What happens if you don't pay a benefit invoice?

If you have financial problems and can’t pay your invoice in one go, you should get in touch with the Recovery Team as soon as possible. You can then discuss your situation and the repayment options that may suit you best.

If you don’t pay your invoice and don’t get in touch with the Recovery Team, the council will be obliged to pursue recovery of the debt by one of the following methods:

  • Recovery by deductions taken from other DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) benefits you may currently be claiming or may claim in the future, for example Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or the State Retirement Pension.
  • Recovery by deductions taken from Housing Benefit entitlements you may receive from another council, if you move out of the Brighton & Hove City Council area and make a new Housing Benefit claim elsewhere.
  • Recovery by deductions taken from any future Housing Benefit entitlements you may receive from Brighton & Hove City Council if you make a new claim.
  • Recovery by referring the debt on to an external debt collector to visit you at your home address.
  • Recovery by deductions taken from your salary (Direct Earnings Attachment). 
  • Recovery by court action.  The HB Recovery Court Team uses a range of enforcement methods through the courts.  Court action normally results in court costs being added to the existing debt. Interest may also be charged on balances owed to the council.

If you do have financial difficulties or debt problems, try not to ignore them in the hope they’ll go away – they won’t.

If you contact the council’s Recovery Team early on, they can help you set up a repayment plan that you can manage, based on your ability to pay.

Next steps...


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