Carers Allowance / Premium / Addition

See also To Claim Or Not To Claim for information and answers to the vexed question of if and when to claim this benefit.

What is Carers Allowance?

Qualifying Conditions

Earnings

Entitlement to Carers Allowance

Overlapping Benefit Rule

If any of these paid at more than £55.55 (2011/12 rate) then cannot be PAID Carers Allowance

Overlapping Benefits

Overlapping Benefits Example

Rosie is incapable of work and receives Incapacity Benefit. She cares for her father who recieves low rate Attendance Allowance. Rosie makes a claim for Carers Allowance.

Rosie cannot be paid Carers Allowance as she is receiving Incapacity Benefit at £94.25 (overlapping benefit) and it is paid at a higher rate than Carers Allowance of £55.55.

As she satisfies all the qualifying conditions for Carers Allowance but it cannot be paid due to the overlapping benefit rule, she has what is called an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance.

Underlying Entitlement

Entitlement to Carers Allowance does not stop because payment cannot be made

Underlying Entitlement could entitle a person to additional amounts (premiums) on other benefits or enable them to qualify for other benefits.

Positive Effects of Underlying Entitlement

Could qualify for

Other advantages, for carers under pension age:

Positive Effect of CA on PC/IS/ESA/JSA/HB/CTB

Example 1 - Mary

Mary is 64 and looks after her mother who gets Attendance Allowance. Mary has no savings and her total income is £130 per week. Made up of State Retirement Pension of £95.25 and Pension Credit of £34.75.

Mary applies for Carers Allowance but although she satisfies the qualifying conditions it cannot be paid because her retirement pension of £95.25 is higher than the level of Carers Allowance £53.10. Mary is counted as not being in a state of being paid Carers Allowance.

But because she has an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance she will now qualify for a Carers Addition of £29.50 in her Pension Credit.

This will increase her amount of Pension Credit she receives from £34.75 to £64.25. Her total income from all sources will increase from £130 to £159.50.

Because Mary is not counted as being in a state of being paid Carers Allowance, her mother would receive Severe Disability Premium were she entitled to it, regardless of Mary's caring.

Example 2 – Bob

Bob is single and receives Income Support of £64.30. He is caring for his brother Ben who receives Disability Living Allowance middle rate care component. Ben can no longer live on his own and has moved in with Bob.

Bob makes a claim for Carers Allowance and is entitled. He is not receiving an overlapping benefit and will be counted as in a state of being paid Carers Allowance. Despite that status he does not actually receive the £53.10 of Carers Allowance, but he does now qualifies for a Carers Premium of £29.50 in his Income Support amount.

His Income Support has now increased from £64.30 to £94.80.

By entering into a state of being paid Carers Allowance, Bob has now prevented his brother Ben from being able to receive Severe Disability Premium.

Warning – always, always, always check disabled persons benefits before making a claim for Carers Allowance / Premium. Because of Severe Disability Premium losses.

Severe Disability Premium / Addition

Severe Disability Premium is part of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Couincil Tax Benefit, income based Employment and Support Allowance. Severe Disabilty Addition (same thing, other than slightly different name) is part of Pension Credit.

To qualify, a claimant must be on

and must

and

Carers Allowance can have a negative or a neutral effect on severe disability premium.

Example 3 – John

John aged 59 is disabled and receives Income Support and Disability Living Allowance middle rate care component.

He lives alone in rented accommodation, no one receives Carers Allowance for looking after him.

John's daughter is a lone parent and she receives Income Support. She cares for John and has been advised to claim Carers Allowance.

John's Income Support (at 2009/10 rates) is made up of:

If his daughter claims Carers Allowance then he will loose the severe disability premium of £52.85 per week. He would not fulfil the criteria for this premium as someone would now be paid Carers Allowance for looking after him. His daughter would gain the £29.50 carers premium in her own Income Support, but that is less than the loss of money to her father. So overall, they will be better off without claiming Carers Allowance.

Example 3 – John with new circumstances

Later on, John becomes unable to remain living on his own and moves in with his daughter. Since he no longer lives alone, he does not qualify for Severe Disability Premium in his Income Support. He looses £52.85.

This means his daughter should now claim Carers Allowance as it will have no impact on his benefit, but will gain her the Carers Premium in her Income Support – an extra £29.50.

Severe Disability Premium for Couples

If

Then they will both qualify for Severe Disability Premium.

In cases like this, it can be possible for both members of the couple to get both the Severe Disability Premium and Carers Premium. For that:

Example – Lucy and James

Lucy (67) and James (70) are both disabled and both are receiving Attendance Allowance. They each apply for Carers Allowance for caring for each other. They have more income from their state retirement pensions than they would get from Carers Allowance.

As they both receive Attendance Allowance, live alone, and nobody is paid Carers Allowance for looking after either of them, Lucy and James both get an additional amount of £52.85 for Severe Disability in their Pension Credit.

Both get a Carer Additional Amount of £29.50 because they have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance and are not actually paid it as both are receiving an overlapping benefit.

Pension Credit

Both have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance because both are in receipt of an overlapping benefit (state retirement pension), so both qualify for a carer addition in Pension Credit

Example – Anne and Mark

Anne and Mark are in exactly the same situation as Mark and Lucy above – except that their State Retirement Pensions are less.

Mark's state retirement pension = £45

Anne's state retirement pension = £80

Pension Credit:

If Anne claims Carers Allowance, it is 'not paid' because her state retirement pension is more than the £53.10 rate of Carers Allowance.

If Mark claims Carers Allowance, he is said to be paid Carers Allowance, because his state retirement pension is less than £53.10. That is bad news, because it causes Anne to loose her severe disability premium/addition.

So in the case of this couple, Anne (only) should claim Carers Allowance. Mark should not.

Breaks From Caring

Claiming Carers Allowance

Complete claim form DS700. Get form from 01253 856123 or at direct.gov.uk/carers

Date of claim is when form is received, unlike DLA. So no advantage in phoning as opposed to just posting off form.

Backdates of up to 3 months can be argued for, are often achievable.

If you claim within 3 months of date of DLA/AA being awarded, the Carers Allowance claim is treated as having been made on the first date of payment of DLA/AA.

DLA/AA/CA awards may allow clients to qualify for Income Support. Submitting Income Support claim at the same time as Carers Allowance claim will allow that also to be backdated to date of DLA/AA award.

As a matter of procedure, it may be best to submit initial claims for Carers Allowance and for Income Support at the same time as you claim DLA/AA. Those claims will fail initially, but you are guaranteed a full backdate all the way on reclaiming when DLA/AA is finally awarded.

Extended Payments of Carers Allowance

If person being cared for dies, then Carers Allowance continues in payment for a further 8 weeks.