CenSus Partnership

What is an overpayment?

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

What causes an overpayment?

There are many ways in which you can be paid too much benefit. The main causes are:

  • Failing to inform us about changes of circumstances which you have a duty to report.
  • Mistakes or delays in the processing of your claim or your change of circumstances.
  • Fraudulent claims.

Can we recover an overpayment?

In general most overpayments are recoverable regardless of how it actually happened. However, 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 overpayments from?

The rules on who to recover overpayments from are quite clear. We can recover Housing Benefit overpayments from the claimant, claimant’s partner, landlord, agent or appointee. Overpayments of Council Tax Support can be recovered from the claimant, claimant’s partner or appointee.

How do we recover overpayments?

We may recover overpayments of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support by any lawful method, but an overpayment of Housing Benefit cannot be recovered from an award of council tax support or vice versa. The following are some of the methods we use to recover overpayments:

  • If you no longer receive Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice.
  • If you are still in receipt of Housing Benefit we will reduce your benefit payment each week until the overpayment has been recovered in full.
  • We may ask the Department for Work and Pensions to reduce you or your partner’s benefits each week until an overpayment is paid.
  • If Housing Benefit was paid to a landlord/agent we may recover direct from the Housing Benefit paid to that landlord/agent for other tenants.
  • An overpayment of council tax support will be added to your council tax account and a revised bill issued.
  • Via an attachment to your earnings

Overpayments and Fraud

We may offer the chance to pay an ‘administrative penalty’ rather than face a prosecution for fraud, 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 possibility of prosecution instead.

The amount of an administrative penalty is 50% of the recoverable overpayment.

Make a payment

By clicking on one of the following links you will be forwarded to your Council's on-line payment facility.


Overpayments Information Leaflet

Email: overpaymentscentralsussex.gov.uk

CenSus Revenues & Benefits
PO Box 519
M33 0EZ