Housing benefit overpayments
If your circumstances change while you are claiming housing benefit but you do not tell Tower Hamlets benefits service straight away you could be paid more benefit than you are entitled to. The difference between what you were actually paid and what you should have been paid is called an overpayment (or an excess payment).
Overpayments can be avoided if you make sure you always tell us when your circumstances change. You must also report changes of circumstances affecting other people who live with you.
Report a change in circumstances online
Recovery of overpayments
We have a duty to safeguard public funds and will normally seek to recover any overpayments that occur. Recovery can be made in several ways:
- if you are still entitled to housing benefit we will reduce the amount you get (or the amount paid to your landlord if your benefit is paid direct to your landlord)
- if you stop being entitled to housing benefit altogether, by sending you an invoice
- By instructing your employer to make a recovery from your wages (this is known as a Direct Earnings Attachment)
- if the overpayment was paid direct to your landlord and you stop being entitled to housing benefit altogether, by reducing the amount of housing benefit paid to your landlord on behalf of its other tenants
- if the overpayment was paid direct to your landlord and you stop being entitled to housing benefit altogether, by sending an invoice to your landlord
- if you are a council tenant and your rent account is in credit this can sometimes be used to reduce the overpayment
Any overpayment will be offset against the correct amount of housing benefit you should have been awarded (your underlying entitlement).
In order to work out your underlying entitlement you will have to provide full details and evidence of your actual income and circumstances for the period of the overpayment and do this within one calendar month of first being told about an overpayment.
How to contact us
Tower Hamlets operates a centralised benefit claims processing service and a dedicated benefits call centre where all postal, email and telephone enquiries should be directed. Home visits can be arranged if you are housebound and do not have anyone who can help you.
Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
Tel: 020 7364 5000
Fax: 020 7364 7048