Carer’s Allowance and overpayments
Understanding how much confusion and anxiety the subject of overpayments can cause, we have answers to some common questions and concerns below.
What is an overpayment?
An overpayment is when you receive more money for a month than the amount you should have been paid, usually for a certain benefit like Carer’s Allowance.
When claiming a benefit like Carer’s Allowance, it’s important to remember you have a responsibility to keep the Carer’s Allowance Unit (Disability and Carers Service in Northern Ireland) informed of changes to your circumstances as these could affect your entitlement.
If you are overpaid a benefit like Carer’s Allowance when you are no longer eligible, you will lose the entire amount and have to pay it back.
The Department of Work and Pensions would need to recover the overpayment if they find this to be the case and you would be contacted and asked to pay the amount back. Over time, the amount could add up quite significantly.
This might be a new job, new earnings or a new pattern of work. It might also include breaks in caring. The earnings threshold is set at £139 (2023/24) per week after deductions.
If the carer is even £1 over this limit, they lose 100% of their Carer’s Allowance which is currently £76.75 per week in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland it is worth more because of the Carer Supplement, but the overpayment rules are the same currently.
Get a benefit check if you’re unsure about your circumstances and need an objective review. You can contact our Carers UK Helpline to request one at firstname.lastname@example.org
Report any change in your circumstances however insignificant it may seem to you as they occur or as soon as possible.
Make sure that you provide accurate information and answer questions correctly when you make a claim.
Contact the benefits office if anything looks wrong or there has been a duplication of payments.
Notify the Department of Work and Pensions through the Carer’s Allowance Unit.
Or in Northern Ireland, contact the Disability and Carers Service, ‘Carer’s Allowance’ team.
Your message won’t be passed on between departments so it’s important you speak to these offices in the first instance. For a benefit check or guidance, contact Carers UK on email@example.com
When you are contacted, you should be asked to repay the amount in a reasonable way that does not put you under any undue stress.
If you are worried about your financial situation and would like further specialist advice, contact the National Debtline.
You may find this document useful for dealing with debt.
There is always free advice and support available – you can find trustworthy sources of support to turn to here.