Dealing with your priority debts

Benefit overpayments

​DWP may tell you that you have been overpaid a benefit, such as Income Support, and that they want you to pay this back. If you do not agree that you owe the money, you can appeal. The law on overpayments is complicated, so before deciding whether to appeal, contact your local advice centre or contact us for advice.

The DWP can make deductions from most types of benefits to collect overpayments. There are maximum weekly amounts that they can take. If this will cause you hardship, contact the DWP and ask them to take less. Use your budget summary and explain why the payments will cause you hardship.

If you are not on benefits but are working for a company with 10 or more employees, the DWP can recover overpayments from your wages. There are maximum amounts that they can take and you must be left with 60% of your earnings after normal deductions have been taken for income tax and National Insurance. If this will cause you hardship, contact the DWP and ask them to take less. Use your budget summary and explain why the payments will cause you hardship. Contact us for advice.

In some circumstances, the DWP will agree to write off the overpayment if your repayments are causing you hardship. This means you will not have to repay the overpayment. Ask your local MP or MSP to help.

Extra advice:

special rules

If your council says you have been overpaid Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, special rules apply. Different rules may also apply if the council says they have overpaid you as part of the Council Tax Reduction scheme. Contact us for advice.