How we recover overpayments

Last updated: 
20 January 2020

This page provides information on how and why the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) recovers overpayments of your pension.

Changes in circumstances

You are obliged to tell us about changes that will affect your pension or payments and the date on which the change occurred. It will always be better if you notify us immediately.

Service Pensioners, Income Support Supplement recipients and Veteran Payment recipients – Unless you are advised otherwise in writing, tell us about changes to your circumstances within 14 days (or 28 days if you live overseas or receive remote area allowance).

Age pensioners – Tell us about changes to your circumstances within 14 days (or 28 days if you live overseas).

Please tell us the date each change occurred.

If the change results in a reduction to your pension or payment, prompt notification might mean there is no overpayment, or that any overpayment is as small as possible. If the change results in an increase to your pension, the earliest the increase can be made is generally from the date you notify us.

Overpayments of pension

To provide you with your exact entitlement we are obliged to recover overpayments of pension or payment if they occur. Usually an overpayment of pension or payment will occur when you have not met your obligations, as described above.

Sometimes, even if you have met your obligations, an overpayment can occur because we have not been able to process the change before the next payday. We do our best to avoid this occurring, but it is not always possible.

Overpayment recovery

If your pension or payment is overpaid we will write to you and let you know about the repayment arrangements. In most cases an overpayment would be recovered by making deductions from your fortnightly pension until the full amount is recovered.

Other common methods of recovery might include repaying the overpayment in a lump sum, or offsetting the overpayment against, for example, any arrears of disability pension that may be owing to you. Any recovery action is subject to your capacity to repay. If the level of repayment causes extreme financial hardship we will discuss the options for repayment with you.

You can read more about your payment options on our how to pay back your debt with us page

Overpayment recovery – fortnightly pension deductions

Some general rules to determine how much will be recovered every fortnight apply:

  • amounts up to $26 will generally be recovered by making one deduction from the fortnightly pension or payment
  • amounts between $26 and $500 will generally be recovered over a 6 month period
  • amounts between $500 and $5,200 will generally be recovered over a 12 month period
  • amounts over $5,200 may be subject to other recovery arrangements, about which DVA would contact you.

*Note: - DVA takes into account your capacity to repay, by looking at things like your income and the size of the overpayment, before agreeing on the amount that should be repaid each fortnight.