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How will I know if I have been overpaid?

How will I know if I have been overpaid?

We will write to you and let you know if you have been overpaid.

In the letter we will give you full details of the overpayment including:-

  • The reason for the overpayment
  • The period that the overpayment covers
  • The total amount of the overpayment
  • Information about appeal rights
  • Who the overpayment is to be recovered from

If you are told you have been overpaid please make sure you tell us what your circumstances were for the period of the overpayment.

If you no longer receive Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice for repayment.

If you cannot afford to clear the overpayment in one lump sum you should contact us to discuss repayment by instalments.

When coming to an arrangement to repay the overpayment with you, we will consider your household income(s) and outgoings and other debts you are repaying or commitments you have.

We may ask you to complete an income and expenditure form to tell us about your circumstances.

What will happen if I do not make an arrangement to repay?

  • Your debt could be passed to an outside agency for them to collect the debt on our behalf.
  • We can apply to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make deductions from certain State Benefits you may receive.  From some benefits up to a third can be deducted from your income to recover our overpayment.
  • If you are working we may ask your employer to deduct a percentage of your wages through a Direct Earnings Attachment.

We are also able to register your overpayment in the County Court.  Once registered, we will hold an order to recover against you, which can be enforced by the Court. Enforcing the Judgement can mean you will be summoned to Court to examine your finances and to fix an appropriate instalment arrangement.

Failure to comply with the Court order will result in the Court Bailiff being instructed under a warrant of execution.

We can also apply for a charging order on your property or a third party order to recover money from your bank or building society account.  If we register your overpayment in the County Court and then proceed to enforce the order to recover, you will be liable for the extra costs incurred.

These will be added to your original debt.  Please note that failure to repay or make an arrangement to repay your Housing Benefit overpayment may result in a County Court Judgement (CCJ) and will impact on your credit rating.

How are overpayments recovered?

Regulations allow us to recover most overpayments.

Housing Benefit award

If you are still eligible to receive Housing Benefit, we will make deductions from your weekly entitlement to reduce your overpayment. This is known as “clawback”.

The minimum recovery rate is £11.10 per week.  For fraud overpayments the minimum rate of recovery is £18.50 per week.

Where we are making deductions from your Housing Benefit entitlement and you feel the deduction is causing you extreme hardship, you can request us to reconsider the amount we are taking by completing an income and expenditure form.

Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA)

Local authorities are able to recover benefit overpayments direct from debtor’s earnings when in PAYE employment without court authority.

DEA a guide for employers

Deduction from DWP Benefits

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can recover by deductions from certain DWP benefits.

Debt Agents

Debt Agents can be instructed by the Council to recover the debt on their behalf.

Third Party recovery by another Local Authority

If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit in another local authority area, an application to that local authority can be made to make deductions from your ongoing Housing Benefit on behalf of Maldon District Council.

Landlord Recovery

If you are a landlord that owes an overpayment and you receive Housing Benefit for any other tenants, we may recover your overpayment from the benefit payable in respect of another.

Where recovery is made from another tenant’s benefit, that tenant will be deemed to have paid rent to the value of that recovery.

Deduction from Housing Benefit or certain type of DWP benefit.

How to pay your Housing Benefit Overpayment

Direct Debit

Direct Debit payments can only be taken on the 1st of each month.

To set up a Direct Debit please call 01621 854477 or download a Direct Debit mandate which can be found on our website www.maldon.gov.uk

Online

Payments can be made on line via our website www.maldon.gov.uk/payforit

Please quote your invoice number.

Internet banking/Standing Order

You will need to quote our bank account number 00000000, our sort code 622155 and your invoice number.

Telephone using a Debit Card

Call 01621 212410 – automated payment line - 24 hours a day – please have your invoice number to hand.

Maldon District Council is committed to the collection of overpaid Housing Benefit.

We will take all necessary recovery action to ensure the money owed is repaid.