Millions are missing out on key benefit worth £332 a month

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is worth up to £3,991 a year, providing a significant boost to a person’s monthly income.

People who successfully claim can also be eligible for additional support such as Carer’s Credit, which can help boost their state pension payments. However, it’s believed that millions are missing out on the vital benefit, despite being eligible for it.

Insights from Carers UK found that as many as 10.6 million people are currently providing unpaid carers duties in the UK, many of whom will be caring for an elderly relative, friend or neighbour whose physical or mental health is in decline.

With inflation rates still standing in double digits at 10.1 percent and adding significant pressure to household finances, it could be worth people checking if they’d benefit from Carer’s Allowance.

How much is Carer’s Allowance?

Carer’s Allowance is paid at £76.75 a week, which amounts to around £332 a month and people can choose if they’d like it paid weekly in advance or every four weeks.

Who is eligible for Carer’s Allowance?

To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, claimants must first be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who receives the following means-tested benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – 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.

The claimant must have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years, must not be in full-time education, and cannot be studying for 21 hours a week or more.

They have to also be living in England, Scotland or Wales and earn £139 or less a week 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.

However, it should be noted that this is a taxable payment and can affect other benefits claimants might already be receiving.

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Claiming Carer’s Allowance can also impact the benefits of the person being cared for. For example, they will usually stop receiving the severe disability premium paid with their benefits, as well as the extra amount for severe disability paid with Pension Credit. It may also stop them from getting reduced Council Tax.

To check the impact that Carer’s Allowance might have on the severe disability payment, claimants are advised to contact whoever pays this benefit, which is usually the person’s local council, Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service Helpline, or Universal Credit.

An elderly care expert at TakingCare Personal Alarms commented: “Given the current financial climate, it’s crucial for unpaid carers to understand what financial support is available to them, particularly in light of the cost of living crisis and rising inflation.”

Elaborating on the additional benefits that can come with claiming Carer’s Allowance, the expert said: “One thing unpaid carers can claim for is Carer’s Credit, a National Insurance (NI) credit that helps bridge some of the gaps in a carers’ National Insurance record and helps towards your state pension.

“Claimants must care for someone for at least 20 hours per week, with the credit allowing them to maintain caring responsibilities and still contribute to their state pension, which is based on NI contributions.”

Alongside this, the elderly care expert suggested that carers should look to their local authority for further support.

They said: “Many councils will have their own list of registered organisations, charities and support groups that can help vulnerable or elderly people in the community.

“For those caring for elderly friends or relatives, it’s advisable to get at-home support through a needs assessment from your local authority which will help open the door to further support.”

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