Anne and Steve’s story

Successful appeal against Council demand for refund of mistaken housing benefit overpayment from retired couple

Anne and Steve, a retired couple, came to see us because they had been notified by Canterbury City Council that they had been overpaid housing benefit by just over £3000 in 2015/2016 and that they had to pay it back. CHAC helped them to appeal that they should not repay around £2,900 of this because they had not realised they had been overpaid. Canterbury City Council rejected their appeal, so we helped them to appeal to the First Tier Tribunal, which they won with the Tribunal ruling that £2938 of their housing benefit overpayment was not recoverable.

Housing benefit overpayments easily occur, and often without the knowledge of the recipients. The housing benefit system does not respond quickly to changes in circumstances, such as wages going up (or down) which affects the level of housing benefit entitlement. This can be particularly difficult for housing benefit recipients whose wages fluctuate from week to week for example due to undertaking overtime. And some recipients do not realise that they need to report all changes in circumstances.
— Paul Wilkinson, manager