What happens when you’re overpaid

Understand what happens when you’re paid too much of your Centrelink payment and what you need to do if you have a debt.

The process when you've been overpaid


    1. We identify an overpayment and check if you owe us money

    We may notice you’ve been overpaid after you tell us of a change or complete a review.

    Once we know you’ve been overpaid, we check if you have a debt that you need to repay.

    You may not need to repay money if:

    • we can offset the overpayment by deducting it from your next payment
    • the overpayment is small and not cost effective for us to recover.

    If you don’t need to repay money, this is where the process ends.


    2. We contact you, explain why you owe money and what you need to do

    If you need to repay money, we’ll always send you a letter. We send this in the post or online to your myGov Inbox, depending on how you choose to get letters. Sometimes we may call or send you a text message.

    You can also see if you need to repay us money in the Money you owe service of both your:

    There are steps you can take if you:

    Otherwise you’ll need to start repaying the money.


    3. You repay or start repaying the money by the due date

    In response to COVID-19, if you owe us money you may not need to repay it right now.

    You can either repay the money in full or set up a payment arrangement by the due date. The due date is 28 days after we send you the letter.

    Sometimes we’ll recover money in other ways. This includes:


    4. When you haven’t repaid or started repaying by the due date

    If you haven’t started repaying money by the due date, and you’re not getting a Centrelink payment, we may:

    We only take these actions as a last resort if we haven’t heard from you. So please contact us before the due date if you can’t repay the money.

Help when you've been overpaid

If at any time you need help, information or support, you can:

You can also access information about your past Centrelink debts.

Page last updated: 8 January 2021