Carer’s Allowance to receive £109 rise but charity warns ‘carers are still losing out’

Ed Davey presses Boris Johnson on Carer's Allowance

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Eligible unpaid carers currently receive £67.60 per week from the Department for Work and Pensions through Carer’s Allowance. The April increase will see the rates rise to £69.70 and earning limits will also be increased from £128 to £132.

Earning limits can be a nerve-wracking aspect for Britons claiming Carer’s Allowance, as it sets the weekly limit of income one can receive without impacting their benefits payments.

The limit has increased in line with CPI like the benefit payments, but Carers UK has pointed out that this doesn’t actually align with the increase in National Living Wage.

Increasing the National Living Wage will see more unpaid carers earning more if they take on work outside of their caring responsibilities, which could impact their benefits.

The National Living Wage is currently £8.91 per hour, meaning an unpaid carer could work roughly 14.36 hours per week without losing their Carer’s Allowance payments.

The increased wage is set to be £9.50 per hour which would mean unpaid carers could only work 13.47 hours per week with the current earnings limit.

However, even taking into account the earning limits rise, carers will only be able to work a maximum of 13.89 hours in order to keep their benefits.

Earning more than the limit can be devastating for unpaid carers, as Carers UK noted: “The penalty for carers is significant. Going even £1 over the earnings limit means the carer loses 100 percent of Carer’s Allowance.”

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, commented: “This will mean many carers making tough decisions to either reduce work or leave work altogether. Despite the rise, carers are still losing out on working hours year on year as increases have not kept pace with the National Living Wage or average wage rises.

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“What we need urgently is a system that legislates for a year-on-year rise, in line with at least 16 times the National Living Wage.”

Ms Walker shared that this type of increase would enable carers to keep working and better their financial standing.

She added: “Carer’s Allowance still remains the lowest benefit of its kind for which carers need to provide at least 35 hours of care per week although we know that many provide round the clock care.”

Carers UK State of Caring survey in 2021 revealed that one in five carers were unsure if they would be able to financially cope over the next 12 months.

Even more worryingly, one in four said they may not have enough to cover monthly expenses.

To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, there are criteria that both the carer and their patient must meet.

Carers themselves must meet the following criteria:

  • Providing care for at least 35 hours per week
  • Aged 16 or over
  • Lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Not be studying for 21 or more hours per week
  • Not be subject to immigration control.

Additionally, eligible carers must be looking after a person that receives one of the following benefits:

  • PIP
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance with a War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Child Disability Payment.

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