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overpayment of housing benefit (official error)


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Hello, I am new to this site so please bare with me.


I received a letter from my previous council one month after moving out of the borough claiming I owed them £734.97

This consists of two overpayments. The first was made known to me two weeks after making my claim which was may 2013 . This was the first time I had ever applied for benefits and they agreed to backdate it from November 2012 because thats when my daughter was born. They sent me a letter on the 15th may (after I handed in all correct documents on time) saying I was successful in my application and they payed me my benefits. Then a few days later I got a letter saying they needed more information, so I sent the correct documents they asked for and thats when I received a letter stating they had over payed me by 500.

The reason I did not dispute this was because I was suffering from severe post natal depression at the time and I could not think straight so I payed back some of what i owed through my existing benefits. I also find the documents explaining how my benefits is worked out very confusing.

The 2nd overpayment was discovered in July

So anyway to cut a long story short, I left the borough in September 2013 and got an invoice for two overpayments.

I then wrote a letter of appeal which actually went quite well because they admitted to making mistakes and they said this

"On receipt of your appeal I have checked the decision of the 23rd August abd found the decision did not take into account:

Your partners employment ceasing in july

Your partner having no income

The above errors have been rectified and created a housing benefit UNDER PAYMENT of 391.80 which has been offset against your overpayment"

Now I am happy they realise the mistake with the 2nd overpayment. But for the first overpayment they are saying that the reason they paid me my benefits without requesting all the infor they needed was because they sent me a letter saying it was a provisional assessment based solely on the information given at the time and that further evidence may be needed to make sure my entitlement was correct! I never received anything of the sort. I cannot believe they would pay me 2k in backdated benefits and then request more information like payslips.

They have now sent the case to a tribunal which im terrified about :(

Sorry if this doesn't make much sense im not very good at things like this.

Does anyone have any experience of this or something similar?

Has anyone been to a tribunal before?


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tribunals are nothing to be worried about


they are not as formal as courts, usually there are no more than 4 people sitting together in a room, these are: -

  • you
  • a rep from the council
  • the judge
  • the tribunal clerk

you can also bring somebody with you, this may be: -

  • a representative to help with your case
  • a witness to the events
  • somebody to provide you with support

the judge will go through the papers, and may for information from you or the council


the judge will then make a decision on the case


it is normally fairly informal


what are the grounds for your appeal?

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