Carer’s Allowance claimants unlikely to get new Cost of Living support

Autumn Statement: Hunt announces rise in Universal Credit

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In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed the Government’s plans to increase benefits and the state pension in line with September’s CPI figure. Career’s Allowance is one of the many Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which will see an increase next year. Carer’s Allowance, which is a benefit given to unpaid carers in the UK, is currently worth £69.70 a week.

This equates to around £279 each month and £3,624 a year.

From next year, Carer’s Allowance will increase to £75.74 which will be £302 each month and be around just under £4,000 a year.

More than eight million households on means-tested benefits will receive an additional cost of living payment of £900, expected to be paid over two instalments in 2023-24.

The qualifying benefits remain the same as those for the £650 cost of living payment made to eligible households in July and in November.

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This means, just like this year, unpaid carers will not directly receive the support.

People claiming Carer’s Allowance will only receive support if they claim a means-tested benefit or are in a household where someone on a means-tested benefit does qualify for the £900 payment.

DWP has been asked several times over the last few months by MPs and charities, if there are plans to provide additional support to people claiming Carer’s Allowance.

However, the Government department has responded on every occasion stating that cost of living payments are targeted at households who are in receipt of a means-tested income replacement benefit.

In its response to these questions, the DWP has previously highlighted that nearly 60 percent of carers on low incomes who are of working age and on Carer’s Allowance also claim an income-related benefit.

This would mean they could be entitled to receive a cost of living payment.

Although no official statement in regards to Carer’s Allowance claimants receiving the £900 cost of living payment has been made by the DWP.

Due to the rules carrying over from the last set of support, it will be unlikely people claiming Carer’s Allowance will receive this support next year.

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Charities have voiced their frustration with the Government for this decision after lobbying for a change over the last year.

Carer’s UK, one of the UK’s biggest charities for carers and care workers, stated that it was “deeply disappointed” in the lack of targeted financial support for carers who are solely in receipt of Carer’s Allowance ahead of this winter.

Research by the charity found that two in five of those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are already in debt because of their caring role.

Carer’s UK noted that this needed to be “urgently rectified” by Government before next spring when benefit upratings will take place.

The charity highlight this as being particularly important due Mr Hunt’s announcement of the rise in minimum wage across the country.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK said: “We’re relieved that benefits are being uprated with inflation but this doesn’t tackle the long-lasting and systemic issues with the level of Carer’s Allowance which remains the lowest benefit of its kind, despite carers providing 35 hours of care.

“We need an urgent review of the benefit to ensure that carers don’t experience the kinds of poverty and financial hardship that we’ve seen even before the cost of living crisis.

“Whilst the extra funding for social care is welcome and will help with some of the pressure points in social care, it still falls short of what we really need to give carers the breaks and support they need – 40 percent of carers have not had a break in the last year.

“Long term sustainable funding of social care must remain an urgent priority for Government, to provide a decent life for people needing care, to prevent carers from having to give up work in order to care and to stop their health and wellbeing from deteriorating.”

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