One of the main problems with the benefits system today is that it can be deeply confusing. It’s convoluted, seemingly ever changing and often the information regarding who is entitled to what is not as publicised and transparent as it should be. So, if you’re wondering who is entitled to carers allowance and whether or not you or someone you know is legible to receive it, we’re going to go through all the information you need to know.
How Do I Qualify For Carers Allowance?
First off, you’ll need to be at least 16 years of age to qualify for this allowance. Although some young people do help out with elderly relatives earlier than that in some way or another, they are not entitled to any money, as 16 years of age is the minimum working age in general. There is no upper limit to how old you can be to provide care and receive carers allowance.
You must also not be earning any more than £116 a week, and childcare or replacement care costs can be deducted from your earnings when calculating whether you quality. So, if you earn over that amount but the costs of childcare reduce the amount earned to below the threshold, then you would still be eligible. Naturally, with a career in care commonly requiring long hours, it is unlikely that many people who are eligible would have time to earn much more than this amount after caring for more than 35 hours a week.
If you are in education, then the amount of time spent under supervised study must be less than 21 hours a week and you must be working less on your course than what is described as “full time study” by the college, university or establishment providing your education. This is in order to make sure that the person providing the care has enough time to do so adequately.
The person you are caring for can be anyone. It could be a relative or a partner, for example. The allowance can also be paid to more than one person per household
You may not be able to receive carers allowance if you receive a benefit at the at the same or at a higher amount. The types of benefit which could contribute to this include maternity allowance, contributory employment and support allowance, widows benefit, state pension, contribution based jobseekers allowance, incapacity benefit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Is the Person I Am Caring For Eligible?
They must be claiming (or waiting to hear about) one of the following benefits:
- Disability living allowance
- Attendance allowance
- Constant attendance allowance equal to the value of or more than the value of the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disabilities Benefit or at the rate of a basic full day war disablement pension
- Personal independence payment
- They may also lose their severe disability premium if you start claiming carers allowance. However, this only counts if they are receiving money, not just if they are eligible for severe disability premium.
How Much Money Do You Receive?
The amount of money you receive for carers allowance is £62.70 a week. Keep in mind that, as we’ve mentioned, this can be reduced by other factors, such as other benefits you may be receiving. However, there is also the possibility that, even if the amount you receive from other benefits is higher than this amount, you may still be able to get a top up on the money you are receiving for your care work, known as a carer premium.
What If I’m Not Eligible?
If you are not able to receive carers allowance, then you may still be able to receive something called carers credit. This is available to people who are providing care for over 20 hours every week and this credit helps you build up entitlement to the state pension. It will go on your national insurance records, ensuring there are no gaps due to you needing to take time out of employment to provide care. If you receive carers allowance, you will automatically get carers credit so there’s no need to apply for it separately.
Seek Out Advice
Although we’ve covered as much as we can here, there’s no doubting that carers allowance can be quite a complicated issue, particularly when other benefits are involved. This is especially the case in terms of benefits the person you are caring for receives, as it may negatively affect money they receive
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to get advice and talk through all your options to make sure that applying for carers allowance is the right thing for you.
One additional benefit to the carers allowance is that you will be exempt from the benefits cap, even if you choose not to receive money and are just eligible.