Universal Credit payment could give unpaid carers extra £169 a month

Rishi Sunak baffles MP with claims Universal Credit is 'generous'

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The benefit payment, which is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), includes various credits which offer financial top-ups to vulnerable groups. One of these said groups is unpaid carers, a demographic which has struggled to cope during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of this, many who have opted to become carers of loved ones over the last two years.

Among the available extra payments included with Universal Credit is the Carer’s Element, which is a means-tested benefit.

To receive this support, claimants must be looking after a severely disabled or ill person for at least 35 hours a week.

Recently, DWP benefit payments were increased by 3.1 percent in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation reported last year.

For the 2022-23 tax year, the Carer Element of Universal Credit came to £168.81 a month.

As well as this mean-tested benefit, there are multiple other elements of Universal Credit, including:

  • Child elements, which include extra amounts for disabled or severely disabled children
  • A childcare costs element
  • An SDP transitional element

Benefits are described as means-tested when a claimant’s eligibility and how much money they get is dependent on their income and how much capital they have acquired.

Usually, when the DWP calculates how much a claimant gets from the Carer’s Element, Carer’s Allowance is taken into consideration.

Carer’s Allowance is the primary DWP benefit awarded to unpaid carers by the Government if they look after someone for over 35 hours a week.

As it stands, applicants are stopped from claiming Carer’s Allowance if they are earning more than £128 a week.

Comparatively, someone’s income does not affect their ability to put forward a claim for the Carer’s Element.

While this differs from Carer’s Allowance, those who get the credit will have their someone’s earnings taken into account when determining how much overall Universal Credit they receive.

After this income is taken away from the maximum amount of Universal Credit, the remaining amount will be what they are finally given.

Anyone who thinks they are eligible to claim the Carer’s Element is encouraged to reach out to the DWP as soon as possible.

On its website, the Carers UK states: “You must tell the Universal Credit office that you are a carer using your online journal or calling if you are a telephone claimant.

“This is because they will not automatically know this and apply the element, even if you are getting Carer’s Allowance.

“You can inform them of your caring role even if you are yet to claim, or not going to claim Carer’s Allowance.”

As well as this, the organisation warned of the dangers posed by the claimant receiving the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit on the benefits given to the person they are looking after.

Carers UK added: “One important thing to note is that if the person you are looking after receives a severe disability premium (or addition) within their means-tested legacy benefits, they will lose this if your Universal Credit includes a carer element (regardless of whether or not you are also claiming Carer’s Allowance).”

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