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overpayment of carers allowance


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am writing to you for any advice you can give me regarding my carers allowance that i receive for my mother in law. I have receieved a letter from the DWP saying that i have been overpaid for the last 7 years and result in them trying to claim more than 17 thousand pounds back which is basically about what i have been paid for the whole 7 years. They are saying that my part time job net earnings is more than what i am allowed to earn and that this has been picked up form them getting information from my employers about my NI contributions. I had no idea that my earnings were over the limit by about £30 a month and it has took them 7 years to realise. I have rang them and they are putting everything in writting so i can study it myself. I realise that i have therefore done wrong but had no idea there was a problem.

Therefore i am asking you what i should do next as i am totally confussed about the situation. Also could you advise me of what you think the the next action would be from the DWP.

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Unfortunately there is a limit on what you can earn. The limit is increased each April and is currently £100 a week. If you are paid monthly you should check the figures yourself by multiplying your monthly wage by 12 and dividing by 52 which should provide you with the correct weekly earnings figure. You are allowed to deduct some expenses such as Tax & NI contributions also 50% of any occupational pension You're also allowed to deduct the following:


  • The first £20 of any income for renting out rooms in your own home.
  • Foster care allowance from a local authority.
  • Payments made to someone (other than a close relative) to look after the severely disabled person you normally care for while you're at work (up to half your net earnings can be ignored this way).
  • Payments made to someone (other than a close relative) to look after your child (or children) under 16 while you're at work. (Up to half your net earnings can be ignored this way.

Asking for a complete breakdown of how the over payment has been calculated is sensible and should show the amount you were allowed to earn for each year . It may allow you to compare the figures for yourself. The problem is that you have only one month from the date the decison letter was issued in which to lodge an appeal and it could take longer for them to provide the information you have requested and you may miss the appeal deadline. If you have any doubts you should appeal against the decision to stop your carers allowance as soon as possible and also lodge a second appeal with debt management in respect of the over payment recovery. If you do not lodge the second appeal they will automatically start to deduct money from other benefits you may have coming in. If when the information arrives you compare it and find that the figures are correct then you can withdraw your appeals however It may be worth checking it out with your local CAB or local advice centre first. They will be able to advise you if you have a case.

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