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
  • 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

Underlying entitlement

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.

Benefits Service
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent
London
E14 2BG

Tel: 020 7364 5001        
Fax: 020 7364 7048

Email: benefits@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Personal callers should visit their nearest One Stop Shop to hand in claim forms, obtain receipts and have original evidence photocopied.