to contact the agency directly. Any costs that occur will also be recovered.
Housing Benefit overpayments and the courts
If you do not repay the money you owe within the specified time, or you do not keep to an instalment plan we have agreed with you, we may take you to court.
If we do take you to court we can:
- instruct the court to ask your employer to deduct the money you owe from your wages
- ask the court to place a charging order on your property if you own your own home
- ask the court to instruct your bank or building society to freeze your account(s) and request the amount owed to be paid in full if you have savings
- request the court to make you bankrupt as a last resort