View your account online

It is quick and easy to register to view your housing benefit online. You will need your housing benefit reference number to register. You will then be able to access: 

    » Details of any payments you have had 
    » When your next payment is due and how much it is
    » View any outstanding overpayment invoices 

View my account online

Click below to find out more information about payments and overpayments...

  • Ways to pay your housing benefit payment back

    • You have the choice of paying an overpayment back:
      » In a lump sum immediately, or
      » By instalments

      » Online - We will send you a barcoded invoice, it will have details on the back on how and where to pay it. You can pay it online in full.
      Make a payment online

      » Direct Debit - Please contact the Housing Benefit Recovery Team 01204 331660 to arrange a direct debit. 

      » By phone - You can repay using a debit or credit card by ringing 01204 331634, or if you prefer an automated service, you can ring 01204 520233 or 01204 520244. There is a minimum transaction of £5.00.

      » By post - You can send cheques or postal orders, made payable to Bolton Council to: The Assistant Chief Executive, PO Box 4, Town Hall, Bolton, BL1 1RX.

      Please quote your invoice number on the back of all cheques or postal orders.

      » By Easypay - Payments can be made at any Post Office or any shop displaying a PayPoint, payzone, or e pay logo. You can make payments using these methods using the barcode on the front of your invoice.

  • How is benefit paid?

    • Regular payments

      » If you are a private tenant you will receive your housing benefit every 4 weeks in arrears. These are set dates and these dates may not always match the date your rent is due to your landlord.

      » Payments are usually made direct to you. If you are a housing association tenant you can ask us to send payments direct to your landlord but if you are a private tenant, there usually has to be a good reason why you cannot have payments direct. Please complete an Application for Direct Payments and return it straight away if you this this applies to you.

      » If you receive payments by BACS, we will usually send payments on a Monday, so they should be in your account by Thursday of the same week. If you receive payments by cheque, we will post them out second class.

      Rents Arrears
      If you are more than 8 weeks in arrears with your rent, we will pay your housing benefit direct to your landlord. This applies to all tenants. You can report this online.

      If you are landlord and want to request payments direct, you can submit your request online
       Request payment due to arrears

       

  • Frequently asked questions about overpayments of benefit

    • A benefit overpayment is housing benefit that has been paid to you or a third party on your behalf to which you were not entitled.

      Overpayments happen when you have a change in your circumstances from a date you have already received payment for.

      If you are paid more council tax support than you are entitled to this will be taken back from your council tax account and you will receive a new bill.

      If you have a change of circumstances , it is important that you tell us straight away. You can report this change online.
      Report a change in circumstances

    •  

    • How can I prevent an overpayment 

      » If you know a change is going to take place, tell us in advance, or as soon as possible afterwards. You can report changes online.

      » If you are a landlord you must tell us of any change that is reasonable for you to know, for example if a tenant moves away.

      » Always check the notification letters we send you. If you notice a mistake with your benefit calculation or any other mistake contact us immediately.

      » If you report a change you should receive new notification letters, contact us if you do not hear anything.

    • How will I know if I've been overpaid?

      If your housing benefit is overpaid we will send you an invoice with a barcode on and also send you a letter giving full details of the overpayment. This letter will tell you
      » What caused the overpayment
      » The period the overpayment relates to
      » The amount of the overpayment 

      Please check the notification letter carefully to make sure that your income and other details are correct. If they are not, please contact us straight away.

      If your details on the notification are correct, please do one of the following:

      » make a payment; or
      » make an offer to repay your overpayment by instalments; or
      » contact us to discuss a payment plan.

      If you think that you will have trouble paying, please contact us straight away, we are here to help.

    • Who can the council recover the overpayment from?

      » You - We can recover the overpayment from the you, or someone acting on your behalf

      » Your landlord - Overpayments are not usually recovered from landlords unless they received the payment. We will also look at if they could have been expected to know they were being overpaid.

      We will look at each case on an individual basis and if we decide to recover the overpayment from you, you can appeal against this decision.

      » Council tax support - If you have an overpayment of council tax support an increase will be made on your council tax bill so that you can pay the money back gradually, although you can pay the whole amount if you wish. You will receive a new council tax bill once the overpayment has been calculated.

       

    • What if I don't make an arrangement to repay housing benefit?

      Failure to repay an overpayment may result in further action being taken. This could mean using one of the following methods:

      » Direct Earnings Attachments (DEA) - We may ask employers to deduct any Housing Benefit overpayments you owe from your pay.

      » Debt collection agency - we may ask a debt collector to visit your home to collect the debt on our behalf.

      » County Court Judgement (CCJ) -  A CCJ can affect your credit rating and you could be liable for any costs incurred.

      If you think that you will have trouble paying, please contact us straight away, we are here to help.

    • What if I can't afford to pay it back all at once? 
      • Still getting housing benefit

        »  On going housing benefit - If you are still eligible to receive housing benefit we can make deductions from your weekly entitlement. 

        » If we owe you benefit to pay for some other period, we may use the money to reduce your overpayment.

        » If we've been paying benefit to a landlord, we may ask them to repay the money. This could mean you owe more rent.

         
        » Financial hardship -  If you feel that the amount we are reducing your benefit by is causing you hardship, you can contact us and ask us to lower it. 

        You may find it useful to give us a breakdown of your income and outgoings. To do this please contact us for an income & expenditure form. We may ask for more details and depending on your circumstances a reduction may not always be possible.

      • Not getting housing benefit

        » Deductions from other benefits - We can also apply to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to make deductions from some state benefits.

        » Invoice - If you stop receiving housing benefit, we will send you an invoice.

        If you cannot afford to pay the money back at once, it may be possible to pay it back in instalments. An arrangement may be made to allow you to repay the overpayment weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
         
        In order to make an arrangement you will need to contact us. We will then usually ask you to provide us with your household income and expenditure, you and any partner's employment or benefit details and your offer of repayment.  You can do this by completing our income & expenditure form.  Once we have received this information we will then contact you with a decision. If you fail to make payments as agreed then further action will be taken against you.

      •  

      • Council tax support

        » Council tax support - If you are having difficulty in paying your council tax instalments you should contact us immediately. 

  • If you don't agree with an overpayment

    •  Please check the notification letter carefully to make sure that your income and other details are correct. If they are not, please contact us straight away.

      You can:
      » Ask us to explain it
      » Ask us to look at the decision again. This is called a reconsider. 
      » Appeal to an independent tribunal to look at the decision

      See more about how to appeal  

       
  • Extra help with your rent/council tax

    • If the benefit you receive does not meet you full rent or council tax charge, there are discretionary schemes which can help you if you can show you need extra help. Click below for more information or make an application online.
      Apply online

    • Discretionary help with rent 

      » Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are  a way of helping you if the amount of  housing benefit or housing costs in your universal credit you get is not enough to pay your rent.
      » There are no set criteria for deciding whether you can have a discretionary payment. We will look at each application carefully and consider your individual circumstances

    • Discretionary help with council tax support

      You could get extra help with your council tax if:
      » your council tax support does not meet your full council tax liability
      » you are affected by the changes introduced in April 2017

      To qualify for a discretionary council tax reduction:

      » you must be the person responsible for the council tax and
      » we must be satisfied that you need financial help

      The scheme is purely discretionary; there is no statutory right to a reduction in council tax.

            Housing Benefits

            Bolton Council

            P.O. Box 4

            Bolton

            BL1 1RX

            Telephone 01204 331590
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