Reasons overpayments happen

Overpayments happen when:

  • you tell us your situation has changed but your cheque has already been issued
  • you forget to tell us that your situation has changed
  • we make an error in your payment amount

If an overpayment happens you can respond to it before it becomes a debt. Once it becomes a debt, you’ll have to repay the benefits you were given that you weren’t eligible to receive.

How to prevent being overpaid or underpaid

  • Report changes in your personal, financial or medical situation to your worker right away.
  • Contact your worker if you see an overpayment in your monthly statement.
  • If you are not sure how to reach your worker, contact Income Support.

When overpayments happen

When an overpayment is assessed, you’ll be sent a Notice of Overpayment. You will have 30 days to file an appeal.

Contact your worker if you have questions about how the overpayment was calculated or how to submit a request to appeal the decision.

Overpayments become debts

When an overpayment becomes a debt, it means you must pay the Government of Alberta back for the benefits that you were not eligible to receive. The Government of Alberta will start collecting a debt when:

  • you sign a repayment agreement
  • 30 calendar days have passed since you received the Overpayment Notice and you haven’t:
    • signed a repayment agreement
    • filed an appeal
    • asked for more time to appeal
  • you file an appeal and 30 days have passed since:
    • you were asked in writing to reschedule an appeal hearing you were supposed to attend, and you haven’t rescheduled this hearing
    • the Appeal Panel has sent you its written decision

Debt collection

Debt is usually collected through a monthly deduction from your Income Support benefits.

If your Income Support file closes, you are still required to pay your debt. Income Support will send you a letter to explain how to make these payments.

If you do not make payment arrangements, your debt may be sent to a collection agency.


Contact your Income Support worker for all related Income Support questions.

If you do not know how to reach your worker, contact your local Alberta Supports or Alberta Works Centre.

Alberta Supports Contact Centre

To connect with the main Alberta Supports Contact Centre:

Hours: 7:30 am to 8 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Toll free: 1-877-644-9992

24-hour Emergency Income Support Contact Centre

Get emergency financial assistance to help with basic needs like shelter, food, clothing and transportation.

Hours: 24/7
Toll free: 1-866-644-5135
Fax: 780-422-9681