What happens if we pay you too much benefit?

If we pay you too much benefit, known as an overpayment, we will usually ask you to pay this back to us.

Why do benefit overpayments happen?

• You have a change in your circumstances which means you are entitled to less benefit and we have already paid benefit up to a date after your circumstances changed;
• Someone who lives with you has a change in their circumstances which means you are entitled to less benefit and we have already paid benefit up to a date after their circumstances changed;
• You have a change in your circumstances that you don't tell us about and we carry on paying you benefit that you are not entitled to.

It is very important that you tell us about any changes in your circumstances as soon as they happen to prevent us paying you too much benefit.

What if the overpayment wasn't my fault or I disagree with the overpayment?

If you think the overpayment was not your fault, you may still have to pay the money back if we think it was reasonable for you to know you were receiving too much benefit. 

If you disagree with the benefit decision that includes an overpayment and the decision to recover an overpayment from you; you can dispute it.  You must do this within one calendar month of the date we notified you of the overpayment. See 'Disputing a decision'. 

If you do not dispute the overpayment, we will start recovery of the overpayment.

How do I pay the money back to you?

In some circumstances, we may recover the overpayment all at once from any benefit you are due to. This depends on the reasons why we paid you too much housing benefit.

However, if you are still receiving housing benefit, we will normally take the overpayment from your ongoing benefit in weekly instalments. The government sets the instalment amount, but we can take less if you cannot afford the amount we are taking off your benefit.

If we have paid you too much Council Tax Reduction, we will take the overpayment from your Council Tax account and you will be sent a new bill.

Payment options

If you are not receiving housing benefit, here's how you can pay the money back to us:

By Debit Card You can pay by Switch, Solo, Visa Electron or Visa Delta debit card by phoning 01302 735336 and select option 3.
Please have your debit card and Housing Benefit reference number to hand.

By Cheque payable to Doncaster MBC
You need to include your Housing Benefit reference number on the reverse of the cheque and reference number MG015 35C07 9999 99999. Please send your payment to:
Financial Services
Civic Office

If you have received an invoice you can also pay:

By Automated telephone system 
Phone 0333 2000 324, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and select Option 4 for Sundry Debtors. Please have your Debit Card and Invoice Number ready.

By Internet or Telephone Banking
• Our Sort Code is 30-92-68
• Our Account Number is 40729168
• You need to include your name and Invoice Number when making your payment.

What if I'm struggling to pay?

If you no longer receive housing benefit and cannot afford to pay all the money back to us at once, or if you continue to receive housing benefit but cannot afford the instalments at the rate that has been set, you can ask us to reduce the instalments by completing the 'Income and Expenditure' questionnaire.

You need to give us details of how much money you have coming in each week and the money you have to pay out.

When you have completed the form, send it back to us straight away. We will then let you know whether we can take less off your weekly benefit to recover the overpayment or, if you are no longer on housing benefit, whether you can pay back the overpayment in instalments.

What if I don’t make arrangement to repay the overpayment?

 If you don’t make arrangement to repay the overpayment there are a number of ways we can recover the overpayment:

• we could ask the DWP to recover the overpayment direct from any benefits they may be paying you
• if you move outside of the Doncaster area and you start claiming housing benefit in another area, we could ask your local council to recover the overpayment direct from your benefit
• we could refer the debt to an external debt collection agency
• we could ask your employer set up a Direct Earnings Attachment. Employers are required to make deductions from the salaries of their employees and the amounts deducted are then paid to the Council to repay the overpayment.

Please do not ignore our letters as the debt will not go away. If we do have to take further action to recover the money through the courts, the amount you owe will increase. 



Last updated: 10 February 2021 18:19:41

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