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Housing Benefit is paid to individuals or families who have low incomes to help them pay their rent, council tax or both. If your personal circumstances change and you do not tell us straight away, we may have paid you too much benefit. This is called an overpayment for Housing Benefit.
Changes which you must tell us about and could reduce your entitlement causing an overpayment are:-
If you do not tell us about a change in your personal circumstances and we pay you too much Housing Benefit, we will ask you to pay us the money back.
It is your responsibility to tell us of any changes in your circumstances.
A fraudulent overpayment may occur when a person has deliberately provided a false statement or document or has deliberately failed to report a change of circumstances with the intention of obtaining or retaining benefit.
We have a duty to recover overpayments from tenants and landlords where possible.
We can recover almost all overpayments - the only exception being when we or the Department for Work and Pensions office make a mistake, and you could not reasonably be expected to know there had been an overpayment.
If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit, we will have to decide if the overpayment is to be recovered. It will be recoverable if:
If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit we will write giving full details of the overpayment(s). The letters will include the following:
If you would like more information about how the overpayment occurred, please contact us.
Recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments is undertaken in various ways:
Please quote the invoice number, together with the council’s bank account details.
Name: Preston City Council
Sort Code: 16-28-33
Branch: The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, Fishergate Branch, 97 Fishergate, Preston PR1 2DP
Visit our online payments page to make a payment online. Please have your debit / credit card and invoice number available.
You can pay via our 24 hours a day automated telephone service on 0345 155 0028. Alternatively, our manned payment telephone line is 01772 906610 (open 9am - 4pm, Monday to Friday).
Payment can be made at any Post Office. Just hand over the invoice or benefit letter showing the bar code at the counter, along with your cash or card.
There are approximately 10,000 retail outlets nationwide offering payment facilities. PayPoint accepts only cash and debit card payments. Just hand over the invoice or benefit letter showing the bar code at the counter along with your cash or card. The transaction is processed and a receipt is printed for you to retain as proof of payment. To find where your nearest PayPoint is please visit the PayPoint website and use the PayPoint Store Locator.
Post your payment to:
PO Box 30
Cheques and postal orders must be made payable to Preston City Council and please write your invoice number on the reverse.
Failure to repay an overpayment may result in further action being taken. This could mean using one of the following methods:
We are here to help and should you get into any difficulties with your repayments, please ring the Contact Centre for advice on telephone (01772) 906903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a landlord regularly fails to repay overpayments that are recoverable from them, we can decide that the landlord is not a 'fit and proper person' under benefit regulations and can refuse to make direct benefit payments to that landlord.
The Government has set up a new on-line tool aimed at helping people with their budgets and managing their debt. This can be found on the money advice service website.
You can ask for a decision to recover an overpayment to be looked at again. You must ask us by writing in, within one calendar month of the date the overpayment letter was sent to you. You can find further guidance notes on appeals by looking at the related pages section.
You can also obtain help from agencies such as Welfare Rights, Citizens Advice Bureau, etc.
A landlord can request a revision where recovery is being sought from them. This is where an invoice for payment has been issued to them or a deduction is being made from the benefit they receive for one of their tenants to recover an overpayment owed by the landlord. Where the landlord owes the overpayment personally, they will be notified in writing of a decision to recover from them. Any request for a revision or appeal should be made within one calendar month from the date of the notification.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.