Interview under caution - fraud investigation

hi i’m new and nervous here, especially sharing personal information but I’m desperate and sick with worry, so apologies from me in advance.

2014-2016 I worked as administrator from home for my partner’s new company - all done legit via accountant.
I received fraud investigation letter in March 2019 requesting all salaries etc. I originally thought somebody was trying to fraud us as we would never do anything illegal. I (stupidly) didn’t realise I should have reported to the DWP that I was working and earning more than the salary cap for those 2 years. I genuinely didn’t know/think about it, I would never take something that wasn’t mine. I wrote to the DWP that this was a genuine oversight and I would happily pay them back, they weren’t happy that I had not notified them of my change of address (my post was being redirected and I didn’t think of).
I’ve been told to attend an interview under caution. I’m petrified, angry at myself for essentially not reading the “change of circumstances” and could have avoided all this, I simply plodded along life as a carer and it’s duties without thinking of formalities.
I will be taking a solicitor with me.
Can anyone help me?
Thanks and apologies


I don’t have any direct advice. but seems to me a genuine mistake made whilst under the pressure of working and caring. I honestly don’t believe it would be in the interests of anyone to take this further if you have held your hands up, said sorry and said you are willing to pay money back? Please try not to worry.You are doing all you can to sort this out. Good luck. x

Hi N.

I assume that you are ( 1 ) a family carer , and ( 2 ) have earned more than the weekly limit for continuing
to claim Carers Allowance.

( No attempt at marshalling … ensuring that you kept within the limit ? )

If so , the following thread wil be of immediate assistance … some guidelines and all we know of the recent
DWP purge :

( Make that 5 who we know about ! )

yes I’m carer for 1 of my children and just mum to the children. I owned up to what I believe is the mistake I made - only after researching online (i won’t know until the interview day what exactly the charge is). I would never risk my family and my reputation for anything let alone money. I wish they would have accepted my mistake and let me just pay it without an interview where i’ll be a pathetic nervous wreck, and i don’t know how many times I can repeat it was genuine oversight. My partner didn’t even remember I was getting CA so didn’t notify the accountant at the time, which would have avoided all this too.

Regretably , the DWP are both judge and jury.

( There are some guidelines in the thread … link posted earlier. )

Let us know how you get on.

Of the 80,000+ carers said to be caught in the net , we only know of 5 ( Yes , 5 ) … despite this forum
being the only one in town.

Presently, It seems you are doing all you can. Ask you solicitor what is worse case outcome.

As your solicitor will be in attendance I guess they will speak for you.

4.4 Administrative penalties
4.4.1 DWP administrative penalties can be offered by law to a person as an alternative to prosecution where an overpayment of benefit has, or (in the case of attempted fraud) would have occurred due to an act or omission by that person and there are grounds for instituting proceedings for an offence against that person. The amount of the administrative penalty for offences committed prior to or spanning 8 May 2012 is set at 30% of the overpayment(s) relating to that offence.

4.4.2 From 8 May 2012 the administrative penalty increased to 50% of the amount overpaid subject to a minimum of £350 and a maximum of £2,000. The administrative penalty is payable in addition to any recoverable overpayment.

4.4.3 On the 8 April 2014 the government announced the intention to increase the maximum administrative penalty to £5,000, with the new limit being introduced in April 2015 subject to Parliamentary approval.

4.4.4 It is DWP policy to offer administrative penalties where the case is deemed not to be so serious that prosecution should be considered in the first instance (see paragraph 4.3.4 above). The offer of an administrative penalty will generally be made as an alternative to referring cases to the CPS or COPFS for the consideration of criminal proceedings. No admission of guilt is required from the individual concerned before offering an administrative penalty, although there is a statutory requirement for investigators to ensure that there are grounds for instituting criminal proceedings for an offence and that the individual is provided with a written notice concerning the offer of the penalty and its operation. The individual has the option to accept the administrative penalty and a period of 14 days to reconsider their decision.

does anyone know where can I find out how much was the wage limit for previous years please?

Carers Unit at the DWP … have been helpful to me in the past when researching into CA history and related issues.

Contact the Carer's Allowance Unit - GOV.UK

I am sorry you are going though this and just wanted to reply to your post as I too am being investigated. The letter arrived yesterday and has really shaken me up I know I haven’t done anything wrong or if I’ve made an error its totally unintentional but the letter is very frightening the way its worded and set out.
I am not a well person myself and its making me feel quite unwell as I’ve had a stressful few months anyway.
I just hope it goes okay for you. You are doing the right thing by taking a solicitor just make sure…from what I’ve read…that he/she is very knowledgeable about the benefits laws as apparently it’s a very specialist area. That said I also read of someone who did loads of preparation she had documents to support and proof of everything they were questioning and couldn’t get legal representation in time so took a friend and it went well for her. It seems the key is to have the necessary evidence to prove we are telling the truth.
I guess I need to start my own post as mine is something to do with my ESA although as its bank hol wkend have to wait til tue to ring tried yesterday but no answer I don’t even know if dwp are open on Sat mornings. Its so stressful as I’ve worked since aged 16 with a couple of health blips meaning I claimed benefit for a short time but worked and studied for a career became ill and lost my job I loved and now this…sorry going on now
Just know you are not alone in this horrid situation.
Take care

Hi All
I wanted to post an update, hopefully it helps others who would like to know what to expect.
I had my interview - I was absolutely terrified, however the interviewers were not horrid. They explained the charge, CA whilst earning too much… They opened the CD seals infront of me and started the interview. They presented me with all the application forms I’ve submitted, was rather surreal looking at my original application from many years ago. They highlighted every document where it stated about carers declaring employment. Asking me if I had read that and if I would ever have told them about being employed.
My solicitor was a waste of money, I suppose as I was answering with all honesty I didn’t need him, but I suppose I felt better having someone there of a legal background.
They told me that the recording would be scribed and then sent onto their senior to make a decision whether to prosecute or not (as it’s over £6k). They asked about any working expenses I could claim from that period that could help lower my overpayment, there’s none. The interview lasted over an hour. They were nice but who knows how it will go, it’s out of my hands and I told them the truth and now I wait.

Thanks N.

" Over £ 5k " … latest posting on the main thread refers to this " Cut off " point … in most cases.


The National Audit Office found the DWP was aiming to recoup overpayments from 80,000 people, worth about £150m.

Most debts are for less than £1,000 but some people owe more than £20,000.

BBC News has discovered the DWP and the Crown Prosecution Service, who take the cases to court, are not routinely telling judges the department could have spotted the errors earlier.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said every case was “carefully considered” but it did not have a duty to disclose “publicly available government reports that do not relate to specific cases”.

The DWP said decisions to prosecute were not taken lightly and were generally reserved for overpayments of more than £5,000.

Thanks for getting back to the forum. It’s really useful for others who may need the information.
I can’t believe how calm you come across. Or is it you have just come to terms. That is a lot of money. Did they speak about how if it comes to it you intend to pay this amount back.

hi Sunnydisposition,

For months I’ve had sleepless nights, feeling sick in my stomach awaiting the letter for the date of interview, having no idea what they will say to me in the interview, crying when alone, but only having a clear conscience to prove my defence - that’s how calm I’ve been :wink: (that was supposed to be a silly smilie not sarcastic :slight_smile: )
But I am calmer now that the “mystery” of the interview is done and I can only hope they believe me and it doesn’t go down prosecution route.
I meant to add, once a decision has been made they will call me in to tell me the action- ie paying back and how or court route. I have no issue paying the money back (emotionally) as it wasn’t mine to have and I will always be cross at my ignorance. Financially, I’m assuming I can pay direct debit (for eternity!).
I now read every letter that I receive…

Final update.
I’m not going to be prosecuted (such a relief ). They are not fining me any additional admin costs - (financial big relief)
They’'ve closed my case and I just need to pay them back through debt management, that can be as I can manage - ie through allowance or installments etc.
The interviewers were nice and humane, ie they could clearly see it was a genuine

Thank you for being my shoulder.

Your welcome.

What a relief. Personally, I think it’s about time Carers Allowance wasn’t treated as an income substitute, as you have done the work and should be entitled to the pay. Only it’s not counted as work when we do it, but it does when anyone else does it. We are the 21st century slaves!