Thousands of over 50s get up to £3,600 a year via Carer’s Allowance – can you claim? | Personal Finance | Finance
Carer’s Allowance is a benefit distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is worth up to £3,624 a year, providing a sizeable boost to a person’s monthly income. However, it’s believed that millions are missing out on the vital benefit, despite being eligible for it.
The number of people aged over 50 who receive Carer’s Allowance has increased by nearly 70,000 people in three years – from 308,000 to more than 376,000, an increase of 22 percent, according to a new analysis from Rest Less.
Britons are urged to check if they qualify for the benefit as it could provide a sizeable boost for day-to-day life.
According to the Government’s website, people eligible for Carer’s Allowance should be aged 16+, not in full-time education and not earning more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment after tax, National Insurance and expenses.
The Government website lists expenses to include:
* 50 percent of their pension contributions
* Equipment needed to do a job, for example, specialist clothing
* Travel costs between different workplaces that are not paid for by the employer, for example, fuel or train fares
* Business costs if someone is self-employed, for example, a computer they only use for work.
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They must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a sick or disabled person and the person being cared for must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit such as the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or the middle or highest care rate of the Disability Living Allowance for example.
More information about who can claim can be found on the government website.
Stuart Lewis, Chief Executive of Rest Less, commented: “Our analysis highlights the increasing challenge faced by people in their 50s and 60s of juggling work and caring responsibilities – a burden that continues to fall disproportionately on women.
“Much has been said about the significant increase in economic inactivity since the pandemic due to long-term sickness and ill health. Our latest analysis shows a knock-on increase in the number of over 50s who are now receiving Carer’s Allowance as a result, with many having to juggle a job or a job search at the same time as caring for loved ones in poor health.
“Crucially, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as they don’t take into consideration the millions of unpaid carers who are not eligible for this government benefit due to the high eligibility hurdle of providing at least 35 hours a week of care.
“At Rest Less we see many midlifers who are struggling to manage work around part-time caring responsibilities – such as for elderly relatives, spouses, teenage children or even grandchildren given a lack of affordable childcare.”
Some Rest Less members have had caring responsibilities for a long time without claiming the benefit, but having left the workplace for good, are now eligible for the first time.
Similarly, many have managed without claiming the benefit, despite being eligible, but are having to claim for the first time because finances are so squeezed right now.
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Dr Emily Andrews, Deputy Director for Work at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “The rise in the number of over-50s receiving Carer’s Allowance and the high proportion of Carer’s Allowance claimants not in work is a significant factor in the current economic inactivity crisis.
“If the Chancellor wants to see more older people returning to work, then we really need to see more from his government and employers in making work more accessible to people who need to balance employment with caring responsibilities.
“For many older people, it is not the lure of the golf course keeping them away from work but the huge responsibility of caring for loved ones.
“To make work viable for the nation’s carers, we need to see greater availability of flexible work opportunities. The government could take a lead here by delivering on their promise to give all workers the right to request flexible working from day one of employment.
“The Carer’s Leave Bill progressing through the Lords currently, allowing carers a week of unpaid leave annually, is also a positive step forward but ultimately we would like to see the government going further and making paid carer’s leave a right in the near future.”
Millions of Britons are due to see a rise in their benefit payments from April 2023 after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed during his Autumn Statement that rates will rise with inflation.
Carer’s Allowance is one of the many benefits to see the uplift, equivalent to September 2022’s inflation rate of 10.1 percent.
The DWP confirmed that Carer’s Allowance will increase from £69.70 a week to £76.75 a week. This could see eligible claimants receive up to £3,991 a year, which could be equivalent to around £332 a month.
People can choose whether they’d like to be paid weekly or monthly and funds are paid directly into the person’s specified account.
If people think they are eligible to claim, they can start an application on the Government website here, or they can call 0800 731 0297 for a form.