Do you care for your elderly parents? If so, you could be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. This is a government benefit that supports people who provide unpaid care.
Caring for your parents can be very rewarding, but it can also place a strain on your finances. That’s why it’s so important to claim any support that you can. Today’s blog will be a simple guide to Carer’s Allowance. We’ll explain how you qualify as well as how much you could receive.
Can I Claim Carer’s Allowance?
You could be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you meet the following criteria:
– You spend at least 35 hours per week caring for someone
– The person you care for receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance.
– You don’t earn more than £128 per week after tax.
– You aren’t in full-time education.
Despite what you may assume, you don’t have to be related to the person you’re caring for in order to claim Carer’s Allowance. It could be your elderly parent(s), another relative, or a friend or neighbour.
How Much Could I Get?
The rate of Carer’s Allowance changes every tax year (from 6 April one year to 5 April the next year). In 2020/2021, the rate is £67.25. However, from the start of the new tax year, the rate will be £67.60 per week.
If you receive any other benefits, claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after elderly parents could affect how much you receive. For example, you cannot receive the full amount of both Carer’s Allowance and the State Pension. If the amount you receive from your State Pension is more than Carer’s Allowance, you won’t receive any Carer’s Allowance money. However, if your State Pension is less, you’ll get the different paid in Carer’s Allowance. This extra amount is called a Carer’s Premium or Carer’s Addition. We know that these rules can be quite complicated, so we would recommend contacting your local Citizens Advice centre for more information.
However, even if you can’t receive any money from Carer’s Allowance, it’s still worth making a claim as you can be awarded an ‘underlying entitlement’.
This term essentially means that you meet the criteria for Carer’s Allowance but you cannot receive the money as it overlaps with another benefit e.g. State Pension. However, this can still be a helpful thing to have. An underlying entitlement can increase any means-tested benefits you already receive or help you qualify for other means-tested benefits for the first time.
Remember, means-tested benefits will depend on your income and savings (as well as your partner’s income and savings, if applicable).
How to Claim
If you want to claim for caring for your elderly parents, there are a few ways to apply. You can use the government’s online form by clicking here. Alternatively, you can apply by post – you’ll need to print off a paper form and fill it in. Click here to download and print the relevant forms.
While you cannot apply by telephone, you can call the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0800 731 0297 for help with your claim.
What if I Don’t Qualify?
If your application is not successful, you have a few options. You may wish to ask for a written statement of the reasons behind their decision. You will then be able to use this as evidence when you request a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. This is the first step of the appeal process. It gives the benefits office the opportunity to review the reasons behind the original decision and reconsider. To request a mandatory reconsideration, you’ll need to write to the address on your original decision letter. You should include the reasons why you think the decision is wrong as well as any evidence to support your claim.
Be sure to submit this request as soon as possible after receiving the initial decision – there should be a deadline on your original decision letter.
You’ll then receive a mandatory reconsideration notice in the post. This will tell you whether your claim has been granted or denied. From there, you’ll usually have up to one month to appeal the decision.
More Useful Benefits
If you are caring for your elderly parents, Carer’s Allowance is there to support you. There are also lots of useful benefits which your parents may be able to claim. For more information, read our helpful guide to benefits for elderly people.
How Careline Can Help
When you have elderly parents, it’s only natural to worry about things like falls and medical emergencies. That’s where a Careline alarm can help. Our life-saving alarms make sure that your elderly parents can always call for help with just the touch of a button. Standard alarms consist of a comfortable pendant, which can be worn around the wrist or neck, and a base unit that plugs into the mains power.
We also offer a Fall Detector alarm and a state-of-the-art GPS Alarm for additional peace of mind.
To find out more about the Careline alarm service or place an order, call our friendly team today on 0800 101 3333. Alternatively, read our complete guide to the alarm service or order your Careline alarm online.