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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Tax Credits: mental health cases: overview


This guidance is for the recovery of Tax Credit overpayments where it is claimed that the customer, or one of the customers in a joint household, is suffering from a mental health problem.

The Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 defines a person with a disability as someone with a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities’. This definition should be used when considering the effect of the mental health problem on the customers’ ability to repay.

These cases should be dealt with locally. The number of cases received is small but due to their sensitivity they must be handled carefully and sympathetically.

In the majority of cases, the initial contact about a customer’s mental health problem will be from a third party on behalf of the customer, such as from a doctor or psychiatric nurse. Organisations such as MIND and Citizens Advice Bureaux can also be involved.

Note: Mental Health cases should be overseen by a Higher Officer or above.

Further guidance on speaking to customers with mental health issues can be found in DMBM585185.