An overpayment is when you’re paid more Housing Benefit than you’re entitled to. This is normally because your circumstances have changed and you haven’t told us.
Why have I been overpaid?
The amount of Housing Benefit you’re paid depends on your personal circumstances, so if these change, the amount of benefit you’re entitled to can change as well.
Examples of changes to your circumstances include:
- changes in income (from your wages or benefits you’re getting)
- starting a new job, changing jobs, or becoming unemployed
- people moving into, or out of, your house
- getting married or forming a civil partnership
- moving house or your rent changing
If you live with other people and their circumstances change, this might also affect the amount of Housing Benefit you’re entitled to.
You can report changes online to avoid being overpaid Housing Benefit.
How will I know I’ve been overpaid?
We’ll write and tell you that you’ve been paid too much Housing Benefit. We’ll tell you why the overpayment happened, when it happened, and how much the overpayment was.
If you don’t agree with the amount we say has been overpaid, or you don’t think that an overpayment happened, you can make an appeal.
What happens next?
If you're still getting Housing Benefit, we'll make a weekly deduction from your entitlement. This means you'll get less Housing Benefit until the amount you owe has been paid back.
If you're struggling to pay the weekly deduction, you can complete the income and expenditure form (found under 'Related Pages' on the right) and return it to us. We'll use the information you give us to see if we can reduce the amount of your weekly deduction for a short period of time.
If you're no longer getting Housing Benefit, we'll send you an invoice telling you how much you need to pay back. You must pay the full amount back within 14 days of receiving the invoice.
If you can't repay it in full, you must contact us straight away so we can arrange repayments which suit your financial circumstances. You can contact the Overpayment Recovery Section via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01642 726006.
Having trouble getting through? Our busiest time for phone calls is between 10am and 4pm. If you're able to call between 8am and 10am, or 4pm to 5pm, our lines are less busy and you'll usually get a quicker response.
What happens if I don’t pay?
Read more about what happens if you don’t repay a Housing Benefit overpayment.
What happens if I'm struggling to pay?
Are you struggling to pay your Housing Benefit Overpayment? Are you struggling to make payments as part of an arrangement we've put in place with you? Please complete the online budget sheet to help us understand your current financial situation.
A caseworker will review the information you give us, and get in touch with you. They'll help you put a plan in place for making payments which works for both you and us. They'll also help you to keep on top of your current payments, and tell you how to get in touch with charities or organisations who can help you, if you need it.
Getting a phone call about your Housing Benefit overpayment
We've recently started a trial of a new phone service to help us contact customers who have a Housing Benefit overpayment to repay. If you're called by the new phone service, your call will come from the number 01642 843048.
You cannot use that number to get in touch with us. You can contact us about Housing Benefit by calling 01642 726006.
Is this a scam?
No. If you get a call about your Housing Benefit overpayment from the number 01642 843048 then it is not a scam.
- If you get a phone call, you will be asked to press 1 to speak to a caseworker at Middlesbrough Council.
- If you get a voicemail, you will be given a number to call to speak to a caseworker at Middlesbrough Council.
- If you get a text message, you will be given a number to call to speak to a caseworker at Middlesbrough Council.
You will not be asked to give any personal information before you press 1, or phone the number, to speak to a caseworker.
Once you speak to a caseworker, you can arrange to repay your Housing Benefit overpayment, or set up a Direct Debit.