The DWP has profited by almost £5 million in the last four years by fining unpaid carers £50 each when they are found to have been overpaid. This is in addition to £400,000 in penalties paid by carers to avoid facing prosecution.  Carers who consider appealing are threatened with even higher bills if they do so. Yet, in over half the cases where the DWP is warned by an HRMC system that carers are over the earnings limit, the DWP chooses to ignore the warning and let the overpayments increase.  The level of DWP dirty tricks could reasonably be described as a war on carers and has echoes of the Post Office scandal.

One fifth of all carers who work part-time have been found to be overpaid because the rules around earnings are so complex and because the earnings limit was frozen for years, not keeping pace with inflation.

Last year alone, 34,000 claimants were found to have been overpaid, with 1,000 of those owing between £,5000 and £10,000.

As a result of the widespread overpayments, almost 100,000 carers have been subject to the £50 civil penalties between 2020/21 and 2023/24, according to a written Commons answer.  The penalties are in addition to repaying the full amount of carers allowance paid in the overpayment period.

This amounts to a profit of almost £5 million from fines imposed by the DWP without any court being involved.

In the same period 225 carers have been forced to pay an ‘administrative penalty’ averaging £1,850 per carer,  with the threat that if they do not pay they will be prosecuted for fraud. The penalties amounted to £417,000 in profits from carers for the DWP.  Again, this is in addition to repaying the overpayment and again, no court was involved in levying the fines.

The DWP also resorts to dirty tactics, threatening carers who consider appealing against an overpayment decision that they will end up having to pay back more if they do so.

The Guardian has highlighted the case of a woman who cares for her husband who has dementia and Parkinson’s. The claimant had mistakenly calculated her earnings on a monthly basis rather than four weekly and was ordered to repay £4,000 as a result.  The DWP warned her in writing that if she appealed the overpayment “the entire claim from the date it started will be looked at, which could potentially result in the overpayment increasing, if there are more periods where your earnings exceeded the allowable limits”.

HMRC have an automated system which informs the DWP when a carer’s earnings may have breached the limit, allowing the DWP to contact the carer and ensure a large overpayment does not build up.  Five years ago the DWP promised MPs that, because of this system, the number of large overpayments of carers allowance would cease to be a problem and so MPs did not need to concern themselves.

Yet between 2020/21 and 2023/24 the DWP received 343,000 alerts and only contacted 169,000 claimants leaving the other 174,000 claimants with the risk of having to repay massive overpayments.

Three former secretaries of state for work and pensions have called on the government to pause investigations into overpayments of carers allowance, the Guardian has revealed.  The Labour Party has said it will review the system of carer’s allowance payments if it wins power.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    John · 9 days ago
    I completed the 'consultation'.  It took me over an hour!

    It seems as though the questions are designed to lead people to answer the way they would like. They can then say that the consultation agreed with their aims!

    The worst question, as mentioned here by other members, is Question 18, asking us to rank ten various costs such as food, energy (heating), medication, equipment and aids, etc.
    The raknings that appear by default are not in alphabetical order, and have clearly been placed that was deliberately - with those items at the top of the list being the ones which they want to show as the highest priority. 

    Their 'Top 3' are Equipment and Aids, Medication and Medical Products, Personal assistance.  Low and behold, it's eqipment and aids that they want, because they wish to replace cash payments with vouchers or items from a 'catalogue'.  And Medication is mostly already covered by NHS (apart from actual prescription costs, of course).  Personal assistance can be already covered by a Carer, or the NHS or local authority.

    They clearly want local authorities and the NHS to replace the cash payments of PIP, with the rest covered by items from a catalogue, or by vouchers!

    So, if people do not answer Question 18 at all (or refuse to take part in their 'ranking game'), then their rankings are the ones which appear in the final submitted answers!!

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    ClaireyR · 10 days ago
    My husband has just had a letter to say he has been over the earnings limit, and they had decided to fine him nearly £5,000! He tries to be as meticulous as possible where his earnings are concerned, and knew that he hadn’t gone over the limit more than a couple of times. (The only time he had was when he had been given a back payment of wages)Thankfully he was able to go right back to 2021 when his claim began, and show them all of his payslips! What they had done, had been taking into account all of his car mileage payments as well as his payments. Despite this clearly being stated, car mileage on his payslip. He is waiting to hear about his mandatory reconsideration. In the meantime, of course, his payments have stopped. I wonder how long they are going to punish him before starting up his allowance again? 
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    Alison Ryan · 10 days ago
    what an stupid list of prorosals in regard to pip vouchers ,claim backs etc dont they realise if this is all implemented its just making more work for themselves in the dwp .I personally have epilepsy 2x forms are vouchers going to pay for transport to get to my hospital appointments as i dont drive an feel stressed being on my own for any length of time so would need to get there and back asap. But if your application for pip get refused dig your heels in and ask for a M/R .This is what i did in relation to the daily living award .The only letters i had were that they had my letter and it was still being assest .Then before christmas i had a phone call wanted a few more details .I thought it was strange that they asked was a vulnerable should i get a large amount of money .low and behold i got £3200 money back dated and the standard daily living award then a oouple ofweeks later i  received the monthly amount a was amazed .My dog need to have an operation so it was paid for until i got the insurance cheque back , so dont give up thats just what they want 
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    lesley · 11 days ago
    Rich kids from private schools to Eton College onto Oxbridge straight into the government.  Never known hardship, never even walked in our shoes. Private health insurance, no waiting lists for them. Out of touch completely!
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      DIXIE · 2 days ago
      @lesley Your absolutely spot on.. Never had to have to eat beans.. Although sunak doesn't know the price of beans let alone have to live on them.. They are also trying to push the carers scandal like they did with post office scandal under the carpet those poor people are and save the country hundreds off millions...... 
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      MrFibro · 10 days ago
      @Al Or aristocrats and royals too.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      MrFibro · 10 days ago
      @lesley Yup Etonians @ their finest.  
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      lesley · 10 days ago
      @Suzanne
      Thanks Suzanne, I do know that civil servants are not rich.  My neighbour is a civil servant and she lives in a council flat.  Also the my aunt was one and lived in rented property.
      You work very hard and I appreciate that. I was referring to many of the politicians in the government now.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Suzanne · 10 days ago
      @lesley Civil servants aren't rich, the ones who process the benefits anyway. I worked there 20 years and was earning just above the minimum wage 
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    Dixie · 11 days ago
    Thugs in suits another injustice to the poor. What happened when the government bought PPI from there mates nothing they seem to be above the law. Take take take. Or should I say STEAL STEAL STEAL TOTALLY INJUST but they need to claw the money back to pay for their own mistakes........ 
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      MrFibro · 10 days ago
      @Dixie Yes like Liz Truss's mistakes.  She's bowling around as if she's innocent of trashing the British economy.  Best of it she's rewarded over 100k per year for life for her bullsups.  And has the gaul to come out of the woodwork and say ....it's not my fault !!!

      Tories @ their finest, it never ceases.
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