Carer’s Allowance: Claimants could earn more than £132 each week and keep benefit

The eligibility criteria states that claimants must be earning £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses in order to qualify for the benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). However, a DWP minister has explained how some people can earn more than £132 a week gross and still retain Carer’s Allowance.

As the cost of living crisis continues and energy bills soar, many families will be feeling the financial squeeze as they struggle to keep up with inflation. Any extra cash could be vital for those on low incomes.

To be eligible for the benefit, applicants must care for someone at least 35 hours a week.

The person being cared for has to already be receiving one of these benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Child Disability Payment – the middle or highest care rate
  • Adult Disability Payment – daily living component.

People do not have to be related to, or live with, the person they care for.

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The DWP states the weekly earnings limit is designed to allow carers to combine their caring responsibilities with some paid employment where they can.

Chloe Smith MP, minister for disabled people explained: “It is set at a level that aims to encourage those who give up full time work in order to undertake caring responsibilities, to maintain a link with the labour market through part time work.”

However, she added that the £132 limit, which has increased by around a third since 2010, is a net figure which is the figure left once any Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and other allowable payments and expenses are deducted from met earnings.

Which means, some people can earn more than £132 a week gross and still retain Carer’s Allowance.

Ms Smith continued: “When calculating earnings for Carer’s Allowance purposes, any amount by way of a refund of income tax is disregarded.

“Once earnings exceed £132 a week (or on a weekly average where possible for those with fluctuating earnings) then there is no longer an entitlement to Carer’s Allowance and it will cease.”

For anyone considering making a new claim for Carer’s Allowance, the DWP recently confirmed that it currently takes 37 working days to process an application from initial submission to decision letter.

Britons cannot get Carer’s Allowance if they share the care of an individual with someone else.

The type of care that constitutes as ‘caring for someone’ includes tasks such as helping with washing and cooking, taking the person being cared for to a doctor’s appointment or helping with household tasks, like managing bills and shopping.

If people share the care of an individual with someone else, both people cannot get Carer’s Allowance, and a carer cannot get more if they care for more than one person.

Britons can make a claim on the website, or they can call 0800 731 0297 for a form.

Before someone applies they should make sure they have their:

  • National Insurance number (if they have a partner they’ll need theirs too)Bank or building society details
  • Employment details and latest payslip if they’re working
  • P45 if they’ve recently finished work
  • Course details if they’re studying
  • Details of any expenses, for example pension contributions or the cost of caring for your children or the disabled person while they’re at work.

Claiming Carer’s Allowance can affect other benefits that one my be getting.

People cannot get the full amount of both Carer’s Allowance and their state pension at the same time.

To find out more information on what benefits may be affected, people can visit the Government website.

Individuals can also use a benefits calculator to work out how their other benefits will be affected, if they are claiming them.

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