Housing Benefit overpayments
A Housing Benefit overpayment is when we pay you or your landlord Housing Benefit that you are not entitled to. We will usually ask you to pay back the overpayment.
How do I pay back my overpayment?
Overpayments of Housing Benefit can be paid back in the following ways:
- If you are receiving Housing Benefit we will reduce your on going Housing Benefit until the overpayment has been paid back.
- If you are no longer receiving Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice.
You will need to do the following:
- contact the Benefits & Welfare Section on 01962 848 539 to agree an instalment plan to pay by Direct Debit (payment date of either the 5th, 15th or 25th of the month (or nearest working day afterwards)
- have your bank details and your invoice number when you call.
Other methods of payment:
- Online at www.winchester.gov.uk/pay and select Housing Benefit overpayment
- Touch-tone telephone system on 0845 6024438 have your invoice number and debit card
- Standing Order. Please call the Benefits & Welfare Section
- In Person. Payment Kiosks are available in our Reception at Winchester City Council’s offices on Colebrook Street, Winchester. We are open Monday to Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm and Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm. Please bring your invoice.
We do not accept Credit Card payments
What if I don't repay my overpayment
If you don't pay back your Housing Benefit overpayment in full or make an arrangement to pay by instalments we may recover the overpayment via the following methods:
- If you are in receipt of a DWP Benefit we can ask the DWP to recover the overpayment from your weekly benefit payments.
- If you are working we can order your employer to apply a Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA)
- If you are receiving Housing Benefit at a different Local Authority we can ask that Local Authority to recover the overpayment from your Housing Benefit payments
- We can refer your overpayment to an independent Debt Collection Agency
- We can refer your overpayment to our Legal Department
What can I do if I disagree with the overpayment?
If you want to know more about our decision or if you think it is wrong, you must contact us within one month of the date of the decision notice. If you contact us after one month we may not be able to consider your dispute.
- Ask for an explanation of our decision. Your request must be in writing and signed by you
- Ask us to reconsider any Housing Benefit decision we have made. Your request must be in writing.
- Appeal against the decision to an independent tribunal. This applies only to appealable Housing Benefit decisions. Your request must be in writing and signed by you.
You can make your request online here
- Independent advice
What is a Direct Earnings Attachment?
We are able to recover overpaid Housing Benefit by deductions from earnings without the need to apply for a court order. This is done by using a Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA). Local Authorities were given this power by The Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013.
The full regulations can be found here
Employers have a legal obligation to implement a DEA unless they are a new business (which starts between 8 April 2013 and 31 March 2014), or a micro business (having fewer than 10 employees). In such cases they are not obliged to operate a DEA although they may do so. If they fail to comply with their duties, they could be subject, on conviction, to a fine of up to £1,000.
How much of my earnings will be taken if I have a Direct Earnings Attachment?
The amount deducted by the employer is —
(a) where the liable person’s earnings are payable weekly, the percentage of their earnings specified in column 2 of Table A opposite the band in column 1 of that Table within which their net earnings payable on their pay-day fall;
(b) where the liable person’s earnings are payable monthly, the percentage of their earnings specified in column 2 of Table B opposite the band in column 1 of that Table within which their net earnings payable on their pay-day fall; or
(c) a lower amount calculated in the manner specified by the appropriate authority in the notice.
TABLE A: Where earnings are paid weekly Amount of net earnings
Deduction (per cent of net earnings)
Less than £100
Exceeding £100 but not exceeding £160
Exceeding £160 but not exceeding £220
Exceeding £220 but not exceeding £270
Exceeding £270 but not exceeding £375
Exceeding £375 but not exceeding £520
TABLE B: Where earnings are paid monthly Amount of net earnings
Deduction (per cent of net earnings)
Less than £430
Exceeding £430 but not exceeding £690
Exceeding £690 but not exceeding £950
Exceeding £950 but not exceeding £1,160
Exceeding £1,160 but not exceeding £1,615
Exceeding £1,615 but not exceeding £2,240
Winchester City Council has the power to decrease any amount to be deducted under Regulation 25.
Protected earnings proportion
The total of all deductions (the DEA plus any other deductions in place) cannot leave the employee with less than the protected earnings proportion, which is 60% of their total net earnings during the calculating period to which the deduction relates.