Advertising

The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 6 weeks.

If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you meet one of the following criteria: 

  • You are single and of state pension credit qualifying age, or
    Part of a couple and are both of state pension credit qualifying age, or
    Part of a couple and been continuously receiving Pension Credit since at least 14/05/19
    You can find your Pension Credit qualifying age using Check your State Pension age  Opens in a new window
  • Qualify for the severe disability premium  Opens in a new window and receiving Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit or one of these benefits has ended in the last month
  • Live in supported accommodation
  • Have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Local Authority

If not you need to claim Universal Credit  Opens in a new window  for help with paying your rent.

Housing Benefit overpayments happen when we pay more benefit than someone is entitled to.

In most cases, if we have paid you too much Housing Benefit, you will have to pay it back.

If you have been overpaid we will write and tell you:

  • The reason for the overpayment
  • The amount of the overpayment
  • How we worked out the overpayment
  • Who the overpayment is recoverable from

You should read the letter carefully and check the information. If you think the overpayment is wrong or disagree with our decision you should tell us within one month of the date on this letter otherwise we may not be able to look at the decision again.

What if your landlord received the payments?

Where your landlord received payments of your Housing Benefit, we can ask you or your landlord to pay back the overpayment.

Each claim is looked at to decide who should repay the amount overpaid, this will depend on the circumstances and cause of the overpayment. When we have made our decision we will write to you and your landlord.

You can ask us to reconsider if you disagree with our decision.

How we recover overpayments

If you are still getting Housing Benefit we will reduce your future benefit payments until the overpayment has been repaid in full.

If you are no longer entitled to any Housing Benefit we will send you an invoice for the amount of the overpayment, which you should pay within 14 days.

If you cannot pay the invoice in full, you may be able to pay by instalments.

If you do nothing and the invoice is not paid within 32 days or you agree instalments and fail to keep up to date, then a Final Notice will be sent to you.

Please do not ignore our letters, the debt will not go away and you could have to pay a lot more.

Recovery methods we can use

If you receive a Final Notice and still do not pay the amount due we will either:

  • Ask your employer to take deductions from your weekly or monthly pay
  • Ask the DWP to take deductions from your benefits
  • If you claim Housing Benefit from another authority, ask them to take deductions from this
  • Refer the debt to a debt collection agency
  • Commence proceedings in the County Court where cost will be added
  • If you own property or assets, apply to the Court for a charging order or commence bankruptcy proceedings