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Protecting your benefit payments from your bank

Find out how to protect your benefit payments from being used incorrectly by your bank.

Housing benefits

You can tell your bank to only use your housing benefit payments to pay rent. This is called a first right of appropriation of funds order.

Banks are not allowed to use any benefit to pay an overdraft.

Other financial support

This protection can be used on other financial support you get from us. For example, job seekers allowance or self-isolation one off-payment.

It is up to you how the bank uses these payments. Contact your bank to tell them how to use them.

How to ask for this protection

To tell your bank how to use the payments you should:

  • write a letter to your bank at least seven days before your payment is due
  • be clear about what each future payment should be used for
  • include the approximate date of the payment and the bank account number that it will be paid into
  • keep a copy of this letter
  • ask your bank for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.

Example letter

You could adapt the below to send to your bank:

On or around August 20th, and every 2 weeks after, my housing benefit will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £75 standing order payable to my landlord, Mr Smith on the 25th of the month.

Cancelling payments

You need to tell your bank if there are payments which you no longer want to pay from your bank account.

The above protection (the first right of appropriation) does not stop the bank from paying other items. If you cannot pay them you may be charged by your bank.

Payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.