We are currently issuing automated telephone calls, text messages and emails to customers with outstanding Housing Benefit Overpayments. Messages will be received by customers after we have issued you with an invoice requesting repayment.
Why are we undertaking this?
We are proactively contacting customers to prevent further action being taken towards the recovery of outstanding balances due to failure to repay the debt. Non-payment of Overpaid Housing Benefit can result in us registering the debt at Court and obtaining a County Court judgment to give us greater powers to recover the debt. Additionally, we may seek to recover this debt via other means such as via a Direct Attachment of Earnings, or Attachment of your Benefits.
Are the communications genuine?
The communications you will receive from Eastbourne Borough Council are genuine and will include details on how you can make a payment and how you can contact us if you want to set-up a payment arrangement. The communications will provide details and links to our online payment portal and automated payment line.
Examples of the messages you will receive are shown below:
The email you will receive will have a subject heading of Housing Benefit Overpayment. It will contain your reference number and will state the following:
You currently have a debt outstanding for your Housing Benefit Overpayment which could be subject to recovery action.
Please make a payment now to bring your account up to date.
You can pay online at www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/payments/pay-housing-benefit-overpayment/ and follow the link to online payments or you can telephone 0800 288 8097 to use our automated payment system. Payment can only be made by debit card.
To make sure you don’t miss payments in the future, why not set up a direct debit by calling 01323 415035 between 9am – 5pm and speak to an advisor.
You can find out about debt advice on our website at www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/moneyhelp
Please ignore this message if you have made a payment in the last 72 hours.
By Text Message
The text message will include your name and will state the following:
You currently have an outstanding matter with Eastbourne Borough Council. For details, please visit https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/ or call on 01323 415035. Please do not ignore this message.
By Automated Phone Call
The message will state it is from Eastbourne Borough Council and from the Housing Benefit Overpayment Recovery Team. It will advise you that we urgently need you to return our call on 01323 415035. It will also state the following:
Our office opening hours are Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm. If you would like to make a payment you can call our automated payment line on 0800 023 7080.
Please have your reference number available, and please note that payment can only be made by debit card.
Where we have details, we will send you a text message or an email with more information.
Alternatively, you can visit https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/payments/pay-housing-benefit-overpayment/ and follow the link to online payments.
To avoid further communications and possible recovery action please act on this now. Please do not ignore this message unless you have made the payment within the last 72 hours.
What about if you have doubts about the message you have received?
If you are in any doubt that the message you have received is genuine you can contact us on 01323 415035 where one of our advisors will be happy to assist you.
Our office opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm excluding bank holidays.
What about if I need some advice about a message I have received?
If you need some advice about a message you have received, you can contact one of our advisors on 01323 415035 and they will be happy to discuss the options available to you.
Alternatively, you can visit https://www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/benefits-and-grants/help-with-money-and-debt/ which details organisations that can assist you.