Martin Lewis on carer’s allowance and the effect on pensions
Carer’s Allowance is intended to help Britons who care for another person for at least 35 hours a week, who receive certain benefits. To receive the benefit, a carer does not have to be related to, or live with, the person they are caring for. However, despite Carer’s Allowance extending a helping hand to Britons, it is thought many are not receiving the help they are entitled to.
Research by Turn2Us has shown up to 440,000 people providing unpaid care may not be claiming.
This equates to £1.3billion of unclaimed Carer’s Allowance annually, according to the charity.
There are likely to be a number of reasons people might not be claiming Carer’s Allowance at present.
People may choose not to claim the benefit, or may simply be unaware of their entitlement.
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The government has laid out clear eligibility rules to help people ascertain whether they could make a claim.
A carer will need to spend at least 35 hours a week helping someone, including helping with household tasks, or washing and cooking.
Due to COVID-19, care also now includes providing support over the phone or online to another person.
The carer must be 16 or over, resident in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years, and not in full-time education.
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Their earnings must be £128 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses, and they must not be studying for 21 hours a week or more.
The person someone is caring for must already receive certain benefits.
These include Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance.
However, many organisations believe Carer’s Allowance is not currently offering the right amount of support.
At present, recipients could receive £67.25 a week for the support they offer to another person in the form of care.
An ongoing campaign spearheaded by Carers UK has urged the government to increase the benefit to help those who need it most.
Last month, Carers UK delivered a second open letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and copied to the Chancellor.
It was signed by 75 organisations restating a case for an immediate increase to Carer’s Allowance.
The latest letter followed two others, written in July 2020 and in early 2019 respectively.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, commented on the matter.
She said: “The coronavirus pandemic continues to exacerbate the ongoing financial struggle that far too many unpaid carers face.
“Without urgent support from government, carers and their families are going to face significant hardship this winter.
“It is not too late for the government to act and acknowledge the additional practical and financial strain that has been placed on carers during the crisis, by putting in place much needed financial support ahead of this coming winter.
“Without this help, many will continue to face real hardship and suffering. The government must act now to make Carer’s Allowance Fairer for Carers.”
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