Housing Benefit overpayments

A Housing Benefit overpayment happens when you are paid Housing Benefit that you are not entitled to.

Overpayments can be caused by a delay or failure to report a change of circumstances, for example:

  • you had a pay rise
  • you or someone moved out
  • you formed a new partnership
  • an increase in your savings
  • someone in your household may have started work or changed jobs

Informing you about an overpayment

When a reassessment results in a Housing Benefit overpayment, we will write to you to confirm the following;

  • The reason for the reassessment
  • Your new weekly award
  • The amount overpaid
  • What caused the overpayment
  • The period of the overpayment
  • How the overpayment was calculated, showing the old and new awards
  • Why the overpayment is recoverable
  • How we intend to recover the overpayment
  • What to do if you disagree decision, amount overpaid or that it should be repaid

To disagree or appeal you must write to us within one calendar month of the decision giving your reasons.  We will review the decision within one calendar month and tell you our decision in writing.

How will the overpayment be recovered?

Housing Benefit can be recovered in a number of ways depending on your circumstances.

  • If you remain entitled to Housing benefit, we will deduct a standard amount from your weekly award
  • If you no longer receive Housing Benefit from Reading Borough Council, we will send you an invoice. Details of how to pay the invoice are shown on the back
  • If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit from another local authority in England, Wales or Scotland, we can ask that they apply deductions to your award on our behalf
  • If you are in receipt of a DWP benefit such as Universal Credit or Personal Independence payments, we can ask the DWP to apply a deduction on our behalf
  • If you are working, we can ask your employer to apply a Direct Earnings Attachment. Please see our DEA pages for more information
  • We can refer your overpayment to our Legal Department.  If this happens legal costs will be added to the amount owed
  • We can refer your overpayment to an independent Debt Collection Agency

Ways to pay your invoice

Direct Debit

The easiest way to repay an overpayment invoice is by Direct Debit which will be taken on the 1st, 15th or 25th of each month. To do this please send your repayment proposal to benefits@reading.gov.uk or phone us on 0118 937 3707.

To set up a Direct Debit we will need:

  • the amount you want to pay
  • Direct Debit date
  • sort code and account number

Web payments

Use our online payment system.

Telephone payment

You can also pay using our 24 hour payment line on 0300 456 0543. Calls are charged at 3 pence per minute, plus your phone provider’s charges.

Smartphone or text

Download the Allpay app to pay your bill using your smartphone or pay by text by registering at http://www.allpayments.net/textpay.

In Person

Use the barcode on the front of your invoice to pay at a Post Office, Civic Centre or any shops using PayPoint.

Direct Earnings Attachments

Last updated on 11/10/2023