42,400 carers are being forced to repay benefits overpayments, even though very often these were due to failings by the DWP.
Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, told MPs in a written answer that:
“As of 13th April 2021, 42,400 people were repaying Carer’s Allowance overpayments.
“The total original value of those debts was just over £138million; the total amount currently outstanding is £89million.
“The Department has a duty to recover overpaid benefits as quickly and efficiently as possible, but it is not intended that the recovery of an overpayment should cause any customer undue financial hardship.”
However, the National Audit Office found in 2019 that due to high staff turnover, the DWP had 104,000 reports of changes of circumstances in November 2019 in relation to carer’s allowance which it had failed to process. This inevitably led to large overpayments being run up.
Those same claimants are now being penalised for something that was not their fault.
The eagerness of the DWP to recover overpayments of carer’s allowance contrasts with its reluctance to pay out to claimants owed arrears of PIP under the LEAP review.
You can read Tomlinson’s full answer here.