Overpayment of Housing Benefit

If you are paid Housing Benefit you should not have received, we will recover it.

An overpayment can happen for many reasons.  This includes where:

  • we were not told your circumstances had changed

  • we were not given the full facts of your case when your first applied

If the overpayment happens because of a mistake we made we may not expect you to pay it back. But, if we think you could have reasonably known you were being overpaid, you may have to pay it back.

You can read more in our section on:

Telling you about overpayments

When we identify that an overpayment has occurred, we will write to you with the details of:

  • how the overpayment happened;

  • the amount overpaid;

  • the period (dates) to which it relates;

  • the person from whom it will be recovered; and 

  • if you have another overpayment from a previous decision, the total overpayment outstanding.

We will also tell you:

  • what to do if you think the decision is incorrect; and

  • the timescales involved when requesting a review of the decision.

Fraud cases

If the overpayment was found as part of a fraud investigation conducted by the Department for Communities, you will have to pay this back.  This will not affect any other action in your case including proceedings in a criminal court, which may be taken in your case.

Repaying an overpayment

When we identify an overpayment we will work with you to arrange for its repayment. 

If you are an Owner Occupier

The Housing Executive will credit your Housing Benefit award directly to your rate account with Land and Property Services (LPS) and you will not receive any payments directly from the Housing Executive. 

If your Housing Benefit (Rates) and Low Income Rate Relief entitlement changes during the year, the amount you have to pay could increase or decrease.
If your rate account has been credited with too much Housing Benefit:

  • The Housing Executive will send the overpayment directly to LPS;
  • LPS will debit your rates account; and
  • LPS will send you a revised letter telling you how much you now owe and any repayment will need to be paid directly to LPS.

To make a payment towards you rates, please contact the LPS helpline by: 

Please do not make any payments to the Housing Executive if you have been overpaid Housing Benefit or Low Income Rate Relief as an owner occupier. 

If you live in the rented sector and are still getting Housing Benefit

  • we will deduct an amount from your ongoing Housing Benefit award

  • we will take a standard amount (currently) £11.55 per week

  • if the overpayment is as a result of fraud we will take (currently) £19.25 per week

If this deduction is causing you financial problems please tell us.  We will work with you to see if we can reduce the amount to one that you can afford to pay but over a longer period of time.  

If you live in the rented sector and no longer get Housing Benefit

  • You should arrange to repay the full amount immediately

If making a one off payment is not possible call us on 028 9598 1580 to arrange payment by instalments.  We offer a wide range of payment methods that will hopefully suit your needs.

Some are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ways to make a payment

Setting up your Direct Debit

There are three ways to set up a Direct Debit:

  1. You can contact the Housing Benefit Recovery unit directly on 028 9598 1580 where a member of staff will help you set up your Direct Debit over the phone.
  2. You can email the completed form to HB.RecoveryOffice@nihe.gov.uk
  3. Or you can also complete the Direct Debit form and return it to Northern Ireland Housing Executive,  29 Antrim St, Lisburn, Co Antrim, BT28 1AU

You can:

Download the Direct Debit form.

You can also pay through:

You can also pay through:

You can also pay through:

Allpay offers an automated telephone payment system that allows you to pay a bill from your landline or mobile telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call Allpay on;

Tel: 0330 041 6497

Just follow the simple steps to complete your payment. Remember, when using Allpay you must have your:

  • Housing Benefit repayment card; and
  • Debit or Credit Card number, expiry date and the three digit CVV (Card Verification Value) number

*You will need your Housing Benefit repayment card - which we will send to you - to pay this way.

Housing Benefit Recovery Unit use the Callpay system to process payments on your behalf.

The system allows you to make payment via debit or credit card for a Housing Benefit Overpayment.

You can contact the Housing Benefit Recovery Unit on:

A member of staff will help you make a payment over the phone.

If the only repayment option available to you is by cheque, please contact the Housing Benefit Recovery unit by:


Tel: 028 9598 1580


Housing Benefit Recovery Unit

29 Antrim Street                                                   


BT28 1AU

You can contact the Housing Benefit Recovery Office on:
Email: HB.Recoveryoffice@nihe.gov.uk
Tel: 028 9598 1580

A member of staff will provide you with our bank details and reference number details to help you make a payment through your bank.

For some payment methods, you will need your 19 digit payment reference number.

This payment reference number is linked to your Housing Benefit overpayment and will ensure your payment is received.

You can find this number on your overpayment invoice, any letters we have sent to you or your Housing Benefit Payment card.

If you do not have a Housing Benefit payment card or it has been misplaced, please email Lisburn Housing Benefit Recovery and we will send you a new one.

On the email you must confirm;

  • your name;
  • the address that you wish the Housing Benefit payment card to be sent to;
  • the invoice number; or
  • your National Insurance Number; and
  • your telephone number. 

Email: hb.recoveryoffice@nihe.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can contact us by:

Tel: 028 9598 1580 (the lines are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday).

A member of staff can take your details, and we can send you a new card.

A card will normally take between 7 and 9 working days to arrive by post.

Please remember this card cannot be used for making any other type of payments due to the Housing Executive.

If Housing Benefit was paid to your landlord

You must tell us about changes in your circumstances to avoid an overpayment.  

The law says:

"...if the information which resulted in the overpayment was known only to you and could not reasonably have been known by the landlord (for example an increase in wages, benefit changes, changes in household members etc.), then we must seek recovery of that overpayment from you, even where the payments of Housing Benefit were being made to your landlord."

You can read more in our section on:

Failure to make a repayment

If you do not arrange to repay an overpayment or keep to an arrangement to repay by instalments, then we will take compulsory recovery action.

We can:

  • contact your employer to start taking deductions from your wages, known as Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA)

  • arrange direct deductions from social security benefits which you may be getting; or

  • take you to court.

You can read more in our section on:

If you receive Housing Benefit again

You may have stopped getting Housing Benefit and then qualified to receive it again. We will cancel any repayment arrangements you had with us. We will then deduct the amount from your new award of Housing Benefit. 

The amount taken from your Housing Benefit will be at the set rate.

Managing Arrears

You must pay your landlord any amount recovered from your Housing Benefit for an overpayment. This will avoid an arrear on your rent account.

You may qualify for extra help with your housing costs, but if you are repaying an overpayment you will not qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up this difference.

You can read more in our section on:

The information in this section is for general advice only. 

Contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.

Find your nearest:

Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA)