Carer’s Allowance: Thousands of unpaid carers are eligible for £3,600 boost from DWP

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

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Delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the money aims to financially support those who are providing care for someone else for at least 35 hours a week. Carer’s Allowance does not depend on National Insurance contributions and is not means-tested so it is not based on personal income or savings. People can qualify for the cash whether they are in or out of work. 

However, people must not earn more than £132 a week after deductions for income tax, National Insurance and for pensions.

People don’t have to be related to or live with the person they care for to get Carer’s Allowance and they must be over the age of 16 years. 

The person cared for must also be claiming at least one of the “qualifying benefits” in order to be eligible for the support. 

These include Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Disablement Benefit Armed Forces Independence Payment, and Child/Adult Disability Payment.

The type of care that is classed 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 a person shares the caring duties with someone else, only one of them can claim Carer’s Allowance.

People can also only claim Carer’s Allowance once, even if they are providing care for multiple people. 

Carers could also be eligible for Carer Premium or Carer Addition, which could top up their benefits.

The Carer Premium and Carer Addition are both £38.85 a week.

To get this, people will need to be claiming Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or Housing Benefit.

If a person qualifies, the Carer Premium and Carer Addition will usually be added to their benefit automatically.

The DWP is encouraging Britons to check their eligibility for certain benefits and to claim what they are entitled to. 

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Charities in the social care sector have called for more support for unpaid carers as they are more likely to be at risk of falling into poverty as the cost of living crisis worsens.

Someone who receives Carer Premium could also be able to claim for Council Tax reduction if they meet the criteria. To find out, people will need to contact their local council.

Universal Credit and Pension Credit can also be claimed as long as people are earning under the threshold.

However, Britons are warned that their Carer’s Allowance may change if they claim other benefits.

The Government website states: “When you claim Carer’s Allowance your other benefit payments may change, but your total benefit payments will usually either go up or stay the same.

“Carer’s Allowance does not count towards the benefit cap.

“If you get Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you must contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to tell them about your Carer’s Allowance claim.

“If you get Pension Credit, your payments will increase if you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance.”

The Government website recommends that people use a benefits calculator to work out how their other benefits could be affected by claiming Carer’s Allowance.

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