What is an overpayment?

An overpayment is when more Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support is given than you are entitled to.

What causes an overpayment?

Overpayments happen for a number of reasons for example:

  • You were late or forgot to tell us of a change to your circumstances
  • You have another adult living with you
  • Your and/or your partner have started work/changed jobs or your income has changed
  • Your rent costs changed or you moved home and failed to tell us
  • The end of entitlement to other DWP benefits
  • Delays in processing information provided
  • Provision of false information or fraudulent claims

It is your responsibility to notify us of any changes to your circumstances, you must not rely on the DWP, HMRC or someone else to tell us.

How will I know if I have been overpaid?

We will write to you with the following information:

  • How the overpayment occurred
  • The dates for which your benefit has been changed
  • How much the overpayment is

An invoice will be included with the letter and information on ways to settle your overpayment.

What if I think the decision is wrong?

If, after reading our explanation, you disagree with the overpayment you must email benefit@midsussex.gov.uk or write to us at the address below, to request a reconsideration of our decision. You must do this within one calendar month of the date of our letter telling us why you disagree with our decision and providing any further information or evidence to support your request.

Mid Sussex District Council

Revenues & Benefits
PO Box 10607

Are all overpayments recoverable?

Most overpayments can be recovered. If the mistake was ours, we will only ask you to pay it back if we think you should have known that the benefit being paid to you was wrong.

Who can we recover the overpayment from?

 We can recover Housing Benefit overpayments from:

  • Claimant, claimants’ partner, or person who failed to disclose information
  • Landlord
  • A person acting on the claimant’s behalf e.g. Agent or appointee
  • The person to whom the Housing Benefit was paid e.g. if the benefit was paid into someone else’s bank account, we can recover from them

It is important to note that even in cases where your Housing Benefit was paid directly to your landlord, only overpayments that your landlord is directly responsible for will be recoverable from them.

Overpayments of Council Tax Support can only be recovered from the person(s) liable to pay the Council Tax and cannot be recovered from a Housing Benefit award.

How do we recover the overpayment?

If you have been overpaid Council Tax Support we will add the amount of the overpayment to your Council Tax bill and a new letter will be sent to you detailing the change.

Overpayments of Housing Benefit can be recovered by deductions from your ongoing Housing Benefit award. If your Housing Benefit ends we will send you an invoice detailing the overpayment amount and ways to settle your account:

Online Payments:       https://apps.adelante.co.uk/smartpaymidsussex/pay4

Automated Service:    0330 088 9360

Bank Transfer:         

Bank: Lloyds Bank
Account number: 11517968
Sort Code: 30-80-12
Mid Sussex District Council

In the above instances you must use your invoice number as the reference.

PayPoint & Post Office®:  

The barcode on the front of your invoice can be used to make a payment at any PayPoint outlet or Post Office® branch.

PayPoint Locator:      www.paypoint.co.uk/locator

Post Office® Locator: www.postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder

If you cannot afford to pay the invoice in full you should contact our Overpayment Team on 01444 477008 to discuss a payment plan.

What happens if I don’t pay back my overpayment?

If you don’t pay your invoice, set up a payment plan or if you fail to adhere to any arrangement we will use one of the following methods to recover your overpayment:

  • Request deductions from your/your partner’s other DWP benefits.
  • Request that your employer make deductions from your earnings.
  • Referral to our Enforcement Agents
  • County Court action

What if I can’t afford the deductions from my Housing Benefit or I need to reduce my payment arrangement?

If we are recovering from your Housing Benefit award or you have entered into an arrangement with us and cannot afford the repayments, you will need to contact complete a Financial Statement form and return it to us along with 3 months bank statements for all accounts you/you & your partner hold. Once your documents have been reviewed we will notify you of the outcome. We may be able to reduce the recovery rate for a limited period of time dependent on the review of your Financial Statement.  Please contact our Overpayment Team on 01444 477008 to request a paper form 

Overpayments and Fraud

We may offer the chance to pay an 'administrative penalty' rather than face a prosecution for fraud. This is if the overpayment was caused by an 'act or omission' on your part and there are grounds for bringing a prosecution against you for fraud. 

You do not have to agree to the penalty, you can opt for the chance of prosecution instead. The amount of an administrative penalty is 50% of the recoverable overpayment.

Last updated: 17 November 2023