Carer’s Allowance: The DWP can give unpaid carers £278 every month

Martin Lewis on carer's allowance and the effect on pensions

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Carer’s Allowance is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and people who claim could receive £69.70 a week, totalling around £278 per month. Over the course of the year, people could receive more than £3,000. People may be eligible if they, the person they care for and the type of care they provide meet certain criteria.

Under the current criteria, people must be caring for someone else for at least 35 hours a week and be over the age of 16 years. 

People must also not be earning more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment.

This figure is after deductions for income tax, National Insurance and for pensions.

They must also not be studying for more than 21 hours per week or be subject to immigration control. 

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The person being cared for must also claim at least one of the “qualifying benefits” for their carer to receive the payment. 

These include Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Armed Forces Independence Payment.

With Carer’s Allowance, only one person is allowed to claim for the care of a single individual and a carer cannot get more if they care for more than one person.

Claimants also do not have to be related to the person they care caring for.

According to the DWP, caring for someone includes things such as helping with washing and cooking, taking the person to a doctor’s appointment and helping with household chores such as managing bills and shopping.

Carer’s Allowance is not dependent on National Insurance contributions and is therefore not a means-tested benefit.

This means it is not based on a claimant’s personal income or savings.

However, claiming Carer’s Allowance can impact the other benefits someone receives. 

The DWP confirmed in its latest guidance that total benefits will usually go up or stay the same, but they shouldn’t decrease.

If people claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit as well as Carers Allowance, their payments will be reduced by the amount of Carers Allowance they receive.

It could also lead to them not receiving Severe Disability Premium paid with their benefits or an extra amount of severe disability paid with Pension Credit.

If the person who is being cared for claims severe Disability Premium then this payment of £69.40 a week could be stopped when Carer’s Allowance has been claimed.

Individuals will only receive Severe Disability Premium if they live alone, receive means-tested income, receive the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or receive the daily living component of PIP.

Pensioners should also be aware they cannot get the full amount of both Carer’s Allowance and state pension at the same time.

The DWP states: “If you get state pension, you can still get Carer’s Allowance if this is less than your state pension benefits.”

State pensioners who are paid £69.70 a week or more will not receive Carer’s Allowance but will receive higher Pension Credit payments instead.

Under the “overlapping benefits” rules, people are not entitled to receive Carers Allowance if they claim other specific benefits.

These include the contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Maternity Allowance.

People also cannot claim Carer’s Allowance if they receive Bereavement or widow’s benefits, or contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

If someone gets Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, they must contact the tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), to tell them about their Carer’s Allowance claim.

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