Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance: Overpayments

Background

Overpayments usually happen when there is a change of circumstances but the Child Benefit (or Guardian’s Allowance) payments haven't been adjusted to match.

Where there is an overpayment, the Child Benefit Office will send out a letter explaining that Child Benefit (or GA) has been overpaid, by how much, why and whether the claimant has to pay back the overpayment. There should also be a separate letter which explains how to pay the money back.

Anyone who thinks they have been overpaid Child Benefit or GA but hasn’t received a letter should contact the Child Benefit Office to check.

If someone is overpaid Child Benefit (ChB) or Guardian’s Allowance (GA) and it is as a result of either misrepresentation or the failure to disclose information by the claimant, whether fraudulently or not, HMRC can recover the overpayment.

How to pay back overpayments

Usually, claimants are asked to pay back the money in a one-off lump sum, with large debts, there is the option to ask for a ‘Time to pay’ arrangement spread over a period of time.

However, in certain cases the overpayment may be recovered from ongoing awards of ChB and GA.

Process for recovery of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance overpayments from an ongoing award

Any letters sent will have a contact number for the claimant to ring to discuss the repayment options, including whether they will be put into financial hardship because of the amount they are being asked to repay by deductions.

More information about overpayments of Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Information about how to appeal can be found in our appeals section.

Last reviewed/updated 10 April 2018