Holding answer received on 07 January 2019
DWP can impose a £50 Civil Penalty for claimant error where enquiries show that a claimant has failed to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, they have not taken reasonable steps to correct the error and their action has resulted in an overpayment of over £65.
An Administrative Penalty may be offered to claimants as an alternative to a prosecution where an overpayment of benefit has occurred due to an act or omission by that person and there are grounds for instituting proceedings for an offence against the person relating to the overpayment.
The minimum amount of the Administrative Penalty is £350 or 50% of the recoverable overpayment, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of £5,000.
A debtor would not be expected to repay any recoverable benefit overpayment or DWP financial penalty all at once, as repayments can be made over time.
It is not possible to provide specific Administrative Penalty rates as applied to Carer’s Allowance overpayment cases as this information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.