What if your benefits have been overpaid?
If you don’t tell the relevant benefit provider that you’re being overpaid, you could be prosecuted for benefit fraud or fined . To avoid this, you should always let the benefit provider know as soon as possible if you think you’ve been overpaid.
Remember that the longer an overpayment continues, the more you’ll eventually have to pay back.
Dealing with Universal Credit overpayments
You can report an overpayment by signing into your Universal Credit account, or by calling the Universal Credit helpline.
If you’ve been overpaid benefits, repayments can be taken from you by one or more of the following means:
- Making deductions from your continuing benefit payments or wages through a direct earnings attachment
- Getting a court order to recover the debt
If you’re receiving benefits, overpayments are normally repaid by reducing your benefit payments.
DWP Debt Management and benefits overpayments
If the relevant benefits office believes you’re being overpaid (this is usually DWP debt management), they may send you a letter to let you know.
This letter should include details of:
- How much you were overpaid each week
- For what period you were overpaid
- The total that has been overpaid
If you think any of these details are wrong, you should contact the benefits office straight away to let them know.
You can call the DWP debt management centre if you want to query an overpayment, or if you want to discuss how you can pay it back. Their details are as follows:
- Telephone: 0800 916 0647
- Textphone: 0800 916 0651
- Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 328 1344
- If you need to call from abroad, the number is +44 (0)161 904 1233.
The DWP debt management centre is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 7:30pm and Saturday from 9am to 4pm.
Make sure when you call them to make a note of the time and date you called, and who you spoke to. You might need to have these details to hand if your request isn’t dealt with as you’ve requested.