Benefits Overpayment - What is a Benefit Overpayment?

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

Last reviewed 05 December 2023

What is a Benefit Overpayment?

This guide does not apply to overpayments of Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or Tax Credits. If you have been overpaid any of these benefits, please use our guide on Overpayments under the Universal Credit system or Tax Credits Overpayments

An overpayment of benefits occurs if you are paid:

  • A benefit you are not entitled to, or
  • More benefit than you are entitled to.

Some of the reasons why this may happen include:

  • You give incorrect information when you claim benefit
  • You do not report a change in your circumstances
  • The benefit office makes an administrative error
  • Information that you give the benefit office is not taken into account correctly.

How do I know if I have been overpaid?

You might realise that you have been overpaid because:

  • The amount you have received is incorrect
  • You have given incorrect information
  • You have not reported a change in your circumstances

You may also receive a letter from the benefits office telling you that you have been overpaid.

If you have been told that you have been overpaid a benefit, seek advice. You can find a benefits adviser or a legal adviser near you using our Find an Adviser tool.


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