Overpayment recovery

The rules on recovery of universal credit overpayments are included in the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013 (SI.No.384/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.


Section 71ZB of the Social Security Administration Act 1992

Provides the Secretary of State with discretion to recover all universal credit overpayments, sets out the general rule that recovery is from the person whom benefit was paid, and sets out the different means of recovery.

Person from whom recovery can be made

Regulation 4 of SI.No.384/2013

Includes provision for the general rule that recovery is to be made from the person who was paid benefit, while also being recoverable from others such as appointees, third party payment recipients and landlords in some circumstances.

Overpayments due to capital

Regulation 7 of SI.No.384/2013

Sets out that when an overpayment is in consequence of capital, a person’s capital can be reduced by a specified amount of universal credit overpaid in certain circumstances.

Offsetting underpaid universal credit

Regulation 8(3) of SI.No.384/2013

Sets out that overpaid amounts of JSA or ESA can be reduced by an amount of universal credit where a claim subsists.

Overpayments in consequence of moving home

Regulation 9(1) of SI.No.384/2013

Sets out that overpayments of housing costs for a former home may be offset against housing costs liability for a new home in certain circumstances.

Recovery amounts

Regulations 10 and 11 of SI.No.384/2013

Set out the rules for recovery of overpayments from universal credit including in relation to maximum deduction rates and cases involving offences or payment of a penalty.

In Northern Ireland, section 69ZB of the Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 and SR.No.224/2016 make provisions that are largely equivalent to those in Great Britain.

DWP staff guide on gov.uk

Benefit overpayment recovery guide

​Provides guidance on overpayment recovery practices for all benefits, including guidance in Chapter 8 on how to request write-offs and waivers.

DWP guidance published to parliament.uk


Sets out the DWP’s approach to recovering all universal credit overpayments and information on deduction rates, fraud cases, who it seeks recovery from, and Debt Management practices.

Advice for Decision Making

​Chapter D1

Includes further guidance on recovery of universal credit overpayments.

High Court

[2023] EWHC 233 (Admin)

High Court rules that DWP decision not to waive recovery of universal credit overpayment caused by official error was unlawful

Upper Tribunal

[2018] UKUT 332 (AAC)

Cause of universal credit overpayment irrelevant to its recoverability and no right to appeal against decision to recover.