Benefits warning: Carer’s Allowance rules have changed – how payments are affected
Ed Davey presses Boris Johnson on Carer's Allowance
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In March 2020, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced a relaxation of rules relating to how support was provided by the Government. This included emotional support able to be given over the phone, by email, through text messages and via video calls. On top of this, the DWP rolled back rules when it came to breaks in between an individual’s period of caring for someone, with the service no longer penalising benefit claimants for taking time out if it was due to Covid.
However, with lockdown having ended, the Government has eased its previously introduced rule changes for benefit claimants, which could see their Carer’s Allowance payments affected.
This had to be because the claimant or the person they cared had contracted COVID or if they had to be isolated because of it.
Furthemore, how benefit claimants provided emotional support to the people they were caring for would also be taken into account by the DWP as part of the 35-hour a week threshold.
According to the DWP, the Government implemented these easements to “help unpaid carers through the current emergency”.
Thanks to these rule changes, Carer’s Allowance recipients were able to receive payments even if they had a break in caring for someone.
As of August 31, 2021, both of these easements have been rolled back by the Government as Covid becomes less of a contributing factor in people’s lives and to encourage more face-to-face interaction.
Benefit claimants are encouraged to become aware of how these rules changes could affect their future Carer’s Allowance payments.
Following these changes, those receiving Carer’s Allowance may need to change the way they provide support in order to claim the full benefit payment.
Who is eligible for Carer’s Allowance?
In order to receive this payment, benefit recipients and the person they are caring for must meet certain criteria in the eyes of the DWP.
The person being cared for must be currently getting another separate benefit payment from the DWP.
Examples of these qualifying benefits include the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the middle or highest rate of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.
If another person assists the claimant in caring for someone, only one individual can put forward a claim to represent them both.
Claimants must provide at least 35 hours a week of support for the person they are currently caring for.
This must include everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, washing, managing bills and shopping.
All recipients must be at least over the age of 16, have lived in the UK for at least three years and must not be taking part in full-time education.
Claimants could receive upwards of £67.60 a week for their services, which is paid every four weeks by the DWP.
To put forward a claim, Britons can either apply online at the GOV.UK website or call the Carer’s Allowance Unit to pick up a claim form.
As part of the application, future claimants must disclose their National Insurance number, bank details, personal information and work history.
The person being cared for must also share their National Insurance number, date of birth and Disability Living Allowance reference number if they are under 16 years old.
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