Overpayments

Overpayments of benefit happen when we have paid you a higher amount of benefit than you are entitled to. Reasons for overpayments include:

  • the time it takes between a change happening, you telling us and us dealing with it
  • you may have given us incorrect information
  • you may have been slow to tell us about a change
  • we may have been slow to deal with something you told us about
  • we may have made a mistake.

There are various ways we can recover an overpaid amount:

  • Council Tax Support overpayment
    We will remove or reduce the amount of Council Tax Support that was awarded. You will then receive a revised Council Tax bill with new instalments to pay. If you are struggling to pay your instalments, please contact us on 01952 383838.
     
  • Housing Benefit overpayment
    There are various ways to pay your overpaid Housing Benefit:
     
    • If you remain eligible for Housing Benefit, we can deduct money from your weekly benefit entitlement to recover the overpayment. There are legal limits to how much we can deduct each week. Your Benefit Notification letter will detail any overpayment deductions we are making. You will be notified of any changes to deductions.
       
    • If you provide evidence of your income that shows you would have been entitled to more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support for the period of the overpayment than you have been awarded, we will assess what amount you would have been entitled to and use it to reduce the amount of the overpayment.
       
    • If you have received an invoice for your overpaid Housing Benefit, details of how to pay are shown on the reverse of the invoice. Further information about paying this invoice is shown below.

You need to make arrangements to pay your invoice in full. The invoice is payable immediately.

Pay a Council invoice

To make a payment for an overpayment invoice, you will need your invoice number, which can be found at the top right-hand side of your invoice.

On the payment screen, the 'Reference' you need to enter is your 8 digit invoice number - shown in the middle of your invoice - this normally begins with a “5”. The 'Amount (£)' should be entered in pounds and pence (for example, enter £10 as '10.00') - as illustrated below.

overpayments illustration screen

Alternatively, you can call our automated payment line at any time on 01952 383977 to make your payment. Make sure you have your 8 digit invoice number and debit/credit card details ready.

If you are unable to make a payment in full, depending on your circumstances, we may consider agreeing a payment arrangement with you. Please complete and submit the online financial statement form so that we can consider your offer of repayment.

Submit a financial statement

If a payment arrangement has been agreed, you can pay your instalments by Direct Debit. A Direct Debit is an automated payment that is taken directly from your bank/building society account on either the 1st or 15th of the month.

This is the cheapest and most efficient way to pay your Housing Benefit overpayment. We will provide you with 14 days’ notice before we take your first payment. Simple, convenient and safe - view details of the Direct Debit Guarantee.

Sign up to pay by Direct Debit

If we don't hear from you or you don't make payments when they are due, we will take further action to reclaim the money from you. Contact the Benefits team to discuss your payment options.

If we don't hear from you or you don't make payments when they are due, we will take further action to recover the money from you. This could include:

  • instructing our enforcement agent to recover the debt on our behalf
  • registering the debt with the County Court to obtain a court order, which could affect your credit rating - making it difficult for you to get a loan or credit in the future
  • direct Earnings Attachments (DEA) - we can ask your employer to deduct money from your pay until your overpayment is cleared
  • if you owe us a large amount of money, we may also take steps to make you bankrupt.

Not everyone enters into a voluntary repayment agreement. Before we instruct your employer to make deductions, we will write to you to advise of the action we are about to take. It is important that you contact us as soon as possible on 01952 383984.

Failure to make an arrangement will result in us asking your employer to deduct money from your pay until such time as your overpayment is cleared. When we instruct your employer to make deductions, they have a legal obligation to do so.

Download an employers guide to Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA)

Net earnings - daily

Amount of net earning (daily) Deduction
(percent of net earnings - standard rate)
Deduction (percent of net earnings - higher rate)
£15 or less Nil 5%
Exceeding £15 but not exceeding £23 3% 6%
Exceeding £23 but not exceeding £32 5% 10%
Exceeding £32 but not exceeding £39 7% 14%
Exceeding £39 but not exceeding £54 11% 22%
Exceeding £54 but not exceeding £75 15% 30%
Exceeding £75 20% 40%

Net earnings - weekly

Amount of net earnings (weekly) Deduction
(percent of net earnings - standard rate)
Deduction (percent of net earnings - higher rate)
£100 or less Nil 5%
Exceeding £100 but not exceeding £160 3% 6%
Exceeding £160 but not exceeding £220 5% 10%
Exceeding £220 but not exceeding £270 7% 14%
Exceeding £270 but not exceeding £375 11% 22%
Exceeding £375 but not exceeding £520 15% 30%
Exceeding £520 20% 40%

Net earnings - monthly

Amount of net earnings (monthly) Deduction
(percent of net earnings - standard rate)
Deduction (percent of net earnings - higher rate)
£430 or less Nil 5%
Exceeding £430 but not exceeding £690 3% 6%
Exceeding £690 but not exceeding £950 5% 10%
Exceeding £950 but not exceeding £1160 7% 14%
Exceeding £1160 but not exceeding £1615 11% 22%
Exceeding £1615 but not exceeding £2240 15% 30%
Exceeding £2240 20% 40%

Not everyone enters into a voluntary repayment agreement. If you have failed to contact us with regards to a payment arrangement, we may instruct an enforcement agency to recover the money on our behalf.

If your account is with a enforcement agent, you must make payments direct to them.

Telford & Wrekin Council employs two accredited enforcement agents that are authorised to act on our behalf:

Any enforcement agency acting on our behalf should behave professionally, follow set procedures, have an internal complaints procedure and not take inappropriate action.

If you think that we have calculated your Benefit incorrectly or don’t think you have been overpaid Benefit, you can contact the Benefits team.

Telford & Wrekin Council Revenues Services collect your personal data for the purposes of collecting any Housing Benefit Overpayments you are liable to pay under:

  • Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, and
  • Social Security Administration Act 1992, as amended.

Your data is collected and processed in accordance with Articles 6(1)(c)&(e) and 9(2)(b) of the General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the Data Protection Act 2018. 

Telford & Wrekin Council will not share any of your personal data collected with external organisations unless required to do so by law. Any personal information may be shared within the Council in order to meet our legal duties but will not be given or sold to anyone else. For further details on the Council’s privacy arrangements, please view the privacy notice on the Council’s Terms and Disclaimer page.

  1. Why do overpayments happen?
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