You can find out why we have overpaid you and how to appeal.

If we overpay your benefit, in most cases we will ask for the money back. The only exception is where it is our fault and you would not have known you were getting too much.

 If we tell you we have overpaid you, you can ask us why and appeal our decision.

Asking why we have overpaid you

If you'd like more information on how we have calculated the overpayment, you can ask us to explain our decision. This is known as a statement of reason and sets out how the overpayment happened and why we are asking you to pay it back.

You must ask us for this statement of reason within one month of the benefit decision letter you received from us about the overpayment.  If we receive your request after this time,  we will still respond with an explanation of how the overpayment happened.

You must make your request in writing by email or letter to us. Remember to quote your claim reference and full name.

Appealing an overpayment

If you think we should not be asking you to repay an overpayment, you have the right of appeal.

You must appeal in writing, either by email or by post. We must receive it within one month of the date we sent the overpayment letter to you. Remember to quote your claim reference and full name. In your appeal, you will need to state the reasons why you disagree that you should pay it back, or if the amount is wrong.

 If we receive your appeal after one month, we may not consider it.

For more information on appealing benefit decisions, see our appealing a benefit decision page.

Reducing an overpayment

If we have paid you too much benefit because you did not tell us about a change in your circumstances, we may be able to reduce the amount you owe.

We can look back over the history of the overpayment and review your entitlement.  To do this you must provide evidence of all your income, savings and investments for the period of the overpayment.

We will then assess the amount of benefit that you would have been entitled to if we had known your correct circumstances at the time.

If we award benefit for the period of an overpayment , this is called 'underlying entitlement.'  We will use the money to reduce the total amount of overpaid benefit - we do not pay this to you.

An example of how we can reduce an overpayment

John was claiming housing benefit and job seeker's allowance. On 3 January, John started work, but he didn't tell us straightaway. John continued to receive housing benefit as though he was still getting job seeker's allowance until 14 March. As a result, we overpaid John housing benefit by £1000 from 3 January to 14 March (£100 a week for 10 weeks).

John's wage for his job meant that he still qualified for some housing benefit for the period we overpaid him housing benefit. John sent in a housing benefit application form with proof of his wage for 3 January to 14 March. We calculated that John was entitled to £80 a week for this time, a total of £800. This reduced his overpayment from £1000 to £200.

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