Martin Lewis on carer's allowance and the effect on pensions
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Over a million people in the UK claim Carer’s Allowance and receive a payment of £69.70 each week. This can equate to an extra £3,600 every year. To claim the Carer’s Allowance, people must be caring for someone else for at least 35 hours a week, be over the age of 16 years and not earn more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment. This is after deductions for income tax, National Insurance and for pensions.
People do not have to be related to, or live with, the person they care for.
To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, the person being cared for must also be claiming at least one of the “qualifying benefits”.
These include Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Disablement Benefit, Armed Forces Independence Payment or Child/Adult Disability Payment.
If the person who is being cared for claims Severe Disability Premium (SDP) then this payment of £69.40 a week could be stopped when Carer’s Allowance has been claimed.
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Carers could also be eligible for Carer Premium or Carer Addition, which could top up certain benefits.
The Carer Premium and Carer Addition are both £38.85 a week.
To get the addition, 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.
Someone who receives Carer Premium could also be included in a claim for Council Tax reduction.
To find out, people will need to contact their local council to find out more information.
Universal Credit and Pension Credit can also be claimed as long as people are earning under the threshold.
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.”
In regards to the state pension, there is no upper age limit for claiming Carer’s Allowance although people cannot receive the full amount of both Carer’s Allowance and a state pension at the same time.
However, If a person’s state pension is less than £69.70 per week, they can get the difference paid in Carer’s Allowance.
For example, if the state pension is £50 per week people can get £19.70 per week in 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.
The type of care that constitutes “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.
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