The 63-year-old who was jailed with his wife Anne in 2008 for fraud appeared at Teesside Crown Court for a brief Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.
A judge has previously ordered he should repay £679,073 but the divorced Darwin, who is claiming benefits, has only handed back £122.
The Crown has now applied for him to repay more, as a pension has matured.
A hearing to decide the matter will be held in May.
Anne Darwin, now split from her husband, has repaid more than £500,000 under a separate Proceeds of Crime order.
John Darwin was reported missing in a canoe in the North Sea in March 2002.
His wife collected more than £500,000 in life insurance payouts, while he hid in their home, leaving their two sons to believe he was dead.
In December 2007, Darwin walked into a London police station, claiming he had amnesia.
His wife, who had fled with him to Panama, pretended to be shocked until a photograph emerged of them posing together after his supposed death.
She was later jailed for six-and-a-half-years for fraud and money-laundering.