Overpayments

Find out about child support overpayments and how to manage them.

How an overpayment happens

An overpayment happens when a receiving parent either gets paid money:

  • they were never entitled to
  • are no longer entitled to.

This usually happens when we get new information that changes a child support assessment for a past period.

You can’t object to an overpayment. However, you may be able to lodge an objection to the decision which caused the overpayment. If you can't repay the amount in full, you can make a payment arrangement by calling the Child Support enquiry line.

Changes of circumstances

You can help avoid overpayments by telling us as soon as your circumstances change. This includes changes to your contact details, care arrangements or income.

Make sure we have your correct details, even if your child support case has ended. This is so we can contact you.

To update your details use:

If you can’t update your details online, please call us on the Child Support enquiry line.

What happens if you get too much child support

If your overpayment is legally recoverable by us, you need to pay the money back. You need to do this even if your child support case has ended.

If you have an overpayment, we’ll contact you. We’ll give you information about the overpayment and how you can pay it back. Read more about Child Support Collect payment options.

If you can’t repay the amount in full, you can make a payment arrangement by calling the Child Support enquiry line. We can’t refund the overpaid money to the other parent until you pay it back.

If you don’t start paying the money back, we may recover the overpayment.

How we recover overpayments

Under legislation, we have powers to recover overpayments. Please contact us before the due date if you can't repay the money. If you have to repay money, we may:

  • recover amounts from your child support, if you have an ongoing entitlement
  • ask your employer to deduct amounts from your pay
  • deduct part of your Centrelink payments
  • work with third parties such as banking institutions.

We may also use all or part of your tax refund to repay the overpayment. This may still happen when you have a payment arrangement in place. If this would cause you hardship, call us on the Child Support enquiry line before you lodge your tax return.

When we can’t recover an overpayment

We can’t legally recover some overpayments.

We can’t recover overpayments that happened because either:

  • there was never an entitlement to have a child support case or get payments
  • the case ended because the paying parent is no longer a resident of Australia or a reciprocating jurisdiction.

You may have other options if we can’t recover the overpayment. Call us on the Child Support enquiry line to discuss and we’ll explain your options.

How an overpayment affects Family Tax Benefit

If you're overpaid child support, this may affect your Family Tax Benefit.

If needed, you can ask for a review of your Family Tax Benefit. You must do this within 13 weeks of the overpayment being created.

Read more about Child support and your Family Tax Benefit Part A.

What happens if you’ve paid too much child support

If the overpayment is legally recoverable by us, we’ll contact the other parent and ask them to pay it back.

If they don’t repay the money, we may take action to recover the overpayment.

Once we get the money back from the other parent we’ll refund it to you. You need to give us your bank details so we can do this. Do this online using your:

If you’ve paid too much child support but don’t want the money back, please call us on the Child Support enquiry line.

Page last updated: 22 March 2021