DWP issues important Carer's Allowance update for everyone claiming the benefit across UK
The UK Government recognised the vital role unpaid carers played during the coronavirus pandemic by ensuring that the Carer’s Allowance benefit continued to be paid, despite changes to the way care was being delivered due to lockdown restrictions.
In March, 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) introduced a relaxation of rules around breaks in care and recognition of how emotional support was being given remotely over the phone, by text messages and emails, or by video calls.
However, now that restrictions across Scotland and the rest of the UK have been lifted, the DWP has announced that the Carer’s Allowance easements have now ended and no longer applied from August 31, 2021.
What are the Carer's Allowance easements?
The DWP introduced two temporary Carer's Allowance easements in response to the coronavirus outbreak which were designed to “help unpaid carers through the current emergency”.
The two new easements meant that:
- Carers were able to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they had a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they cared for got coronavirus, or if they had to isolate because of it
- The provision of emotional support to a disabled person would count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week
Am I eligible for Carer’s Allowance?
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets certain criteria.
The person you care for must already get one of these benefits:
Personal Independence Payment ( PIP ) - daily living component
Disability Living Allowance ( DLA ) - the middle or highest care rate
Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Constant Attendance Allowance at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
Armed Forces Independence Payment
If someone else also cares for the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.
The type of care you provide
You need to spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.
This can include:
helping with washing and cooking
taking the person you care for to a doctor’s appointment
helping with household tasks, like managing bills and shopping
If you or the person you care for are affected by coronavirus, you can still claim Carer’s Allowance if you provide care remotely, this includes giving emotional support over the phone or online.
Guidance on GOV.UK states that all of the following must apply:
You are 16 or over
You spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
You have been in Scotland for at least two of the last three years (this does not apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
You are not in full-time education
You are not studying for 21 hours a week or more
You are not subject to immigration control
Your earnings are £128 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses
How do I make a claim for Carer's Allowance?
You can claim online at the GOV.UK website here or phone the Carer’s Allowance Unit for a claim form on 0800 731 0297.
Before you apply make sure you have your:
National Insurance number (if you have a partner you’ll need theirs too)
Bank or building society details
Employment details and latest payslip if you’re working
P45 if you’ve recently finished work
Course details if you’re studying
Details of any expenses, for example pension contributions or the cost of caring for your children or the disabled person while you’re at work
GOV.UK guidance states that you also need details of the person you care for.
You need their:
Date of birth and address
National Insurance number if they are 16 or over
Disability Living Allowance reference if they are under 16
More help and advice about Carer's Allowance
You can get more help and advice from:
Find out more about claiming Carer’s Allowance on the Gov.uk website here.
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