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DWP On The Warpath : CARERS In The Frame ! Sweep Nets 80,000+ ! Caught Up ? PLEASE REPORT ON THIS THREAD ! - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

DWP On The Warpath : CARERS In The Frame ! Sweep Nets 80,000+ ! Caught Up ? PLEASE REPORT ON THIS THREAD !

All about money
83 posts
Im hoping someone can help/advice me. I have been caring for my mother who has recently had to move in with myself, husband and children.

In August 2017 I started working for my husband's company as it is growing and he needed assistance with administration, invoices, appointments, telephone business calls etc. I still continued caring as normal for my mother as normal. Also looking after 2 young kids etc.... I did not realise that you could not work ( earning over a certain amount) and still receive carers allowance! My stupidity and ignorance for not reading the annual letters, just glancing at the weekly amount, and putting the letter into a drawer, and never looking at it again.

In August 2018 I received a letter stating I was under fraud investigation. Didn't have a clue what for! Until it read for Carers allowance! Off-course Im on a payroll system, and pay tax etc, but I had no idea I was doing anything illegal! I was horrified and shocked at this.

I attended the interview under caution and explained I had made a genuine mistake which was my own fault. A family member accompanied me. I had nothing to hide or lie about, and told the truth. The invesigators were actually very nice and understood what Id done and did say it was unlikely there would be any prosecution, but I would have to re-pay the overpaid amount of £2984. I left the interview feeling quite positive and relieved even knowing that the recording would be listen too, and a decision would be made as to what happens next.

I received a letter dated 12th October stating that I have to set up a payment plan to repay £2984, no civil penalty was being applied, so I thought this was all that was happening..... until yesterday I received a phone call from one of the investigators telling me that they giving me an administrative penalty of 50% of the overpayment to pay of the £2984! This now makes the total payment amount I have to pay £4477.35 I am devastated. I cried and have worried about how Im going to pay all this money, how could they do this to me? Especially when Ive made a mistake and Im paying every penny back that I owe them. I have a meeting next week to discuss wether or not Im accepting the penalty and if I dont, it can then be passed to crown prosecution Scotland and the PF will then decide if I should be prosecuted. Im in such a state over this.
Hi Nicola.

Main thread ... DWP ON THE WARPATH ... for background on what's recently happened :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... -000-34576

Contact the Carers UK Advice team ... best by email ... for guidance ... AS A MATTER OF URGENCY :

https://www.carersuk.org/forum/support- ... line-24147

I have requested the Moderators to switch your post and my reply to that thread so as we can all monitor developments.
Thanks, I have tried calling Carers advice today, but its only open a Tuesday/ Wednesday. I have emailed them all what's happened, so fingers crossed they reply to me within a few days.
Your welcome.

Now for CUK to deliver :
We answer a lot of advice enquiries by phone and email (advice@carersuk.org) from carers with questions about claiming Carer’s Allowance and whether a change to hours or pay will affect their payments.

We also explain how earnings impact on Carer's Allowance on our website (https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advi ... allowance) and in our more detailed factsheet (https://www.carersuk.org/images/Factsh ... FINAL.pdf).

We have also put forward proposals to Government to make things easier for carers who are in receipt of Carer's Allowance to report changes in their earnings and circumstances.
This is what I received from carers advice today:

Dear Nicola,

Thank you for getting in touch with Carers UK.

I'm very sorry to hear that things feel so difficult just now.

We are not legally trained here, but understand that the rules around penalties changed around 6 years ago and the the minimum penalty that can be applied to an overpayment is £350, rising to 50% of the overpayment. (Not to exceed £2000)

We understand that an offer of an administrative penalty can be offered as an alternative to the case being passed to the Procurator Fiscal for consideration of prosecution.

A person does not have to accept the offer to pay, but if they refuse the DWP may pass the case to the PF who will then consider whether or not to prosecute.

You may want to have a look at the DWP Decision Makers Guide on overpayments. This is the guidance that they must follow when making decisions and so on about benefits:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/s ... mgch09.pdf
(whole guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... taff-guide )


The DWP may look at recovering the overpayment and the penalty in instalments, and as such we would advise that you discussed this with them.

However because we are not legally trained here and cannot advise you if to accept the penalty or not, and because it sounds like you have already attended what they call "An interview under caution" or similar and the DWP are talking about fraud, we would advise you got some legal advice.

The organisation Law Works a holds a directory or free or low cost legal advice. You can search their directory here http://lawworks.org.uk/ or a local Citizens Advice Bureau might have an welfare rights specialist, and some hold solicitor sessions : https://www.cas.org.uk/

Many solicitors offer a free one off consultation to look at the issues and will be able to advise on your issue. You can search for a reputable solicitor via the Law Society website: https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/

You may be able to have a session over the telephone because time is short.

I hope this helps a bit, and that your meeting on the 31st goes as well as it can do given the circumstances.

In order to review the quality of the advice and information that we give we will contact you again in the future to find out what you thought and whether it made a difference. This is to help keep the quality of our advice high and to ensure that it is relevant to people contacting us. We don’t pass your details on to anyone else. If you would not like us to contact you about this, then please let us know.

Kindest regards

Suzette










adviceline carersuk

Carers UK

20 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4LX

www.carersuk.org

________________________________________
From: Nicola [nicolamethven2000@yahoo.co.uk]
Sent: 24 October 2018 12:31
To: adviceline carersuk
Subject: Dwp Fraud investigation

Good Afternoon,

Im hoping you can help me. I will give you an explanation of what has happened, and hopefully someone can call me back with help and advice.

Im hoping someone can help/advice me. I have been caring for my mother who has recently had to move in with myself, husband and children.

In August 2017 I started working for my husband's company as it is growing and he needed assistance with administration, invoices, appointments, telephone business calls etc. I still continued caring as normal for my mother as normal. Also looking after 2 young kids etc.... I did not realise that you could not work ( earning over a certain amount) and still receive carers allowance! My stupidity and ignorance for not reading the annual letters, just glancing at the weekly amount, and putting the letter into a drawer, and never looking at it again.

In August 2018 I received a letter stating I was under fraud investigation. Didn't have a clue what for! Until it read for Carers allowance! Off-course Im on a payroll system, and pay tax etc, but I had no idea I was doing anything illegal! I was horrified and shocked at this.

I attended the interview under caution and explained I had made a genuine mistake which was my own fault. A family member accompanied me. I had nothing to hide or lie about, and told the truth. The invesigators were actually very nice and understood what Id done and did say it was unlikely there would be any prosecution, but I would have to re-pay the overpaid amount of £2984. I left the interview feeling quite positive and relieved even knowing that the recording would be listen too, and a decision would be made as to what happens next.

I received a letter dated 12th October stating that I have to set up a payment plan to repay £2984, no civil penalty was being applied, so I thought this was all that was happening..... until yesterday I received a phone call from one of the investigators telling me that they giving me an administrative penalty of 50% of the overpayment to pay of the £2984! This now makes the total payment amount I have to pay £4477.35 I am devastated. I cried and have worried about how Im going to pay all this money, how could they do this to me? Especially when Ive made a mistake and Im paying every penny back that I owe them. I have a meeting next week to discuss wether or not Im accepting the penalty and if I dont, it can then be passed to crown prosecution Scotland and the PF will then decide if I should be prosecuted. Im in such a state over this. My meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 31st October when I have to let them know that Im accepting a penalty or not!

Regards and Thanks

Nicola Fraser

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Thanks for posting the exchange , Nichola.

It certainly helps us on the forum to get a clear picture of what is involved in the DWP purge.

For what it's worth , the Turn2Us web site on the subject of DWP civil penalties ... quite comprehensive :

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guid ... erpayments

Let us know how matters progress.
I already know what carers advice has stated in the email. It seems the only way to get help and advice is to seek legal advice, and this is going to end up costing me!

I either accept the £1492 administrative penalty, or I do not..... which it might go to a PF and lead to prosecution with a criminal record 😱 Perhaps also a hefty fine? Not sure, as Ive never been in a court, or had any fines in the past! Im between a rock and a hard place.

Im utterly disgusted that they can do this to me, for making an honest mistake ( which Im repaying every penny back). Maybe if I had went in an lied to them saying, I had problems, mental health issues etc...etc.... they might've felt sorry for me and not imposed this amount of penalty? That seems to be the way forward in life with the government.

I earn £958 a month and Im expected to pay £4475 back to them!!!! Im devastated 😢
Its not a civil penalty Chis ( Im not sure why I didn't get a civil penalty) I think after reading the article, you get a civil penalty if there is not a case for prosecution ? They obviously think that there is a case in my circumstance to offer me an administrative penalty which is 50% of the overpayment, but how can they justify this? On what grounds? Do I need to take a lie detector test to prove to them that this was a genuine mistake!!!

I really don't know what to do.
Thanks Nichola ... I was using the Turn2Us terminology ... apologies if that was incorrect.

It seems the only way forward is legal advice ... as recommended by CUK's Advice Team ?

DWP's ball game ... they set out the terms and conditions ... justifiable or not :

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... -and-error

No comfort whatsover to anyone facing this policy.
Two weeks on and ... just one case makes it way to the forum.

No news from CUK as to what they are seeing ... or from the Advice Team as to numbers coming in.

One Issue that ALL of us need to know what's going on.
83 posts