Northampton Borough Council
Northampton Borough Council

Why do overpayments occur?

  • You may have given us the wrong information
  • You may not have told us something we needed to know about
  • You may have been slow to tell us about a change.
  • A change in your circumstances
  • We've found a mistake

We will inform you if there has been any overpayment of benefit.  Contact us if you have any queries.

How do we get the money back?

There are many ways we can recover an overpayment.

  • If council tax benefit has been overpaid then the money will be recovered from your council tax account and a new bill will be issued to reflect the increase in council tax for the remainder of the year.
  • We will collect this money directly from you.  If you are unable to pay the full bill then we can increase your monthly instalments.
  • If you do not contact us as soon as you receive your revised bill and you fail to pay then legal action maybe taken to recover the overpayment.

We can recover overpaid Housing Benefit by the following methods:

  • From instalments of your Housing Benefit

If you're still on benefit we can take money out of your weekly Housing Benefit to recover the overpayments.

This is recovered directly from your normal Housing Benefit payments at a rate of £11.10 (for standard overpayments), or £18.50 (for Fraud overpayments).  If you are working, we can also increase your overpayment recovery rate by up to 50% of your disregard.

If the amount we take each week causes you a problem, please tell us. We might be able to change it and take a smaller amount.

  • By using other money we owe you

If we owe you benefit for another period, we can hold on to the money and use it to repay your overpayment. This is called ' offsetting'.

  • By sending you an invoice or overpayment letter

You should make arrangements to pay as soon as you can. If you can't pay all your overpayment at once, we can arrange instalments so please get in touch. If we don't hear from you, we will instigate enforcement agent action to recover the debt.

  • From your landlord

If we've been paying your benefit to a private landlord or housing association, we may ask them to repay the money.

  • From the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

We can ask the DWP to take the money out of your social security benefits. 

  • Direct from your earnings

Part 6 of The Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013 allows local authorities to ask an employer to make deductions directly from a customer’s earnings without having to go through the civil courts

The regulations state that if a local authority administering Housing Benefit has been unable to recover money owed by customers not currently in receipt of benefit, that money may be recovered by deduction from the customer’s earnings.

If your instalments are too high you need to contact us and we will send you an income and expenditure form for you to complete and return to us. We will use this information to decide if we can reduce your repayments.

What are my appeal rights?

You do have a right to ask for the reasons for our decision. You must write in and request this information and ensure that the letter is signed.

Further information about Debt Recovery can be found HERE.

Date last reviewed: 09/03/2015