Uncompensated carers compelled to refund £250 million to DWP for allowance overpayments

Unpaid carers across the UK are facing a daunting task as they are being asked to repay more than £250 million in overpaid allowances. New figures released by the government show that over 134,000 carers have been unknowingly overpaid and are now being required to pay back the excess funds.

Carer’s Allowance is a vital source of financial support for individuals providing more than 35 hours of care per week, but it comes with strict eligibility criteria. If a carer’s earnings exceed £151 per week after tax, they are no longer eligible for the allowance and must repay any funds received in full. This has left many carers in a difficult position, struggling to make ends meet as they are forced to repay large sums of money.

One such carer is Wren Seaward, who cares full-time for her husband John, who is wheelchair-bound due to severe osteoarthritis. Wren unknowingly received £5,000 in overpayments and is now required to repay £245 per month. This financial burden has put a considerable strain on their household, making it difficult for them to access the necessary resources to improve John’s quality of life.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has acknowledged the issue and stated that they are implementing an enhanced notification strategy to alert carers to overpayments. However, many carers like Wren and John claim they were unaware of the earnings threshold and only found out about the overpayments years later, when the sums had already escalated into the thousands.

The DWP has emphasized that it is the responsibility of claimants to report any changes in circumstances that may affect their eligibility for the allowance. While it is important to ensure that taxpayers’ money is used appropriately, it is also crucial for the DWP to provide clear and timely communication to carers to prevent situations like this from occurring.

Overall, the plight of unpaid carers who are being asked to repay significant amounts of money highlights the need for better support and communication from government agencies. Carers play a critical role in society, providing essential care for their loved ones, and they deserve to receive the support and assistance they need to carry out their responsibilities without facing undue financial hardship.

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