Information in this DWP overpayment recovery guide is useful for claimants to check why and when repayments must be paid.
We list all the contact numbers and addresses you need and we explain how to make a repayment if you receive a benefits payment in excess of what is due.
As a claimant, it is important for you to be aware of the current rules about receiving welfare allowance money (e.g. when it's paid in error).
The recipient [you] would be responsible for making all the repayments. Furthermore, failing to do so can result in a penalty by DWP Debt Management if you get caught.
This part is important:
It is against the law to hang on to welfare money - even if it was paid to you by mistake. So, you must pay back the overpaid amount if it happens. In some situations, there may also be extra penalties to pay on top.
The claimant is the person held responsible for making a DWP repayment. In most cases you will owe the money to the Department for Work and Pensions debt management office.
Note: You can make an appeal if you dispute a decision made under benefit overpayment law. A different DWP debt recovery contact number handles the tax credits overpayment process.
Benefit overpayments law requires all claimants to contact their benefits office without delay in certain situations.
So, you must inform the office that deals with your particular benefit, any time you:
Claimants must inform their welfare providers about any overpaid benefits or allowances. It also applies to those received in error. Failure to do so can result in a civil penalty or a benefit fraud prosecution.
Note: This guide on DWP debt management for the overpayments of benefits is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).
The benefits office may let you know in writing if you have been overpaid. In this case, you would receive a Department for Work and Pensions debt management letter.
You should notify the office that deals with your overpayment without delay if you think there has been a mistake.
Note: You must appeal within one month if you want to challenge a benefits decision through a process called 'mandatory reconsideration'.
What happens if your housing benefit gets paid direct to your landlord? As a rule landlord responsibilities include paying back housing benefits overpayments.
Thus, your landlord may need to repay the money. But, the tenant may have to repay if it was their fault.
You can sign into your Universal Credit account through the GOV.UK website to report an overpayment or call the helpline.
Universal Credit Helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
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How do you make DWP repayments? You would need to pay the money back to Department for Work and Pensions debt management.
Note: You should notify their office if you think the amount you get is wrong - even if it is not your fault.
You should also contact them if it was your fault, such as if:
DWP reduce the regular amount for those who are still receiving benefit payments. The reduction would continue until the money has been repaid in full.
Notify the Department for Work and Pensions Debt Management center if you think they took too much from you for a repayment (contact details below).
Note: Contact the Department for Communities Debt Management service for benefit overpayments in Northern Ireland.
DWP can recover overpayments from a deceased person's estate (i.e. after they die). So, you should let the DWP Debt Management contact center know if the person who died owed a repayment.
But, contact 'Debt Management Recovery from Estates' instead, if the estate shows the person who died should not have received the benefits they were on.
DWP Debt Management Recovery From Estates
Telephone: 0800 916 0624
Next Generation Text Service (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 916 0624
Monday to Friday: 8am to 7:30pm
Saturday: 9am to 4pm
Note: The Department for Communities Debt Management service handles benefit repayments when someone has died in Northern Ireland.
The way you pay back an overpayment will depend on whether you are still receiving any benefits. They will help you to arrange a payment plan if you are unable to settle the debt in full.
So, what happens in circumstances where you no longer receive welfare? In this case, they will ask you to make payments to the DWP Debt Management address.
Use DWP bank account details to make an online payment. Remember you need to quote the reference number showing on your letter.
What if you have gone abroad? Use these details if you are making a payment to DWP from an overseas account.
Contact Debt Management DWP to set up monthly repayments by Direct Debit or request a paying-in slip for cheque or cash payments.
DWP Debt Management Phone Number
Telephone: 0800 916 0647
Textphone: 0800 916 0651
Outside the UK: +44 (0)161 904 1233
Monday to Friday: 8am to 7:30pm
Saturday: 9am to 4pm
UK free numbers and paid call charges.
FREEPOST Debt Management Address
PO Box 47 Camberley GU15 9ZN
You may see a bank statement entry for 'Cent Rec Group DD'. This code stands for 'Central Recovery Group Direct Debit'.
As a rule, it shows that you are paying the Department for Work and Pensions. In most cases, it will be to recover an overpaid benefit that you may have received by error.
What if you cannot pay back the money that you owe or you fail to contact the DWP Debt Management contact centre?
As a rule, they will forward your case to independent debt collection. In these situations, you should deal directly with the independent debt collector to arrange a method of repayment.
One of these independent suppliers will send you a letter. It informs you that the role of debt collectors acting for them is legal and on behalf of the DWP Debt Management team.
Note: In some cases, Debt Management DWP might make benefit debt deductions from an employee's pay through a 'Direct Earnings Attachment' by asking an employer to deduct money from earnings.
Note: The YouTube video provides useful information on defending a claim of benefit overpayments when you are not responsible for making the error.
Benefits Overpayments Rules in the United Kingdom