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carers allowance and earnings threshold

Ineke G
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Welfare benefits adviser - NE Law Centre

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Joined: 14 October 2019

Client has been receiving carers allowance for the last 18 months. He works 15 h/week for NMW. With the increase in NMW, he now earns 15 pence above the weekly earnings threshold. He has not had any change of circumstances.

He has been asked to repay more than £2000 for the period April-Nov 2019. Seems very unfair as he only earned £5.10 above the threshold over the 34 weeks….....

Any suggestions what he can do besides working only 14 h/week or starting private pension contributions? Any suggestions if/how this can be challenged?

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Advice Worker, Gaddum Centre

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Can he deduct any care costs for the person he cares for, or work expenses maybe? Paying in to a pension is probably the best option though.

I agree it is unfair, Carers UK are campaigning to increase the threshold I believe.


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I think it’s definitely worth asking them to apply discretion not to recover - there’s been a lot of criticism of the government for its approach on recovering CA overpayments particularly in cases like yours -

You could also look at Chapter 8 in the Benefit overpayment recovery guide for what evidence might be helpful in getting them to waive recovery

[ Edited: 2 Jan 2020 at 02:20 pm by Daphne ]
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WRAMAS, Bristol City Council

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This is something the Select Committee explored during the last parliament. The government response doesn’t raise any hopes of future change I’m afraid. You can read it here:
This is one of the areas where UC may be advantageous as there is no “cliff edge” for carers element entitlement related to earnings (but we don’t always want to go down the UC rabbit hole, do we).
I would suggest approaching the newly elected MP as to the injustice this has caused so it is fresher in their minds and ask for a write-off. edit: as Daphne has suggested in more depth than I