The Committee has today published a letter received from the Permanent Secretary of the DWP on the overpayment of Carer’s Allowance. It reveals that in 2018 overpayments range from £67 to £48,560.
Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Rt Hon Frank Field MP, said:
“It is unfathomable that the DWP could allow someone to accrue close to £50,000 in overpaid Carer’s Allowance. No carer should have to suffer as result of such shocking ineptitude and I believe those overpayments that are the fault of the Government’s own incompetence should be written off with the greatest urgency. I am referring this gross failure of the DWP, to run properly this aspect of its duties, to the National Audit Office to investigate.”
Also being published are the Chair’s letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General requesting that the NAO investigate this issue, and a response to the Permanent Secretary.
To the Comptroller and Auditor General the Chair says “It is deeply concerning that the Department has allowed claimants to accrue such eye-wateringly large overpayments”, which “more than oversight…suggest that systemic failings or gross incompetence—or a combination of the two—are at play”. What is more, “it is carers who will bear the brunt of these failings, as the Department seeks to claw back the money from people who can ill afford to lose it”.
The Chair is asking the Permanent Secretary to consider again the Committee’s request for information regarding complaints and concerns regarding the overpayment of Carer’s Allowance raised by DWP staff, having found his initial response “vague” and “disappointing”.
The Committee will hear oral evidence on this issue from Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Carers UK, at 9.30am on Wednesday 28 November.