Help if you’re struggling with payments to DWP or HMRC

Do I need to do anything?

If the repayments were deducted from your benefits, you don’t need to do anything as they’ll restart automatically.

If you’ve made the repayments through online banking, Direct Debit or standing order, you’ll need to set them up again.

What if I can’t afford the repayments?

If your circumstances have changed, perhaps you’ve lost your job and you can’t afford the same repayments, it’s important to act.

If this is your only debt

If your future income is uncertain and you don’t have enough to live on because of the repayments, you can ask for them to be reduced.

If you’re repaying a Universal Credit advance payment, call the Universal Credit Helpline or log into your online account and add a note to your journal asking for your repayments to be reduced. The repayments can also be deferred in some circumstances.

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If you’re repaying any other benefit or tax credit debt, contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Debt Management contact centre.

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If you have other debts

Benefit debt is classed as a priority debt. This means the consequences of not paying it off can be more serious than others. Other priority debts include rent and mortgage arrears, overdue energy bills and unpaid Council Tax and TV licence bills.

If you’ve missed more than one payment or are juggling other debts, it’s important to pay them off in the right order as some are more urgent and some creditors have more power than others.

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How to challenge an overpayment decision

If you’ve been told about a new overpayment that you don’t agree with, you might be able to ask for the decision to be looked at again and appeal against it.

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Extra support if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing

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Having mental health issues might mean that you struggle to make the best money-based decisions for you, as well as act on them.

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Remember, if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing, it’s worth getting in contact with your bank, building society, lender or whoever you owe money to, to discuss your options.

However, picking up the phone and talking about your problems is often easier said than done when you’re struggling with your mental health. 

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Most places that you owe money to have policies about supporting you if you’re vulnerable. But they can’t help you unless you ask.

For some general tips on how you can manage your mental health check out Rethink’s guide. It covers everything from setting a budget to getting help if you, or someone you care about, is having a mental health crisis.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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