The Accounts Receivable team deals with the repayment of overpaid Housing Benefits. We also deal with the collection of invoices for other council services, or Sundry Invoices.
Local authorities have a duty to recover overpayments of benefit for which there was no entitlement from tenants and landlords and, where necessary, take criminal proceedings in respect of fraudulent overpayments.
What if I am unable to pay my invoice?
If you find yourself unable to pay your invoice in full or have any queries regarding it, please contact Accounts Receivable on 01723 232399 as soon as possible to discuss your invoice and the repayment options available to you.
If you prefer to call in to the Customer First Centre, Town Hall, Scarborough, to discuss your account, a member of staff will be available between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday, and 9.30am to 5.00pm Wednesday, to assist you with your enquiry.
One of these independent debt organisations may also be able to help you.
About your overpayment
All overpaid benefit you are informed of is recoverable unless we tell you different.
If we decide that an overpayment is not recoverable you will be advised in writing. We may decide not to recover an overpayment if it was caused by our error. However, if you could have reasonably known that you were being overpaid we may still seek to recover the debt from you. An overpayment will be recovered from either you or the person we sent your benefit award to (e.g. a private landlord).
When an overpayment is created we will confirm, in writing, with you and any other person affected (e.g. your landlord) the reason the overpayment was created, the period it is for and whether we aim to recover the debt. This notice will also confirm whom we aim to recover the debt from.
There are standard rates of recovery that normally apply to deductions from benefit, however these will be reviewed if a person who is being asked to repay the debt can provide proof that the continued repayment at the rate suggested would result in undue financial hardship.
Are you having difficulty with repaying your overpayment?
You can complete an Income & Expenditure form if you think you are having difficulty in keeping up with the repayments you have been asked to make. This must be returned to Accounts Receivable, Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, YO11 2HG or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your last three months bank statements.
If you do not believe that the overpayment is correct and wish to ask for a reconsideration of the balance or to appeal, this must be done in writing. Please see Reconsiderations and Appeals for more information.
How will your overpayment be recovered?
If you are still entitled to Housing Benefit, you are still able to make payment of your overpayment in full by calling Accounts Receivable on 01723 232399. Alternatively we will reduce your benefit every week to recover the overpayment.
If you are not entitled to Housing Benefit, we will issue an invoice for the overpayment. If you cannot pay the full amount, we can arrange for you to pay it back in monthly instalments. Please contact us on 01723 232399 to arrange these instalments.
What will happen if you do not pay the invoice?
We may send you two reminders in case you have simply forgotten to pay, but if you still fail to pay or to make an arrangement to clear your invoice by instalments, we will have to take further action.
- Direct Earnings Attachment – This will allow deductions to be made by your employer directly from your wages to pay your invoice.
- Deductions From Housing Benefit – If your Housing Benefit entitlement becomes active following the issue of your invoice, we will write to you to confirm the deductions which will be made from your new Housing Benefit award.
- Department for Work and Pension Deductions – A request will be sent to the DWP to make automatic deductions from your social security benefit to recover the overpayment.
- Collection By Other Local Authority - If you have moved out of the area and are claiming Housing Benefit at your new home, we can ask another Local Authority to reduce your Housing Benefit every week to recover the overpayment.
- Debt Recovery Agents - We may refer the debt to the Council’s Debt Recovery Agents for them to enforce recovery.
- County Court Action - Further action may involve registering the debt with the County Court. We will issue a Pre-Court letter to notify you before such action is taken.