Millions are missing out on underclaimed benefit worth £3,624 a year

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Carer’s Allowance is a benefit distributed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is worth up to £3,624 a year, providing a sizeable boost to a person’s monthly income. However, it’s believed that millions are missing out on the vital benefit, despite being eligible for it.

Research from Carer’s UK revealed that more than 6.5 million people in the UK are carers, which is a ratio of one in every eight adults.

But according to the House of Commons Library Family Resources Survey, around six percent of the UK population (around 4.2 million people) are providing ‘informal care’, which means they aren’t being paid for it.

With inflation rates soaring by 11.1 percent in the year to October 2022 and adding significant pressure to household finances, it could be worth people checking if they’d benefit from Carer’s Allowance.

Currently paying £278 a month, Carer’s Allowance could provide valuable support with rising living costs.

Who is eligible for Carer’s Allowance?

To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, claimants must first be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone who receives the following means-tested benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – daily living component
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – the middle or highest care rate
  • Attendance Allowance
  • 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
  • Child Disability Payment – the middle or highest care rate
  • Adult Disability Payment – daily living component.

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The claimant must have been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least two of the last three years, must not be in full-time education, and cannot be studying for 21 hours a week or more.

They have to also be living in England, Scotland or Wales and earn £132 or less a week after tax, National Insurance, and expenses.

The Government website lists expenses to include:

  • 50 percent of their pension contributions
  • Equipment needed to do a job, for example, specialist clothing
  • Travel costs between different workplaces that are not paid for by the employer, for example fuel or train fares
  • Business costs if someone is self-employed, for example, a computer they only use for work.

Claimants can also be eligible if they live abroad as a member of the armed forces, or are already in or moving to an EEA country or Switzerland.

If the above criteria apply, it should be noted that this is a taxable payment and can affect other benefits claimants might already be receiving.

How might claiming Carer’s Allowance impact the person being cared for?

When a person receives Carer’s Allowance, the person they care for will usually stop receiving the severe disability premium paid with their benefits, as well as the extra amount for severe disability paid with pension credit. It may also stop them from getting reduced council tax.

To check the impact that Carer’s Allowance might have on the severe disability payment, claimants are advised to contact whoever pays this benefit, which is usually the person’s local council, Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service Helpline, or Universal Credit.

Is Carer’s Allowance going to increase?

Millions of Britons are due to see a rise in their benefit payments from April 2023 after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed during his Autumn Statement that rates will rise with inflation.

Carer’s Allowance is one of the many benefits to see the uplift, equivalent to September 2022’s inflation rate of 10.1 percent.

Last week, the DWP confirmed that Carer’s Allowance will increase from £69.70 a week, to £76.75 a week. This could see eligible claimants receive up to £3,991 a year, which could be equivalent to around £332 a month.

People can choose whether they’d like to be paid weekly or monthly and funds are paid directly into the person’s specified account.

If people think they are eligible to claim, they can start an application on the Government website here, or they can call 0800 731 0297 for a form.

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