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Carers UK responds to Guardian article about fines for over payment of Carer's Allowance

08 October 2018

The Guardian ran an article at the weekend looking at overpayments of Carer’s Allowance and how carers were being pursued for overpayment of Carer’s Allowance.

At Carers UK, we hear from carers who are told that they have been overpaid Carer’s Allowance. This can happen when carers did not realise the rules in relation to earnings, studying or other rules. This can be hugely stressful, particularly for those providing significant care or who are juggling responsibilities, or who are on low incomes and are finding it hard to manage financially. Our most recent survey found that over a third of carers (37%) were struggling to make ends meet. When that overpayment goes back several years, this can become extremely difficult or even impossible for the carer to repay.

The Department for Work and Pensions should be pointing these areas out earlier to carers to stop this from happening, and acting on overpayments more quickly. This would make life easier for everyone, and it would reduce the number of carers whose overpayments go back years.

We need to make it easier for Carer’s Allowance claimants to report changes so that this can be done more quickly. Unlike Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance claimants cannot manage their details or account online and we think this should change. This would make it easier for carers to upload supporting documents and notify changes to the DWP quickly and efficiently. We think this would help the DWP to update carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance much more easily, with reminders on what to do if their earnings change, or they start studying, for example. We think that this would be better for everyone and we have proposed this to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Those without online access would still be able to use the telephone or write in, as Carer’s Allowance recipients largely have to do now to make changes happen.

No-one wants a situation where carers who are earning and caring are concerned about whether their benefits will be affected. We want to ensure that carers are clear about the entitlements and rules and are able to report changes quickly and easily, and stay in touch with the labour market where they are able to do so.

The most important thing is for carers to read our detailed advice on Carer’s Allowance at www.carersuk.org/carersallowance

If anyone has any specific questions about their own personal situation, having read the background information, then they can email Carers UK’s Helpline at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carers UK is also campaigning for wider changes to Carer’s Allowance. Our Fairer for Carers campaign is calling for an urgent increase in the benefit and associated premia, to match the changes in Scotland where carers are now £8.50 per week better off. We also want to see the earnings limit for Carer’s Allowance increased to match increases in the National Living Wage, we want to see the 21 hour study rule relaxed, and we want older carers to receive a payment in recognition of their continued caring. These are just some of our ongoing campaign goals for Carer’s Allowance as well as our longer term goal of seeing a significant increase in Carer’s Allowance.

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