An overpayment is where you have received more housing benefit, local housing allowance or council tax reduction than you are entitled to. Often, it is caused by a change in your circumstances that you did not tell us about in time. Examples of changes that can cause overpayments are:
- increases in your income
- someone moving into your home
- changes in the circumstances of other adults living with you
- if you move out of the property
Housing benefit and local housing allowance overpayment
When we identify an overpayment of housing benefit, we will write to you. Normally our first letter will detail the potential overpayment, and give you one calendar month to provide information so the overpayment can be correctly calculated. After this period, we will calculate the final overpayment figure, and decide whether or not the overpayment is recoverable. If recoverable, we will send a letter to all parties from whom we may recover the overpayment.
The recovery letter will tell you:
- there is a recoverable overpayment
- what caused the overpayment
- the dates and the amount of the overpayment
- how the overpayment was calculated
- a list of the parties from whom the overpayment may be recovered
- what to do if you disagree with the overpayment decision
Simultaneously, we will send a letter to the person from whom we intend to recover the overpayment advising them how we intend to do so.
If you are still getting housing benefit, we may reduce it each week by the amount on your notification letter. If you feel that the amount we are recovering each week is causing you hardship, you can write to ask us to lower it. Please note that we may ask for more details.
If you stop getting Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance, we may send you a bill.
If we paid your benefits to your landlord, we may ask the landlord to repay us.
Even if the overpayment wasn’t your fault, we may still require you to repay. An example of this situation would be if it was reasonable to expect you to realise that you were being overpaid.
You can appeal against us deciding a payment is an overpayment. You must do this in writing and you have one calendar month from the date you were notified about the overpayment to do so. You can only appeal against the calculation and the recoverability of the overpayment.
Write your appeal in a letter which includes:
- the decision you are appealing against
- the reasons for your appeal
- your signature
If our decision is wrong we will change it. If the decision cannot be changed, the appeals service will then review your appeal at a tribunal hearing. The tribunal is independent from the council, and is composed of legally qualified people trained in housing benefit.
If your appeal is late, you must include an explanation of why you could not appeal within one month.
Please do not ignore any letters we send to you about an overpayment, as debts will not go away. If we have to take further action to recover the debt through the courts, the amount you owe will increase.
Council tax reductions overpayments
When an overpayment has been identified, you will be sent a revised council tax demand showing the amendment. This is different to housing benefit as council tax reduction is not a benefit, and the process is different. You must continue to pay the amount due on your original bill until you are notified otherwise.
Should you disagree with this decision you can write to us and ask us to look at the decision again. We will review your case and respond within two months.
If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal in writing to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales.
South Wales Region,
Any adjustments will be made to your council tax account, and you will receive a revised council tax demand.