An overpayment of housing benefit is an amount of benefit that has been paid, but for which there was no entitlement under the regulations.
An example would be if a claimant failed to notify Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) that their wages had increased and a reassessment meant that they had been paid too much benefit.
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.
With all reassessments, the benefits section will send you an invoice to pay within 14 days.
If you are still in receipt of housing benefit and you have not paid the invoice within the required 14 days, then your existing housing benefit can be reduced. A letter will be sent to you explaining the amount to be taken, the start date and end date if this is within the same financial year.
If you feel that the amount being taken is causing you financial hardship, you can query this with MVDC's overpayment officer. In order for MVDC to consider this request, you will need to complete an 'Income and Expenditure' form (see 'Downloads'), provide evidence of all loans, HP or debts which you may ask MVDC to take into account.
Further advice about managing debt can be obtained from Citizens Advice.
Payment options other than housing benefit
If you are no longer in receipt of housing benefit, you still have the following payment options available to you.
This facility is available for payment by debit or credit card and can be accessed by visiting the Pay it page. Just follow the step-by-step instructions to make your payment.
You will need your seven digit invoice number from the front of your invoice in order to complete your transaction. If for any reason the site is unavailable, please make payment by an alternative method.
If you have a Visa debit or credit card you can pay by calling 01306 879324 and asking for the benefits overpayment officer.
Please contact the benefits overpayment officer on 01306 879324 and they will arrange for this form to be sent to you.
Deductions from a state benefit
There are certain state benefits which can be reduced on a weekly basis to clear previous housing benefit overpayments. To discuss this further, please contact the benefits overpayment officer on 01306 879324.
Send your cheque payable to MVDC, quoting your seven digit invoice number from the front of your invoice along with your name and address on the back of your cheque to: Mole Valley District Council, Pippbrook, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 1SJ. Please do not send cash through the post.
You can make a payment in person at MVDC's offices in Pippbrook, Dorking where a payment kiosk is available Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.
Or, you can make a payment in person at the Leatherhead HelpShop located at: Leatherhead Library, The Mansion, Church Street, Leatherhead
This payment kiosk in Leatherhead is available Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm.
Right of appeal
You can find out more on reviews, re-decisions and appeals by visiting the How to Appeal a Benefits Decision page.
What happens by not repaying an overpayment
MVDC will take what ever method it deems appropriate, including county court action, to recover the fee owed. This could include complying your employer to make deductions from your earnings, county court action and deductions from your state benefits or pension.