Overpayments backdates and appeals

Last Modified October 28, 2013


Overpayments

An overpayment is caused when you have been paid more Housing Benefit than you are entitled to. 

Overpayment usually occur when you do not tell us about a change in your circumstances as soon as it happens, such as:

  • An increase in your wages or any other income
  • If someone moves in to your home
  • If you change address

Remember, you can help us to get your benefit right by telling us about any change in your circumstances straightaway.

Where an overpayment arises, the council will take action to recover the money.

Recovering your overpayment

We can recover the overpayment from:

  • The person who made the claim and in some circumstances their partner
  • Someone acting on behalf of the applicant, for example an appointee or someone with power of attorney
  • The person who has been paid the benefit, for example a landlord or agent.

We will write to you if you have been overpaid with full details, including:

  • The reason for the overpayment
  • The amount of the overpayment
  • What period the overpayment relates to
  • Whether the overpayment will be recovered, and if so, how
  • What to do if you disagree with the overpayment

Please remember overpayment of Housing Benefit can be recovered by:

  • Deductions from your current Housing Benefit award (clawback)
  • Deductions from certain social security benefits, for example State Retirement Pension, Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance.
  • An arrangement to make a weekly/ monthly payments to the council
  • Sending you an invoice for repayment of the money. 

 

If you are unhappy with our decision you can ask us to look at it again or you can appeal against it. If you wish to do this, you must write to us within 1 month of the date of our decision letter.

Making your payment

We can offer the following payment methods in order to help you make your repayments:

  • 24 hour automated payment line 01253 478751- Please listen and follow the instructions
  • Credit and debit card payments in person at the Customer First Centre
  • Payment by standing order
  • By cheque or postal order by post or in person at the Customer First Centre
  • By cash in person at the Customer First Centre
  • Instalments by agreement

 

If you are paying by cheque or postal order please remember to include your invoice number and make sure they are made payable to Blackpool Council.

Problems paying

The council has a duty to recover overpayment and will take all reasonable steps to do so.

If you ignore requests for payment, the council can refer your case to a debt collection agency or to the court . This could increase the debt because of added costs and may affect your credit rating.

If you have difficulty making repayments you can contact the following: 

  •  A benefit advisor on  01253 4778847
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau for independent advice on debt recovery proceedings or help with managing debt telephone  0844 499 4112 or you can contact the Blackpool office on 01253 308400.

Backdates

Housing Benefit

Your benefit will normally start from either the date you moved in to your property or the Monday after we get your completed claim form.

If you or your partner are over 60, we can automatically backdate your claim for up to three months from the date you apply, providing your circumstances mean you would have qualified earlier. 

If you are of working age you can ask for your claim to be backdated for up to 6 months. You must ask for this in writing and have good reason for not having made a claim before. If you did not apply because you were ill, a letter from your doctor would help to support your request.

You must tell us as soon as possible if you want your claim backdating. There is space on the benefit application form for you to ask for backdating of your claim and give your reasons. If you have already sent in your form and decide afterwards that you want to ask for benefit awarded to be backdated, you can send in a letter asking for this and giving your reasons.

Council tax reduction

For people of pension credit age

Your Council Tax Reduction claim will normally start from either the date you moved in to your property or the Monday after we get your completed claim form.

If you or your partner are over 60, we can automatically backdate your claim for up to three months from the date you apply, providing your circumstances mean you would have qualified earlier.

For people of working age

Your Council Tax Reduction claim will normally start from either the date you moved in to your property or the Monday after we get your completed claim form.

We are unable to accept backdate requests for Council Tax Reduction claims if you are of working age.

Appeals

Housing Benefit

When we have dealt with your claim for Housing Benefit we will send you a decision letter. If you think that the decision regarding your Housing Benefit entitlement is wrong you should get in touch with us within one calendar month of the date of the letter. When you contact us you can either:

  • Ask us to explain the reasons for our decision and/or if you want more information to help you decide what to do
  • Ask us for a written statement of reasons for our decision if we have not already sent you one. Ask us to look at our decision again. If the decision can be changed we will send you a new decision letter and, if you still do not agree, you will have one month to appeal from the date of the new decision. If we cannot change the decision we will tell you why and you will have a further month to appeal
  • Appeal against our decision. This can only be done in writing. An appeal can be made at any time within one calendar month of the date of the letter or the date of the new decision. If you have already asked for an explanation or for us to look at the decision again you can still appeal

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service deals with Housing Benefit appeals. All appeals will be sent to the the service who will arrange for an independent tribunal to hear your appeal.  

Council Tax Reduction

If you think that the decision regarding your Council Tax Reduction entitlement is wrong you should get in touch with us as soon as possible. When you contact us you can either:

  • Ask us to explain the reasons for our decision and/or if you want more information to help you to decide what to do
  • Ask us for a written statement of reasons for our decision if we have not already sent you one
  • Ask us to look at our decision again. If the decision can be changed , we will send you a new decision letter and if you still do not agree you have a right to make an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. We will give you more information about this with our decision.