An overpayment is where we have paid more housing benefit or council tax reduction than you are entitled to.
What can cause an overpayment
If the personal and/or financial circumstances change for you, your partner, or anyone else in your household, it is important that you tell us straight away to prevent overpayments. Changes you need to tell us about are, for example if:
- Your income or capital has increased - this includes wages, state benefits, private pensions and working and child tax credits
- The circumstances of other adults living with you as part of your household change
- People move in and out of your home, including you or your partner
- You have started work or changed jobs
- You are temporarily absent from home
- You get married, form a civil partnership or start living with someone as if you are married or civil partners
- Your rent changes.
The DWP share HMRC information about your earnings and private pensions with us. We will use this information to make sure that you get the correct amount of benefit that you are entitled to, but it is still your responsibility to tell us about any changes in your family or household's circumstances. Do not rely on the Jobcentre Plus, The Department of Works and Pension, the Pension Service or your landlord to tell us of any changes.
If your claim is found to be fraudulent, we will recover any overpaid benefit from you.
How to report changes in order to prevent an overpayment from happening
If you know your circumstances are going to change, you must tell us in advance or as soon as you possibly can. All changes need to be reported online:
Only changes relating to moving out of the borough or reporting a death will be accepted over the telephone. Please telephone 020 8825 7829.
If you are a landlord you must tell us of any changes that it is reasonable for you to know about, for example, your tenant moves out. Please write to:
PO Box 32251
Ealing W5 5XA
How will I know if I have an overpayment?
If you have been overpaid housing benefit or council tax reduction we will write to you and tell you:
- That there has been an overpayment of benefit
- The reason for the overpayment
- The dates and amount of the overpayment
- How we have calculated the overpayment
- The person the overpayment relates to
- What to do if you disagree with the overpayment.
If we are making direct payments to your landlord we will write to both you and your landlord at the same time.
What if the overpayment is not my fault?
If the council believe that you could reasonably have known that you were being overpaid, even though it may not have been your fault, we will recover any overpaid benefit from you.
What if I do not agree with the overpayment decision?
If you disagree with the overpayment you can ask us to:
- Explain it in writing
- Review the decision (look at it again).
Once you have received your review decision, if you are still unhappy you can make an appeal.