How to get your overpayment reduced
If you have been overpaid Housing Benefit there are some circumstances in which this could be reduced by "underlying entitlement".
What is underlying entitlement?
This is not an award of benefit, but a calculation of what you would have been entitled to had your benefit been assessed on the correct information. This happens automatically in some cases, but in other situations you have to apply to us.
For example, you receive an increase in your income, but forget to tell us until your claim is next checked.
When we assess your claim, we include the increased income from the date that it changed, and you are notified how much benefit you have been overpaid.
In this example you have already had your underlying entitlement calculated, because we know what your circumstances were for this period and are therefore able to calculate the underlying entitlement automatically. However there are times when we don't know what your circumstances were.
For example, your entitlement to Income Support stops, and the Department for Work and Pensions tell us that you have not been entitled to Income Support for the last two months. We have to stop your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit and work out how much you have been overpaid since your Income Support stopped.
However, if you had told us that your Income Support was stopping because you were starting work, we could calculate if you were still entitled to some Housing Benefit during this "overpaid period". This is called your underlying entitlement. This underlying entitlement would then reduce the overpayment.
How can I claim underlying entitlement?
You have to claim Underlying Entitlement within one calendar month of your overpayment. You have to provide all the details and proof of your income and circumstances during the overpaid period.
To apply for underlying entitlement please email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting underlying entitlement and attach proof of your income.
We will then be able to calculate if there is any underlying entitlement and then if we can reduce the overpayment. We can use the same claim form for any entitlement that follows on from this change in circumstances.