Carer's Allowance over payments and other stories

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Sunshine Meadows

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Thank you to Mr Sunshine for pointing out this story.


click here



The story is from The Guardian newspaper and is about the DWP's move to recoup the money that was incorrectly paid out. The are not making the welfare of the claimants a priority when they are determine how quickly the overpayment should be paid back.


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But campaigners say the ‘get tough’ policy could unfairly penalise people who are already struggling to make ends meet, and claim the government has to share the blame for the overpayments.



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The allowance, which is worth £64.60 a week, is paid to people who care for someone who also claims certain benefits for at least 35 hours a week.
But carers do not always realise that the sum they receive is linked to their earnings, and that if they take home more than £120 a week the allowance stops, or that studying more than 21 hours a week is a bar to claiming.
Carers have to give details of their earnings when they apply, but can be caught out when their circumstances change.


If you can it would be good if you could read the whole article.
I can see how a person living on a low income might not want to ask them self if they are still entitled to money they are getting in benefits. The article quote someone talking about how working does not mean she is not caring for her mother. People should not claim what they are not entitled to and they should report a change in circumstances when there is one, however when deciding what to do about the overpayments the DWP should be taking account of several things.


  • People in receipt of Carer's Allowance can be dealing with the mental and physical stress of caring for a friend or relative who is very sick or disabled. They just live day to day week to week and their focus is not on what money is coming from where they focus on what money they are doing with the money they have.
  • I don't receive Carer's Allowance but I do know the process of receiving benefits is largely paperless so it is not like it used to be in the time of payment books when people had to go to the Post Office and get their money in cash. I am not saying this makes getting paid an amount you are not entitled to is okay it is just a detail the DWP needs to take into account.
  • I think in setting the amount of money for Carer's Allowance the DWP is saying that £65.54 can make a significant difference to the lives of carer's so when it comes to an overpayment the amount set to pay back each week or month needs to take into account the same logic. I am not sure if I am explain this very well.
« Last Edit: 30 Nov 2018 12:32PM by Sunshine Meadows »

SashaQ

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The headlihe figure of £10,000 is an unusual one, but for lesser amounts it is very easy to get confused with all this...

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The DWP has had access to records from the taxman that allow it to check carers’ eligibility for the benefit, but continued to pay the sums anyway.

This sort of happened to me - I contacted DWP to report a change of circumstances, and it all seemed fine.  However, I later discovered they continued to pay me the same amount anyway. 

At first I thought it was backpay so it was only after I received a couple more payments that I realised there was a problem and contacted them again.  They got the message second time round, arranged for me to return the overpayment, and also fined me for not reporting the change of circumstances sooner >doh<  If I were being uncharitable, I might think it was a deliberate strategy...

Monic1511

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Overpayments of carers allowance happen every time the national minimum wage rises - mainly because the earnings threshold for carers does not rise at the same time.   Carers are told they can work up to 16 hours a week as long as they don't earn more than £120.00 per week.   First problem the national minimum wage is £7.50, 16 hours at £7.50 is £125.00.  last time the earnings threshold rose was about 6 months after the minimum wage went up - the earnings threshold was £116 until about a year ago.

Students - many students only attend college 2 days a week BUT the college declares that course as full time - rules state you cant be in full time education - you think your not cos you only go to college for about 12 hours.

There is a paper form for carers allowance and its fairly complicated as it tries to cover all scenarios.  Most clients get confused filling it out. 

I had a client who worked as a dinner lady 20 hours a week for 42 weeks so over the year she works 840 hours, divide that by 52 and she works 16.15 hours per week, many lunch servers are also carers along with other part time workers.
The angriest client I had was one whose argument was that she was caring for both her parents but worked 24 hours as a carer and wanted me to change the law to get her overpayment written off, she started work 1 week after her claim was made.  When asked if she read the form she admitted she did not so didnt read the rules as she thought they didnt apply to her.  Her appeal obviously failed and she was spitting mad at having to repay £6000.

I wish they would look more at the fact that you get £64.30 for 35 hours work = £1.83 per hour - thats the bigger issue in my view


Sunshine Meadows

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SashaQ

>yikes< I am not surprised you think that, I mean all that needed to happen was a human to input the new information into the system.

Monic,

It is good that you are able to post from experience, I had not thought about people not reading the whole of the form or that some who get help claiming might have not actually read any of the form or listened to it being read to them. If we were to ask ten random people I wonder how many would realise that the allowed income from work when claiming Carer's Allowance is so low.


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I wish they would look more at the fact that you get £64.30 for 35 hours work = £1.83 per hour - thats the bigger issue in my view



It is pityful, I mean given it is supposed to be an 'income replacement' benefit for those who can't work full time or sometimes at all because they are someone's carer. (Have I got that right?)

Sunshine Meadows

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Radio 4 Moneybox program today has a horrendous story about a man who was caring for his son, who incorrectly ticked a box that said he was unemployed (the man thinks that happened because he thought the question was about his son who was unemployed) , seven years later the DWP say the man owes them £20,000 and ultimately the man is now being told he has to sell his house to pay the DWP. 

The program goes on to give more information about the situation and how the debt should be written off. 

I don't know how long the program will be available on iPlayer so I suggest you listen to it sooner rather than later. I apologise for there being no transcript for the hard of hearing or deaf people.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001cvk

Monic1511

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That man who owes £20K would I hope have been through the appeals process and you can set up repayment programs if you do need to repay any overpayment.  His MP should be able to get the OP written off if the man had any stress or health issues of his own.

The way carers allowance works is you get £64.30 and if you have no other income and are aged 25 - pension age then the state says you need £73.10 basic allowance plus £34.40 carers premium so you really need 107.50 per week, from the £107.50 they deduct your income of carers allowance and can then pay you 43.10 income related benefit.  the income support gets you full rent rebate and full council tax rebate.

If you work and earn more than £43.10 you'll start paying some rent so is it worth working?  similarly if you have an occupational pension it affects the income related part first.


One problem no one has mentioned if the common perception that Attendance Allowance is paid to the person attending to the needs of the disabled person and carers allowance is paid to the person needing care and that's how much they pay the person caring for them.    I get that all the time, adult children calling to claim attendance allowance to pay for their elderly parents care thinking they get the money.   I just end up telling them its a badly named benefit.


bulekingfisher

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Hello SunShine Meadows

This is just one more case off Mrs May incompetence she has made yet another hash in her personal/ Dictaship attitude in denying a referendum on Brexit. They used to burn witches at the stake in medieval times !

Sunshine Meadows

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Years ago when my Dad was still alive someone official eg from the local council or a charity came to his house and helped him claim Attendance Allowance. It turned out that that the same person went to see a lot of the older people in the small market town my Dad lived in and he/she helped them claim benefits. Looking back Dad would never have claimed the benefit if he had not had help and being an older bloke who had lived through many hardships he would not have faired well in a Face to Face assessment.

I wonder how many of the people overpaid Carer's Allowance were people much like my Dad who had to be persuaded to claim in the first place. If so the DWP should be able to see who had help making their claim because there should be a place on the form where it mentions who helped fill it in.

Bule,

I think it has less to do with May's incompetence and more to do with the way the DWP and successive Governments have made claiming welfare benefits often feel like negative experience. The people assessing our needs are having to work with targets related to denying some claimants benefit and not so much about making the right decision for the the individuals in need of help and support.

Monic1511

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Sunshine Meadows

Your dad did nothing wrong in claiming attendance allowance, if he had a partner who lived with him they would have claimed Carers allowance but if they were over state pension age they would probably not have received any money anyway as once over pension age your state pension overlaps with carers allowance.  The reason for claiming carers allowance is to access the carers premium payable via pension credit or the old legacy benefits like income support of income related ESA/JSA.

It works like this

A single person has an applicable amount (what the government says they need per week), this changes depending on your age and other entitlements.   

Under 25 £57.90
Over 25 £73.10
Pension Age £163
Carers premium is £36.00

Carers Allowance is £64.30

Under 25 claiming carers allowance £93.90 minus £64.30 so will be paid 29.60 income support
Over  25 claiming carers allowance £109.10 minus £64.30 will be paid 44.80 income support
pension age claiming carers allowance due £199 per week but if their state pension is higher than £64.30 they wont be paid carers allowance but WILL be paid state pension plus pension credit as long as their other income combined isn't higher than the £199 figure.


Where pensioners really win is if they are part of a couple because they would be due 2 x carers premiums £36.00 plus 2 x SDP £64.30 = an increase of £200.60 in the amount they need to live off every week.   This is why welfare rights staff would try to get both pensioners onto AA and then claim double carers and double sdp through pension credit.  That couple went from needing £248.80/week to needing £449.40/week not including their AA amounts of £85.60 each.



The first step in all of this is claiming ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCE not carers allowance as you cannot claim carers allowance unless the person you care for is in receipt of Attendance Allowance / Standard or enhanced rate PIP Daily Living or DLA middle or high rate care.   AA/DLA/PIP are benefits that are not means tested but open the door to means tested benefits like income support, pension credit and therefore housing benefit and council tax reduction.


I have fun convincing pensioners to claim AA as they tell me "its just old age hen" >lol<  and I then go through their medicine list and you find arthritis, high blood pressure, angina, various cancers, deafness, memory problems and I argue that ain't old age. >steam<   you never put their phone number on an AA form cos the DWP phone and they tell the caller, "I'm fine pet, I'm a bit deaf but its just old age."  the DWP person has to accept that "I manage fine" statement.   >doh<


DWP staff are trained to ask the question written on the form "Do you have any difficulty or need help to get into or out of bed" - typical answer - No I can get out of bed myself.
 I ask "So do you wake up, sit up, stand up and walk away from the bed"  typical answer - No I wake up, lie for a few minutes, sit up slowly so that I don't get dizzy, once I can move my joints I drop my legs over the bed and sit there till I get my balance, once I have my balance I use the bedroom furniture to stand up and hold onto the wall/wardrobe/bed till I get to the toilet.   BUT I DONT NEED HELP >erm<    guess which answer goes on my form.

anyway better stop bumping the keyboard  >whistle<

Sunshine Meadows

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Your describe the situation so well  >star< >hugs< 


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guess which answer goes on my form.
the truth about how the person struggles >heart<


and yes tis tv then bedtime here.

Offworld

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Tough on Carers, tough on the causes of Carers......