When a receiving parent gets paid money they are not owed, they will have an overpayment.

How an overpayment happens

An overpayment occurs when a receiving parent gets paid money:

  • they were never entitled to, or
  • are no longer entitled to

Overpayments usually happen when:

If you don’t agree with a decision we’ve made that changes your assessment, you can object. You can’t object to our decision to create an overpayment.

Read more about objections to child support decisions.

Changes of circumstances

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

If you’ve paid or get too much child support, make sure we have your correct details. This is so we can contact you. You should do this even if your child support case has ended.

To update your details:

If your case has ended, you may not be able to access our online services. If you can’t update your details online, please call us.

What happens if you get too much child support

If the 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.  

We’ll contact you first if you have an overpayment. We’ll give you information about the overpayment and how you can pay it back.

If there’s a reason you can’t pay the money back, contact us to discuss your situation.

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

We can’t refund the overpaid money to the other parent until you repay it.

Repaying an overpayment

Sometimes you may still get child support from the same parent who overpaid you. If this happens we’ll take the overpaid amount from your ongoing entitlement. If this will cause you financial hardship, please call us to discuss.

You can also pay by:

  • Bpay ®
    • Biller Code: 201509
    • Reference number: your 16 digit payment reference number with no spaces
  • bank transfer
    • Account Name: DHS Child Support
    • BSB: 092009
    • Account number: 116755
  • credit or debit card
  • mail
    • Send us a cheque or money order with your payment reference number to
      Department of Human Services
      Locked Bag 11
      A’Beckett Street
      Melbourne VIC 8006

You’ll need a payment reference number. If you don’t have one, call us and we’ll give you one.

What happens if you’ve paid too much child support

If the overpayment is legally recoverable by us, we’ll contact the other parent about the overpayment and their repayment options.

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.

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

How we recover overpayments

We have powers under legislation to recover overpayments. If you have to repay money, we may:

  • recover amounts from your child support, we’ll do this for you if you have an ongoing entitlement
  • ask your employer to deduct amounts from your pay
  • deduct part of your Centrelink payments

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. Call us before you lodge your tax return if this would cause you hardship.

When we can’t recover an overpayment

We can’t legally recover some overpayments.

We can’t recover overpayments that happened because:

  • you were never eligible to have a child support case or get payments, or
  • your case ended because a 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 to discuss and we’ll explain your options.

How an overpayment affects Family Tax Benefit

If you've been overpaid child support, this may affect your Family Tax Benefit payments. 

You can request a review of your payments. You must do this within 13 weeks of the overpayment arising.

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

Page last updated: 27 September 2018