Despite the situation many of us are in, the DWP are sending more letters than ever before.

So many of us are on social security benefits, which is the right that we have in the UK. 

However, sometimes these benefits get overpaid which put you in debt.

There will be certain actions to recover your new debt. In this post, I’ll cover all you need to know about why the DWP thinks you’re in debt along with answering some FAQs about how to deal with them.

It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

Deal with your debt today and feel better tomorrow.

What is DWP?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the UK’s biggest public service department.

It oversees and manages the pensions, welfare and child maintenance policies. The Debt Management team are like debt collectors, it’s their job to recover overpaid benefits.

It’s a very powerful department since it administers our pensions, disability and ill health benefits and also decides the working age of the people.

Don’t worry, here’s what to do!

You could get rid of DWP Debt Collectors by writing off some of your debt.

There’s 7 debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one can take years off your debt, but the wrong one can be expensive and drawn-out.

Start our calculator to find your best debt solution:

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This 4 question debt calculator will tell you if you’re eligible.

What is the total amount of your debt?

Why Would I Owe Money to the DWP?

You would owe money to the DWP if you have been paid a social benefit, and your circumstances change but you don’t tell them and therefore they continue paying you your social benefit. 

However, once they find out that there’s been a mistake and you have been overpaid, you might need to repay what you owe. The DWP Debt Management can also contact debt collectors who will help in recovering the debt owed.

It is advised that you let the DWP know right away if you are being overpaid or if your circumstances change.

What Does DWP Debt Management Do?

DWP debt management is a section of the Department for Work and Pensions which helps in recovering overpaid social security benefits.

It can also help us in recovering 

  • Unpaid Social Fund loans.
  • Advance payments, which include both short term and long term advance payments.
  • Housing benefits overpayments or tax credit payments that need to be reimbursed.
  • Benefits from estates of deceased customers that have been overpaid. This is done by the Estates Team.
  • Social security benefits can also be secured in compensation cases.

Customer support and contact are done in 6 different contact centres all over the UK. For the contact details either log on to or you can telephone 0800 916 0647.

Calling the DWP contact number would be a better option considering the bizarre circumstances caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

If you want to head over, the DWP offices don’t follow the Monday to Friday routine and are readily available 24/7, even on public holidays.

How Do I Contact DWP Debt Management?

If you’re conscious about the COVID-19 pandemic, you should know that the DWP Debt Management offices ensure that proper SOPs are followed and social distancing is maintained.

This means you can get the information and support you want without any obstacle.

By Phone

The DWP has a variety of jobs to do. This is why there are a lot of different phone numbers that can be called. The DWP phone numbers are listed in detail on the website

However, if you wish to contact the debt managers, the phone number is 0800 916 0647.

By Text

If you have hearing difficulties or are uncomfortable talking in person, you can also text at 0800 916 0651 for information and support.

By Letter

If you want to write a letter to the DWP debt management, you can write to their postal address or to the following address:

Debt Management (C)
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 2DF

All of their contact centres, except the compensation recovery unit, uses the given address.

By Email

Unfortunately, you cannot contact the DWP Debt Management office via your email address.

dwp debt management

How Much Can DWP Take for an Overpayment?

When you’re no longer eligible for any benefit you’re receiving and do not inform the Department for Work and Pension, you owe some money to them. The DWP could decide to take an amount from your benefit. The maximum amount they can take depends on your yearly earnings and whether you’re guilty of offence.

When making a decision, they consider a number of things. For benefits like income support and pension credit, the deduction rate is 5%.

However when dealing with Universal Credit, the deductions for overpaid securities can be 10% and can go up to 40% varying case from case.

Feeling like Chandler?

how to debt

Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best debt solution for you.

Answer the four questions now.


What is a DWP Debt?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recover debts for overpaid benefits. This could include unpaid social loan funds, tax credit overpayments as well as several other overpayments that need to be repaid.

Can DWP Write Off Debt?

Yes, the DWP can write off some of your debt by using your universal credit to pay off your benefit advances or overpayments.

How can I find out how much debt I owe DWP?

Contact the Centralised Attachment of Earning Payments (CAPS) office to find out how much you owe. If you can provide your case number when you call, DWP can also send you a history of all the payments you’ve made.

Why have I recieved a letter from DWP?

You will have received a letter from DWP if you provided them with incorrect information when making your benefits claim.

Can DWP recover overpayments?

The debt management department can definitely reclaim overpayments.

In fact, the DWP can request information as far back as 12 years. They might also demand additional information to point out if any mistake has been made.

However, during the coronavirus pandemic, the DWP stopped reclaiming overpayments due to social distancing protocols.

Can DWP check your Facebook?

People are worried that the DWP can access your Facebook for images and can later use these images as evidence in court. Well, they can.

The court allows use of evidential images and the source is not specified. This means that the debt management office can definitely access our Facebook, and they don’t even have to tell us.

What you can do is to recheck and make sure that the privacy settings are exactly how you want them to be, so that no unknown person can access your information.

Does the DWP debt management have an email address?

No, the information provided on the website does not include an email address. If you want to reach out, you can either call them, text them or write them a letter.

Can you ask the DWP for help?

If you’re thinking ‘We fall under the requirements of the social benefit, maybe the department should help us.’, then you need to provide them with all the information they need. If they think that you fall under the criteria, you’ll start receiving your benefit.

Would the overpayment recovery continue in times of COVID-19?

No, the debt management office announced that due to the pandemic, the recovery processes are halted and will continue after the risk has passed.

Wrapping it Up

Recovering overpaid social security benefits seems like a cruel thing to do but it is important that the department doesn’t exceed their budget. If you are overpaid, keep in mind that a genuine case might be underpaid because of it.

I hope this article was helpful for you. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and tell us on the email address provided. 

Despite the situation many of us are in, the DWP are sending more letters than ever before.

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*Note: This is a real life example based on a customers’ savings data in October 2020.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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