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What is it?
This is an allowance at £61.35 weekly for people who spends at least 35 hours each week caring for a severely disabled person. Who has either Attendance Allowance or the middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance of £66.40 or over (Part of War Disablement Pension or Industrial Injuries) and from April 2013 the Daily Living Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
You do not have to be related to this person, or living with them. You can get C.A if you have never worked. You can get C.A. If you also have Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance yourself.
If you are paid C.A. or have claimed C.A. but are unable to be paid it due to having another benefit in your own right, you will have the carer premium (£34.20) included in your applicable amount for Employment Support Allowance (Income Related), Income Support (I.S), Income Based Jobseekers, Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax Benefits and Universal Credit.
If you are actually paid ANY Carers Allowance the person you care for will not receive the Severe Disability Premium (£61.10 wkly) in their Income Support (I.S), Income Based Jobseekers (IBJSA), Pension Credit, Housing and Council Tax benefits calculations. Because of this it is not always advantageous for you to claim C.A. Even if you are eligible. You and the person you care for should Seek Advice. before claiming.
C.A. is not means tested and does not depend on your previous years National Insurance Contributions, it is taxable. It also gives you a class one National Insurance Credit and a second State Pension.
You cannot be paid C.A. if your earnings are over £102 weekly, after deducting Tax , National Insurance, half of any contribution you make towards an occupational or personal pension, and up to half your net earning if you pay someone other than a close relative to care for the disabled person or your child under sixteen.
If your partner earns over £36.10 weekly you will be unable to have an addition for them, no new additions allowed after April 2010, if your partner earns over £220 in any week you lose an addition for one child, and for each £29 over this amount you lose for another child. These child additions would only apply to existing claims with transitionally proteced child additions already included before April 2003 when Child Tax Credits were first introduced
You cannot be paid C.A. If you already receive the same amount or more from any of the following benefits, Severe Disablement Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Contributory Employment Support Allowance, Contribution Based Jobseekers, State Training Allowance, Unemployability Supplement, Retirement Pension, or Widows Benefits.
The C.A. Rules allow breaks in care of up to 12 weeks within any six month period without you losing payment of C.A. Up to 4 weeks can be for any temporary breaks in care, such as holidays or respite care, during this 4 week temporary break in care you are allowed to earn over the normal £102 weekly limit on earnings and not lose your C.A. The remaining 8 weeks allow for either the carer or the disabled person to undergo medical or other treatment as an in- patient in hospital. Note that if the disabled person is in hospital for over four weeks, or for children 12 weeks, they will lose their qualifying benefit for you to be able to claim C.A., so your C.A. could be stopped sooner than 12 weeks. If you go into hospital your C.A. will continue for 12 weeks as long as you have not already had time off during the last six months.
Claim using form DS700 available from DSS offices, advice centers or on-line at the Direct.gov.uk web site. If you were entitled to C.A. before the date you claim and can show that you meet all the qualifying conditions then C.A. can be backdated for up to three months. If the person you care for has claimed or is trying to increase their existing Attendance Allowance (AA) or Disability Living Allowance (D.L.A) award but is still waiting for a decision you will have three months from the letter awarding the qualifying benefit or increase to claim Carers Allowance and it will still be fully backdated to the original date D.L.A or A.A was first award or increased even if this a lot more than three months ago.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. My spouse works full time. I have no income except Child Benefit and Working Tax Credit. My son aged 4 has only just been awarded the middle rate care of D.L.A (£54.45 wk), due to his illness. Do I have a claim for CA. I do look after him, but do not feel that I will be entitled.
A. As we have said before, if you or any member of your family is awarded D.L.A for the first time or a higher level of D.L.A. You should have a full benefits check done right away, as any award of D.L.A can mean extra money for you or your carer. You do have a claim for CA at £61.35 weekly. You should claim using form DS700 available at benefits agencies or advice centres. You must backdate the claim to when your son's award started.
Q. I care for and live alone with my disabled mother in her house. She has A.A at the high rate £81.30 weekly. I have Contribution Based Employment Support Allowance (ESA) in my own right of £108.15 with a means tested top-up at £15.55 weekly giving me £123.70 weekly ESA, this is my only income. I have no savings. I phoned my local Benefits Agency to ask about Carers Allowance and was told that as I had ESA there was no point in me claiming, as I would not be paid any Carers Allowance. Is this correct?
A. What the Benefit Agency is saying is correct. You are unable to be paid both of these benefits at the same time. However you should still claim Carers Allowance, you will not receive payment, but you will be eligible for the Carer Premium in your ESA applicable amount. Your present income (£123.70 ESA) will go up by the value of the Carer premium (£34.20) giving you £157.90 weekly ESA. Your mother should also seek advice about her Council Tax and her other benefit entitlement.
Q. I am about to turn Pension Age November. I have had Carers Allowance for some years. I have been told that I should receive about £31 per week Retirement Pension. As this is less than I have with Carers Allowance, do I have to claim this pension in November?
A. Women can continue on CA after Pension Age (65 for men) if their Retirement Pension is less than their CA entitlements.
Q. I am a single fit and health man. I claim IBJSA. I look after my disabled mother. Who lives alone, and has Pension Credit and A.A. I have been finding it difficult at the Jobcentre when I go into sign on. As they expect me to be available for work a lot more than I am able to allow, due to caring. I did ask about claiming I.S as a carer, but was told that I could not claim I.S as a carer due to not also claiming CA. I know that if I do claim CA my mother will lose a lot of her benefit. Can you help?
A. To be eligible for I.S, and therefore not be required to sign on or be available for work. You must be caring for someone who has in payment or is waiting to hear about a claim for, D.L.A middle or high rate care or A.A any rate or PIP. As your mother has A.A paid already you are eligible for I.S as a carer now regardless of whether you have claimed CA or not. Claim on 0800 0 55 66 88 or by using form A1 available from Benefits Agencies.
Q. I look after my mother who lives alone and has A.A high rate and Pension Credit. I have I.S as a single parent with two children. Should I claim Carers Allowance?
A. No. Do not claim until you and your mother have a benefit check done. From what you say you could lose your mother £61.10 weekly (The Severe Disability Premium) by claiming Carers Allowance and you would only gain £34.20 (The Carer Premium) seek advice 01387 266 888 for possible ways round this rule.
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