19. Can a bank take Housing Benefit to pay my overdraft?
No, banks are not allowed to use Housing Benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.
You can protect your Housing Benefit payments by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.
You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account. For example, you may want to make sure that your Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.
You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your Housing Benefit is due, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from East Devon District Council are to pay for your rent only.