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DWP Debt Management

Benefits overpayments

Benefits overpayments are when The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) give you more money than they should. This could be because:

  • They made a mistake
  • They have the wrong information

DWP Debt Management is part of the DWP.

What are benefits overpayments?

Benefits include Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.

You may be overpaid if:

  • You give the wrong information when you apply
  • You do not tell the DWP when something changes
  • The DWP makes an administrative error
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What if your benefits have been overpaid?

Always tell DWP if you notice more money than you were expecting.

Not telling them risks you:

  • Having to pay a fine
  • Being charged with benefit fraud

The longer they overpay you, the more you owe them.

You have to pay it back at some point.

Universal Credit overpayments

Report it by:

The DWP can make you repay by:

  • Taking money from your future benefit payments or wages
  • They need a direct earnings attachmentto do this
  • This is usually if you are still on benefits
  • Getting a court order to recover the debt
  • This may mean bailiffs contact you

Letters about benefits overpayments

You will get a letter if the benefits office thinks they overpaid you.

This letter should include:

  • How much you were overpaid each week
  • How long you were overpaid
  • The total that was overpaid

Contact the benefits office if any details are wrong.

Contacting DWP Debt Management

  • Telephone: 0800 916 0647
  • Textphone: 0800 916 0651
  • Relay UK: 18001 then 0800 328 1344
  • Type what you want to say if you cannot hear or speak on the phone
  • Phone from abroad:

The DWP debt management centre opening hours are:

  • Monday to Friday
  • 8am to 7:30pm
  • Saturday from 9am to 4pm

Keep note of when you call and who you speak to.

You might need these details if you are not happy with how they treat you.

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What happens if I do not repay my benefits overpayment?

If you don’t repay what you owe, you may be subject to court action. If this happens, you should seek debt advice immediately.

What if I’m struggling to pay back my benefit overpayment?

Always call DWP to explain if you cannot pay.

Your options are:

  • Offer to pay what you owe in stages
  • Share a budget with them
  • Show what you can afford to pay
  • Use the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form
  • If you have a mental health issue
  • Apply for Breathing Space
  • Get up to 60 days without contact from them
  • This gives you time to get help
  • Tell them if you cannot cover living costs
  • This is if you cannot afford things like food or heat
  • You may not have to pay right now

If they agree:

  • They will write to you
  • You will not need to pay them back

If they do not agree:

  • You will need to pay them
  • They may agree to a lower payment arrangement

How long can I be chased for benefits overpayments?

There is no time limit, because they do not need to go to court to get the money back.

Apply for a hardship payment loan if you cannot afford:

  • Rent
  • Food
  • Other living costs

Can benefit overpayments be written off?

Sometimes. But this is usually only if:

  • A long time has passed
  • This means the debt is statue barred
  • The DWP thinks it hurts the health and wellbeing of you or your family

The DWP would share why they decided to do this.