DWP Carers Allowance Prosecutions

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  • #286593
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/apr/07/dwp-carer-allowance-benefit-payment-case

    makes sobering reading especially in light of what happened at The Post Office

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286598
    nolan1
    Participant

    also featured on BBC Radio 4 Today program this morning…

    #286600
    andyrichards
    Participant

    Horrible. And anyway, how can it be possible for them to seize her inheritance? Even if she was a serial armed robber, her inheritance isn’t “the proceeds of crime”!

    #286605
    John Boxall
    Participant

    I am suprised that a Proceedss of Crime Act siezure could go ahead when the DWP had nt complied with a direction to provide a breakdown of the alleged OP

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286606
    Peter Barker
    Keymaster

    I have done small amounts of expert witness work in benefit fraud cases. Kevin D used to do quite a bit of it. He always said, and my limited experience bears him out on this, that you can find something wrong with an overpayment in almost every case. It might be something trivial, like a prescribed line of info missing from a decision notice, but as often as not it is a major substantive error. The criminal courts, including defence lawyers, just don’t have enough specialist knowledge to prevent seriously unjust outcomes.

    In a CA case, the proper calculation of earnings under the Social Security Benefit (Computation of Earnings) Regulations 1996 can result in average earnings below the threshold even if earnings exceed the threshold in some weeks. We don’t know whether in the taxi driver case that was also reported at the weekend the calculation of earnings from self-employment was correct. A lot of people will have their “mandatory reconsideration” rejected by DWP and give up even though the chances of success on appeal are good.

    And taking a step back and looking at the whole thing from a joined up policy point of view, based on average hourly commissioning rates, the minimum number of hours’ care needed to qualify for CA, and the rate of CA itself, CA claimants are saving the taxpayer a minimum of £800 a week and much more than that in many cases.

    Preventing CA claimants from working makes even less sense when you see that UC includes a carer element irrespective of the amount of earnings you have, so why the different rules for CA?

    #286609
    andyrichards
    Participant

    The cynical explanation is that someone decided to go after some “low-hanging fruit” to get figures up. As is often the case, it may well blow up in their faces.

    #286681
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I have just listened to the Guardian podcast about this, and it seems that one of the key issues is VEP alerts and the fact that DWP devotes exactly zero resources to dealing with them.

    #286723
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/apr/17/injustice-92-year-old-with-dementia-told-by-dwp-to-repay-7k-in-disability-allowance

    The DWP would have known that Chitseko’s mother was no longer eligible for the severe disability premium because her daughter had given the department her mother’s national insurance number and other details when applying for a carer’s allowance.

    The department could, in theory, have stopped the payments itself. Instead, it placed the burden on the recipient: in this case an elderly vulnerable woman with early stage dementia.

    And when the DWP realised three years later that she had been overpaid a severe disability benefit, instead of asking whether the department was at fault or whether she ought to have known the rules given her age and illness, it sought immediately to claw back the money.

    Sigh………….

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286727
    Peter Barker
    Keymaster

    In the Chitseko case, the overpayment of Pension Credit SDP would only be recoverable if the claimant’s mother failed to disclose a fact of which she was aware and which was material to the calculation of her benefit. She probably knew that her daughter was caring for her, but on its own that is of no consequence. If she did not know that her daughter was claiming Carers Allowance, the SPC overpayment is not recoverable from her.

    Like I say, you can almost always find something wrong with the overpayment decision. I hope that people who know that family are on the case already.

    #286748
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    It is a shame.

    I think it has always been said, on this forum, that politics, policies and welfare do not match.

    The courts (at whatever level) have always said as much.

    looking at the new release from the DWP about UC migration today (You may or not be aware but I can’t post that here) just makes it all a bit depressing!!

    #286804
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/apr/25/sunak-under-pressure-to-grant-amnesty-to-unpaid-carers-fined-for-benefit-breaches

    A tribunal judge told the Guardian he was “really troubled” by the DWP’s “harsh” approach and the lack of evidence behind many of the penalties.

    The judge, who was not authorised to speak publicly, said he rules in favour of unpaid carers in three-quarters of the carer’s allowance cases before his court, often because the DWP is unable to prove that the person breached its earnings limits.

    Starting to look like Post Office 2…………….

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #286856
    nolan1
    Participant

    I have done small amounts of expert witness work in benefit fraud cases. Kevin D used to do quite a bit of it. He always said, and my limited experience bears him out on this, that you can find something wrong with an overpayment in almost every case. It might be something trivial, like a prescribed line of info missing from a decision notice, but as often as not it is a major substantive error. The criminal courts, including defence lawyers, just don’t have enough specialist knowledge to prevent seriously unjust outcomes.

    Totally agree with the above, and;

    Starting to look like Post Office 2…

    #286943
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/article/2024/may/09/dwp-unchecked-database-leaves-tens-thousands-carers-risk-debt

    New figures show that of 67,000 alerts flagging up potential carer’s allowance earnings rules infringements last year nearly half were not acted upon by DWP staff. That ratio – about 50% of alerts not being investigated, potentially allowing overpayments to build up – has remained roughly the same for the past five years.

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #287010
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/article/2024/may/16/carers-allowance-report-a-vivid-insight-into-failings-of-an-unfit-system

    One female carer told researchers: “I felt it was a real victimisation. They don’t think … It’s like you’re dealing with a computer not a person. I ended up with a big overpayment, but it totally wasn’t my fault. It’s like they don’t believe you.”

    Another noted the glacially insensitive corporate culture that underpinned the DWP’s handling of overpayments. “I think it’s ticking boxes as opposed to really empathising or communicating with people as individuals,” she told researchers.

    Bit of a damming indictment, and thats only an extract

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

    #287080
    John Boxall
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/article/2024/may/22/inquiry-to-begin-into-dwps-treatment-of-ill-and-disabled-people-on-benefits

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/article/2024/may/23/national-audit-office-to-investigate-growing-scandal-over-carers-allowance

    Interesting news for the DWP

    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god of day goes down upon the dreary scene, and—and in short you are for ever floored.

    Wilkins Micawber, Ch12 David Copperfield

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