An overpayment is an amount of housing benefit/council tax support that has been paid but for which there is no entitlement under Government regulations/Torridge District Council Policy. This applies to housing benefit and council tax support, although the methods of recovery may differ between the two.

This section includes details of how overpayments arise and how they may be recovered.

An overpayment normally occurs when you do not notify us of a change in your or your partner's circumstances and a recalculation of your entitlement means that you have been paid too much housing benefit/council tax support, such as:

  • Your income or capital has increased e.g. tax credits; wages; state benefits
  • Somebody may have moved into your home
  • You may have moved address
  • You may have started work or changed jobs.

The benefits team must be informed, in writing, of any such changes.  This should be done immediately however, you do have one calendar month from the date of your change in circumstance to provide us with information.  However, the earlier you get the information / evidence in to us, the sooner your benefit/support will be corrected.

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.

If an overpayment occurs we will write to you, giving full details of the overpayment.

This letter will include:

  • The cause of the overpayment
  • The dates and the amount of the overpayment
  • Who recovery of the overpayment will be sought from

What you can do if you disagree with the overpayment


A landlord can only request a review where recovery is being sought from him personally; that is, where an invoice for payment has been issued to him, or a deduction is being made from the benefit he receives for one of his tenants in order to recover an overpayment owed by the landlord.

If a landlord habitually fails to repay overpayments that are recoverable from him, the Council can decide that the landlord is not a 'fit and proper person' under the Housing Benefit Regulations, and can refuse to make direct benefit payments to that landlord.

Overpaid Council tax support will be debited back on to your council tax account, which will increase the amount you have to pay.

If you require any further information please contact the benefits team.