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Benefits Overpayment - What should I do if I think that I have been overpaid?

Guide to Benefits Overpayments, what they are, why they happen and what you should do if you have been overpaid

What should I do if I think that I have been overpaid?

If you think you are being paid more benefit than you are entitled to, you should tell the benefits office who pay your benefits and explain why you think the amount is wrong.

If you are not sure whether you are getting the right amount of benefit, seek advice from a benefits adviser.

Don’t delay. The longer an incorrect award goes on, the bigger any total overpayment will be.

What will happen if I have been overpaid?

If the benefits office decides that your award of benefit is incorrect, they will:

  • Work out how much benefit you should have been getting

  • Work out how much you would need to pay back

  • Decide whether you will have to pay back the overpayment

  • Decide if they will apply a civil penalty

  • Tell you what your new award is and what you need to pay back.

You might get one letter telling you about the overpayment or you might get separate letters about your new award and the overpayment.

The calculation of your correct benefit, the amount overpaid, and the decisions whether it is recoverable and whether a civil penalty should be applied, will be carried out by your usual benefit delivery centre/benefit office. You have the right to appeal against one or all of these decisions if you think they may be wrong.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a number of special offices called debt recovery centres, which are responsible for collecting repayments of amounts overpaid.

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