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DWP urges carers to claim £2,000 boost after missing out on cost of living cash

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Carer’s and charities have become frustrated with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the last year and have called on the support to be made available for those claiming Carer’s Allowance. Currently, those who claim a means-tested benefit or tax credits are able to claim the £650 help and the DWP has repeatedly said it would not be changing the criteria. This mean Carer’s Allowance claimants will likely not receive the £900 Cost of Living support payment next year.

The reason why the DWP has not included this benefit in the list of its qualifying criteria is that carers on low incomes are able to claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit.

The DWP explained this in it’s response to a petition calling for the Carer’s Allowance benefits, which currently pays £69.70 a week, to be increase to the equivalent of 35 hours at National Minimum Wage.

The Government department said: “Carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit, alongside Carer’s Allowance.

“Universal Credit can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the payment of the carer element.

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“In April 2022, the Universal Credit carer element increased to £168.81 per month. Around 405,000 (Feb 22 data) carer households on Universal Credit can receive around an additional £2,000 a year through the carer element.”

The DWP further explained how it “recognises” the “important role” unpaid carers have in the UK however, Carer’s Allowance is not intended to be a placement for a wage or a payment for the services of care.

It added: “The principal purpose of Carer’s Allowance is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who choose to give up the opportunity of full-time work to provide regular care for a severely disabled person.

“It has never been the role of the Government to pay people for the tasks they undertake, voluntarily, in the way that an employer would, and this Government has no plans to change that principle.

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“Instead, successive Governments have supported carers through allowances and benefits as well as wider cross-government actions.”

In a separate comment, the DWP pointed out that nearly 60 percent of carers on low incomes who are of working age and on Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Element could have been entitled to the £326 and £324 cost of living payments if also claiming an eligible benefit.

To claim the Carer’s Allowance, people must be caring for someone else for at least 35 hours a week, be over the age of 16 years and not earning more than £132 a week from employment or self-employment.

This is after deductions for income tax, National Insurance and for pensions.

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Paid every four weeks, the amount someone can receive for Carer’s Allowance each month sits at £279.

The carer element of Universal Credit is worth £168.81 each month, or £38.85 a week, for the 2022-23 financial year.

It is not the same as Carer’s Allowance, where a person is prevented from claiming if they are earning above a certain level which is £132 per week for 2022-23.

For the Carer’s Element, the level of earnings does not prevent the person from claiming.

However, as the Carer’s Element is a part of Universal Credit, which is means-tested and a person’s earnings and other income will affect how much Universal Credit overall someone is entitled to.

To claim this, people must inform the Universal Credit office that they are an unpaid carer using their online journal or calling if they are a telephone claimant.

The amount people are to receive from Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit is set to rise next year.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed in his Autumn Statement last week that benefits were going to rise by 10.1 percent in April next year.

When the hike is implemented, Carer’s Allowance weekly payment will rise to £76.74.

Carer’s Element has also been confirmed to increase with the 10.1 percent taking the payment to around £42 from April next year.



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