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Tuesday , November , 21 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

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Benefit Overpayments

What is an overpayment?

An overpayment of Housing Benefit is when we pay you or your landlord an amount of Housing Benefit that you were not entitled to receive. If we have paid too much Housing Benefit, we will usually ask you to pay back the amount we have overpaid.

Overpayments happen for various reasons. An overpayment often occurs if we are not told about a change of circumstances that would affect your claim for Housing Benefit.

If you disagree with the overpayment you must write to the Housing Benefit department to look at the decision again. You need to do this within one calendar month of the date of the letter.

How to avoid an overpayment.

To reduce the risk of an overpayment, please ensure you contact us in advance or straight away when there is a change in your circumstances. You must also ensure you inform Carlisle City Council of any change even if you have already notified another Government body, for example the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Make sure you read all letters sent to you by the Housing Benefit department and make sure the details on the award letters are correct. If there is a mistake please contact us straight away.

How do we recover the Housing Benefit overpayment?

Housing Benefit will usually be recovered from you as the claimant. This will be the case even if the benefit has been paid directly to your landlord on your behalf. Overpayments are not usually recovered from landlords unless they received the payment and they could have been expected to know they were being overpaid.

Overpayments of Housing Benefits are recovered by;

  • Direct deductions being taken from your existing Housing Benefit award.
  • Requesting deductions by taken from any benefit you receive from the Department for Work and Pension.
  • A payment arrangement set between you and Carlisle City Council to pay the debt in instalments. You can call (01228) 817228 Monday to Thursday 9-5 or Friday 9-4 to discuss an arrangement.

If you don’t pay

If you have not paid the debt in full or made an arrangement to pay within 1 month from the date of the Housing Benefit overpayment invoice date, we will take further action, this can include;

  • Requesting a Direct Earnings Attachment from your employer. (This means a percentage of your wage will be sent to Carlisle City Council directly from your employer to pay the debt).
  • Sending the debt to our Collection Agent or Doorstep Agent to collect the debt

on our behalf.

  • Requesting a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against you (this will immediately affect your credit rating and you may be liable for any costs incurred).
  • Requesting the Court Bailiffs collect the debt on our behalf.

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