Policy Council Tax and Housing Benefit Fraud and Compliance Strategy

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3. Housing Benefit Civil Penalty

A Civil Penalty (CP) of £50 can be imposed on customers who receive an overpayment of Housing Benefit (or Council Tax Benefit) caused by either:

  • negligently making incorrect statements, or
  • failing without reasonable excuse to provide information or disclose changes in their circumstances.

This penalty is for cases of claimant error where the overpayment is wholly after the date of commencement of The Social Security (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012 No. 1990) of 1st October 2012 and where the recoverable overpayment, which results from this negligent act or failure, is above £65.

In the case of a joint claim only one penalty will apply. Either member of the couple might receive the penalty, subject to limitations. In the case of a negligent statement it will not apply to the person who did not make the statement if that person could not reasonably have been aware of the other person’s negligence in making the incorrect statement.

The CP will be recovered by raising an invoice, if there is on-going Housing Benefit entitlement weekly deductions will be made from this payment to repay this.

A customer can appeal about the decision to impose a CP in the same way as any benefit decision, and within one month and up to a maximum of 13 months for Housing Benefit or at any time for Council Tax Support appeals, with appeals being dealt with by the Tribunals Service.