CA overpayment and I don't know what to do


I’m struggling so much to hold everything together at the moment. We are going through a really tough time and now financial issues are hitting us too and I don’t know how much more I can cope with. I’m in tears just writing this.

Back in early 2019 I phoned Carers Allowance and told them that my earnings were too high and asked that they stop my payments so I didn’t have a huge amount to repay. They stopped them in that April and my earnings remained over the threshold. Then in around March 2020, lockdown happened. I was still earning over the CA threshold and I NEVER asked for CA to be paid and yet I got £4000 in my account. Shortly afterwards I received a letter telling me it was a backdated payment for the previous year and some forms to fill in declaring my earnings for that period. I tried to call them but the recorded message said it was only for new claims during the Covid lockdown. I sent back the forms and then after spending some time really worrying about the situation, I also wrote them a letter. Since then, I’ve still been receiving regular monthly payments of Carers Allowance. I didn’t know what else I could do so I awaited their response and put it to the back of my mind, until now.

Now, about eight months on I have a letter from Universal Credit telling me that they’ve over paid me because I’ve been getting Carers allowance. I contacted them to explain the situation and they told me I’d have to repay it and to speak to CA. I phoned CA today and the line was like normal so I was actually able to speak to someone. To be honest I don’t fully understand what she was saying but I think it was along the lines of that I was paid the lump sum for a backdated period and a decision maker has decided that I am not entitled to CA and so the amount is recoverable and I will have to pay it back. She also said there is no record of my letter.

I just don’t understand how this happened or whats happened. How can they have just decided to pay me that money with no prompting from me after almost an entire year and how can a decision maker have concluded I wasn’t entitled to the money they’ve been paying me and yet they’ve continued to pay and not informed me at all. It also seems very convenient that they didn’t get my letter Is there anyone who is able to help and tell me what I need to do next? I’m really desperate and worried.

Hi Anita,

How totally stressful.

Contact the helpline;

You can email us at > > and we will respond to your enquiries within 10 working days, although it can often be sooner.

Our telephone helpline providing information is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm - 0808 808 7777


Hello Anita

Challenging a benefit decision - mandatory reconsideration - Citizens Advice.

Your benefit decision has been changed because of official errors or changes in the law
from above link

I think you will need to make an appointment with Citizens Advice. And get all your paper work and notes of phone calls.

any correspondence you send to DWP always take a copy and send recorded delivery. Or go into the job centre and ask them to sent it for you.

Did you declare carers allowance when claiming UC. If you did then the advisor should have explained. That on UC as a carer you have an under lining access to the (carer element) applied. Meaning your carers allowance claim would cease.

Personally, I would use the argument that if they have mucked up, then it’s their problem, not yours.
You did not apply for the £4,000.

Take the problem to your MPs office. They have named contacts within DWP depts.

As already said above, take copies of everything. Keep a pad next to phone and whomever you talk to officially, ask for their name and note the time, along with a brief description of what was said.

Sad times we live in that this has to be done, but many members on here can testify to similar problems of letters going missing etc


Hello Anita. Please stop worrying. As long as you have not spent the money you were not entitled to, the worst they can do is demand it back.

It sounds to me as though there have been staffing problems due to COVID-19, and they are in a bit of a pickle. Don’t expect too much to happen over the Christmas period.

In big organisations, letters do get lost; e-mails get accidentally deleted, and I doubt whether many of those recorded phone calls “for training purposes” are actually listened to.

I know that you want to get the accounts straight, but please put it to the back of your mind over Christmas, and resume your enquiries in the New Year. It seems that once again you can speak to a “real person” on the phone, so you should be moving towards getting this sorted.

Find out who is handling your case. I suggest you then compose another letter, giving the full story of payments made and communications by any means, and send it Recorded Delivery.

Happy Christmas, and do please keep us updated on progress.

As long as you have not spent the money you were not entitled to, the worst they can do is demand it back.