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Overpayments under the Universal Credit system - How is an overpayment recovered?

Read our guide to overpayments under the Universal Credit system and what to do about them.

Last reviewed 08 April 2024

How is an overpayment recovered?

When you have been overpaid benefits, the repayments can be taken from you by:

  • Making deductions from your benefit payments
  • Taking it out of benefits that are owed to you, such as arrears
  • Taking amounts directly out of your wages
  • Getting a court order for debt recovery.

Deductions from New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

If money is being deducted from your New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), the deduction should not usually be more than 40% of your award, rounded up to the nearest 5p.

Deductions from New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If money is being deducted from your New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the deduction should not usually be more than 40% of your award rounded up to the nearest 5p, excluding any components.

If you are struggling to manage with the deductions, you should get advice.

Deductions from Universal Credit

If you were overpaid Universal Credit as a couple and have now separated, you should each be expected to pay half of the overpayment.

If money is being deducted from your Universal Credit to pay back the overpayment, how much will be deducted depends on your circumstances.   

If you are receiving Universal Credit and have no earned income, the maximum amount that can be deducted from your Universal Credit for overpayments is 15% of your standard allowance. 

If you are receiving Universal Credit and have some earned income, the maximum amount that can be deducted from your Universal Credit for overpayments is 25% of your standard allowance. 

If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has decided that your overpayment was caused by fraud, 25% of the standard allowance can be deducted from your Universal Credit. 

All of these maximum amounts are monthly amounts.

You should still be left with at least one penny of Universal Credit each month after the deductions.

If you are struggling to manage with the deductions, you should get advice.

Deductions from wages

The maximum amount that can be taken out of your wages depends on how much you earn and whether you have been found guilty of an offence. You are usually left with at least 60% of your net earnings.

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