Carer’s Allowance recipients urged to check what other benefits they are entitled to | Personal Finance | Finance
The latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that in May last year there were 936,766 people receiving weekly payments of £69.70 for Carer’s Allowance, including 81,682 living in Scotland. Carer’s Allowance is set to increase from £69.70 per week to £76.75 as it will rise in line with inflation from April.
However, claimants will still not be eligible for the means-tested cost of living payment announced in the Autumn Statement last November.
The additional financial support will be worth £900 in 2023/24 and split into three lump sums of £301, £300 and £299, in order to include as many people on a low income as possible over three potential qualifying periods.
Several MPs have asked DWP if it has “made an assessment of the potential merits of providing a cost of living payment to unpaid carers” since the support began last July, to which the response has always been sympathetic, but unwavering on the eligibility rules, often explaining how statistically, some 60 percent of unpaid carers are living in a household where someone is in receipt of a qualifying means-tested benefit.
However, in a written response to Labour MP Justin Madders last month, DWP Minister Tom Pursglove, urged unpaid carers to check their eligibility for means-tested benefits to make sure they are not missing out on additional support – which could then make them eligible for the £900 cost of living payment.
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Mr Pursglove said: “The Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers every day in providing significant care and continuity of support to family and friends, including pensioners and those with disabilities.
“Depending on personal circumstances, carers may be eligible for means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit and Pension Credit.
“Means-tested benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the Carer Element in Universal Credit and the additional amounts for carers in other benefits respectively.
“We would encourage anyone who is providing unpaid care, and who is not already in receipt of a means-tested benefit, to check on GOV.UK to confirm whether there are other benefits they may be entitled to.”
He continued: “Advice can also be sought from organisations such as Carers UK and Citizens Advice. Means-tested benefits can provide extra weekly income and trigger extra support with the cost of living.
“Nearly 60 percent of carers on low incomes, who are of working age and on Carer’s Allowance, claim a means-tested benefit, through which they may be entitled to receive up to £650 in Cost of Living Payments in 2022/23.
“These payments are targeted at low income households in receipt of an eligible means-tested benefit, including pensioners who are in receipt of Pension Credit.”
The quickest way to check eligibility for benefits is to use an online benefits calculator.
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They need to spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.
This can include helping with washing and cooking, taking the person they care for to a doctor’s appointment, helping with household tasks, like managing bills and shopping.
Earnings should be £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses.
If one’s earnings are sometimes more than £132 a week, they might still be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.
Their average earnings may be calculated to work out if they’re eligible.
Earnings are any income from employment and self-employment after tax, National Insurance and expenses.
Expenses can include:
- 50 percent of their pension contributions
- equipment they need to do their job, for example specialist clothing
- travel costs between different workplaces that are not paid for by their employer, for example fuel or train fares
- business costs if they’re self-employed, for example a computer they only use for work