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Overpayments under the Universal Credit system - Will I have to repay the overpayment?

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

Last reviewed 26 September 2023

Will I have to repay the overpayment?

You will always have to repay overpayments under the Universal Credit system. It does not matter what caused the overpayment.

You can still argue that there never was an overpayment.

You can ask the if they will let you not pay back the overpayment. This is called 'exercising their discretion not to recover an overpayment'. They do not have to agree to this and if they refuse you cannot challenge this. You should give the DWP as much evidence as you can of how the recovery would affect you and why you think they should decide not to recover the overpayment. Even when given strong evidence and good reasons, it is rare for the DWP to choose not to make you pay back the overpayment.

Example

Peter’s employer made a mistake when reporting his income and because of this Peter was paid too much Universal Credit. It wasn’t Peter’s fault that the information was wrong but he will still have to pay back the overpayment.

Aaron is getting Universal Credit for two children. The write to him saying he has been overpaid because he is only responsible for one child. Aaron is actually still responsible for two children. He can challenge the overpayment.

If you have been paid too much New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and you had already claimed Universal Credit, you can ask for the amount you have to pay back to be reduced because you would have been able to get Universal Credit. It can be hard to work out how much Universal Credit you should have been getting and you should get advice to help you work this out.

If you have been paid too much Universal Credit because of a mistake about your savings that lasted for more than three months, the amount you have to pay back should be worked out as if your savings were going down.

If you are paid too much Universal Credit because you moved house but carried on getting Universal Credit for your old house, and if you rent both homes from the same landlord, you should ask to only pay back the difference between the cost for the old house and the cost for the new house.

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