Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for people regularly caring for someone who is ill or disabled. The cared for person can be a relative, friend or neighbour.
Carer’s Allowance (CA)
If the person you care for receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (middle or highest rate for care), either rate of the daily living component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. The weekly rate in 2016/2017 is £62.10. If you are paid CA, the person you are caring for cannot receive the severe disability premium in any means tested benefits so seek advice prior to claiming.
- care for at least 35 hours per week (can include being on call at night)
- be aged 16 or over
- not be in full time education
- not earn more than £116 per week (after deductions, e.g. income tax)
You can still get CA if you are in receipt of DLA, PIP or AA yourself. If you are receiving means tested benefits your CA will count as income although you will be eligible for extra support through a Carer Premium/Addition.
The Carer’s Credit
The Carer’s Credit protects carers’ pensions to make sure that when they reach retirement they don’t face a reduced State Pension.
You can qualify for the Carer’s Credit if you are under state pension age and caring for at least 20 hours a week for one or more people who get DLA (middle or highest rate for care), either rate of the daily living component of PIP or Attendance Allowance. If the person you care for does not get either of these benefits you will need a health or social care professional to sign a care certificate confirming the care you provide is appropriate.
You will be credited with a national insurance contribution for every week you claim. This helps protect your entitlement to State Pension. You cannot be paid CA if you are being paid State Pension, Incapacity Benefit, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Bereavement Benefit, Maternity Allowance or Contribution based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA). However, in some cases you may have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to CA, which means you may be eligible for extra means tested benefits via the Carer Premium/Addition.
This will help carers who previously had difficulties protecting their state pension, for example carers caring less than 35 hours a week, who cannot claim Carer’s Allowance, or carers looking after someone who isn’t claiming a relevant benefit. Full time students can claim Carer’s Credit providing they meet standard rules.
For the person you care for
There are three main non-means tested benefits to help pay for the extra costs that arise from having a long term condition due to ill health or disability. These are Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance (AA) and the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). DLA, AA and PIP are not means tested, so savings and earnings aren’t taken into account. They are also not taxable. There are ‘special rules’ for claiming under a fast track for people who are terminally ill – their doctor will need to complete a DS1500 report.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
New claims for DLA can now only be made up for children under 16 who need help looking after themselves or to get around. It is divided into two parts; a care component – for help with personal care needs, paid at three different levels, and a mobility component – for people who cannot walk or are virtually unable to walk, paid at two levels.
Attendance Allowance (AA)
This is paid to people aged 65 and over who are in need of a lot of assistance with personal care or require supervision. There are two rates; the higher rate is paid when someone needs attention both day and night. The lower rate is paid when someone requires assistance either day or night.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
PIP is a new benefit which replaced DLA for people aged 16 to 64 from 8 April 2013. Awards are based on the impact of the disability or health condition on the individual and their ability to live independently. Like DLA and AA, PIP isn’t means tested or taxable. It has two elements; one for daily living and one for mobility. However, these are not assessed in the same way as DLA and the claims process is different.
Existing DLA claimants will be invited to apply for PIP sometime between October 2013 and 2018. There is no automatic transfer from DLA to PIP even for people who have been given indefinite awards of DLA. People will need to make a claim for the new benefit when invited. From 28 October 2013 those living in Wales, East Midlands, West Midlands & East Anglia whose condition worsens while they are still getting DLA and ask for their award to be looked at again, will be asked to claim PIP. If they decide not to claim PIP, their DLA award will end.
Forms for CA, DLA and AA are available online at www.gov.uk or call:
Carers Allowance Unit
General enquiries email@example.com.
Telephone: 0345 608 4321.
Textphone: 0345 604 5312.
Monday to Thursday, 8:30am to 5pm.
Telephone: 0345 712 3456
Textphone: 0345 722 4433
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone: 0345 605 6055
Textphone: 0345 604 5312
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Claims for PIP must be started by phoning the Department for Work and Pensions on
Personal Independence Payment Claims
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Income Support/Pension Credit
These are means tested benefits paid to people on a very low income with few savings. Working age Carers can claim income support if they are regularly and substantially caring for a disabled person (certain conditions apply). Carers who are over pension age can claim Pension Credit. Receiving, or having underlying entitlement to, Carer’s Allowance may lift your eligibility level and could therefore entitle you to support that would not otherwise be paid. Claim through your local Jobcentre Plus or The Pension Service.
Income Support will be replaced by Universal Credit for new claims at some point up to 2018.
Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit for working age people on a low income who are in or out of work, including those who are caring. Universal Credit will replace the majority of means-tested benefits and tax credits currently paid to people under pension credit age. It will include payments for children and housing costs and will be paid on a monthly basis. Universal Credit may be paid on top of some other benefits, for example, Carer’s Allowance, or to bring you up to a specific level which is determined by your circumstances. You might also get an extra amount of Universal Credit if you are caring for a severely disabled person. Working Carers will be able to retain the extra ‘Carer’ element even if earning more than £100 per week.
Most claims for Universal Credit will be made and managed on line although telephone claims will still be possible.
Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support
These are benefits to help with paying rent and council tax for people on a low income. Council tax reductions can also be obtained in a number of circumstances, including if someone in the household is ‘severely mentally impaired’, or if the house has been adapted specifically for use by a disabled person, or if someone lives alone. Enquiries should be made to Powys County Council.
Housing Benefit will be replaced by Universal Credit for new claims at some point from October 2013 but Council Tax Support will remain a stand-alone benefit administered by the Council.
Other sources of advice on benefits
- Citizens Advice Bureau – is a good source of help and advice on all benefit related matters. 0345 6018421 Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 9.00am to 3.00pm or on www.powyscitizensadvice.org.uk
- gov.uk – a range of useful information, including on all state benefits, access to benefits calculator tools which can be used anonymously to give an estimate of entitlements, and whether or not you will be better off.
- UK Benefits Calculators – Find out what benefits you could get, how to claim and what happens if your circumstances change.
- Getting Ready for Universal Credit – a tool to help you to see what you can do to prepare for Universal Credit
- carersuk.org and www.carers.org – excellent sites for all matters related to caring
- disabilityrightsuk.org – contains advice pages on benefits