Commons committee calls for new investigation into Carer’s Allowance

A Commons committee has written to the National Audit Office calling for a new investigation into concerns about Carer’s Allowance overpayments.

View of older hands holding the hands of a lady lying down depicting care

 

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has written to the National Audit Office calling for a fresh investigation into Carer’s Allowance following concerns about ongoing overpayments which carers are being forced to pay back.

The Committee wrote to the NAO this week after holding two evidence-sessions on Carer’s Allowance this year, in part looking at progress made since the NAO’s 2019 investigation report into the benefit.It says that and other evidence has led the Committee to conclude that “problems remain with Carer’s Allowance”.

The letter calls on the NAO to set out the latest information it has from the Department for Work and Pensions on Carer’s Allowance, the Verified Earnings and Pensions alerts service and overpayment levels.

There are concerns not just about overpayments and the delay in reporting these to carers, but also about the cliff edge which carers face if they go over the earnings threshold for the benefit, even by £1.

The letter notes that the NAO has limited resources, but says the Committee “thinks a further investigation is merited, given the scale of the problem, the lack of progress made since 2019 and the cost to the taxpayer of a system that fails to prevent or rectify overpayments”.

On 16th May, the Committee called on the DWP to radically reform the Allowance, including removing the cliff edge for earnings and replacing it with a tapered system and implementing an annual increase to the allowance. The call came after a DWP-commissioned study was finally published showing ministers knew about the problems with the allowance three years ago.



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