Council Tax - benefit overpayments
also known as: Overpayments.
Advice and information if we have paid you too much Council Tax benefit.
What is an overpayment?
An overpayment is when we pay you an
amount of Council Tax benefit, but you were not entitled to
receive either some or all of it. If we have paid you too
much benefit, we will usually ask you to pay back the amount you
have been overpaid.
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.
It is the Council’s policy to pursue all overpayments that are
The Council may also decide to take criminal proceedings in
respect of fraudulent overpayments.
How do overpayments happen?
When you claim Council Tax benefit or
have a change in your circumstances, we work out your benefit and
make every effort to make sure payments are accurate.
In some circumstances, we may have to work out
your benefit again because you have had a change in circumstances
or we have found we have made a mistake. If your benefit goes down
and we have already paid you a higher amount there will be an
overpayment. Some examples of why an overpayment could have
- You may have forgotten to tell us that your
income has increased, for example, you have had a pay rise, or your
tax credit award or pension amount has increased.
- Somebody may have moved into or out of your
- You may have moved out of your former home
and not told us.
- You may have started work or changed
- We may have made a mistake and corrected it
- There may have been a short delay between you
telling us about a change and us changing your benefit
You MUST tell us about any
changes and not rely on anyone else to do it for you.
If we pay you too much benefit by mistake this
can be recovered if we think it was reasonable for you to have
known about it.
If we pay you too much benefit because you did
not tell us about a change in your circumstances then we will
always recover the overpaid benefit.
How do we recover overpayments?
If we overpaid your Council Tax benefit, we
will add the amount of the overpayment to your Council Tax bill.
Our Council Tax department will collect the overpayment by
increasing your monthly payments.
Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice
any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the Council in
respect of fraudulent overpayments.
What can I do if I cannot afford to repay the overpayment?
Overpaid Council Tax benefit is usually taken
back directly from your Council Tax account. You will receive a new
Council Tax bill with more to pay each month.
If you have a problem paying Council Tax you
must contact us to make an arrangement.
If you have a problem
paying the instalments asked for see Debt help and
advice for further information.
If you don’t pay or contact us, we may issue
you a court order or send bailiffs to recover the amount you owe.
We will add court costs to the amount you owe us.
How can you help?
To avoid overpayments make sure you always
give us correct information, and report any changes in
circumstances as soon as possible.
For more details please see Housing and Council Tax benefit change in
What can I do if I do not agree with the overpayment?
If you do not agree with an overpayment, or
are not sure about it, you can ring us on 0845
6006400 and ask us to explain the decision.
The claimant can ask for a review of a
decision to calculate an overpayment.
Any such request should be made within 1 month
of the decision notice.
If you want to ask for a revision because you
do not agree with the decision see the information page Housing and Council Tax Benefit appeals and
Northumberland County Council
Telephone: 0845 6006400
Fax: 01670 620098