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Carers allowance and earning over £102 (now £110) per week.

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:11 am
by Scally
This has come up again, and here is my take on the rules on caring and working: basically the rules are there but they have some major loopholes as long as you read them carefully:

All forms of respite, including sports or dance classes, are an allowable deduction, on the grounds that they constitute a direct form of respite. You don't have to ask the DWP about issues like this, you just tell them, and if they don't have a specific advice note in their manual, they can't refuse you.

What is also very interesting - (but please don't tell the DWP this) - is that the source of funds for such respite is also not an allowable factor in the calculation. So it could be that your granny - or your partner - actually gives you the money in cash to pay for such lessons, but they still constitute an allowable deduction: because there is no legal provision for the DWP to ascertain the source of funding. If it gets paid, and if there is a receipt, just claim it. Stay one jump ahead. They play games with us all the time, and we have no option but to play those games back. They have no statutory right to question your source of funds for respite, as long as you have a receipt. Because Carers Allowance isn't means tested - after all, unearned income such as my occupational pension is disregarded. Think about it. In this family at least, we also try to claim the maximum allowances for respite costs, which is up to £51 per week, quite legally.
If you have to pay for someone to look after the person you care for or a child under 16 while you are at work you can deduct those payments from your earnings up to the value of half your earnings (after the above deductions if they apply). However, this will not apply if the person you are paying is a close relative (a spouse, partner or civil partner, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister).
It is when you start to add up all these deductions that it becomes perfectly possible to earn £10k per annum - or even slightly more - and still claim Carers Allowance quite legally, as long as you have some financial flexibility in your family context. Your spouse could be earning £50k - it makes no difference. You could have £100k income per annum from investments: still makes no difference. OK, these are extremes, but it shows what is possible.

You can probably even be running a deficit income from work (on paper) after paying for respite and pension contributions - and still claim Carers Allowance. (after all, the government itself runs up a deficit budget, but personally I have never tried this one). You can certainly for example pay up to 100% of your income into a private pension, claiming 50% of it as an allowable expense, should you have the wiggle room financially.

Not a lot of people know that. :shock: :roll: :!:

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:39 am
by crocus
Could someone please make this a sticky so that people will see it?

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:02 pm
by Henrietta
Hi Scally
Once again- I am liking your thread but could you clarify? When you say respite for example swimming lessons. Does this mean for me the carer to have swimming lessons as opposed to the carree? It seems to good to be true so would like it clarified. I've just spent loads on swimming lessons and gym memebership. (not sure I still have the receipt though as I had a clear out but for the future perhaps).
Also what about paying for respite care for the carree , not when you are working but when you are using up your annual leave entitlement on holiday. Do they assume you should spend your holiday with the carree?
Could we have some other ideas what this might include -does it have to be physical exercise or educational or could you say include a hobby- trying to think of something which is neither-bingo or something like that perhaps? Could we knock up a list of possible things to consider including?
How would you present this to the powers that be?-just on the back of that form they send you as an irregular earner when they ask about changes in circumstances?
Looking forward to your enlightening reply?
Just another thought regards respite- what about holiday expenses ?(for those of us lucky enough to get a break)
Sounds like this is worth some serious thought.

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:56 pm
by Scally
Technically no: it just covers your carees' direct costs of doing something whilst 'you are at work'.
Of course 'at work' is a flexible concept. I mean, marking homework, catching up on your paperwork, or filing accounts for your business all counts as work. So does even thinking about work, or chatting with your partner about work problems: they never ask, and what you count as work is your own business. Literally, if you have the indulgence of being self-employed or working from home.

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:23 am
by Frito
So am I right in thinking then that as long as some kind of 'service' is provided and you gain a receipt, the activity that your caree does can be discounted as respite?
For instance, my sister goes to the cinema a good deal with a disabled friend and his PA. Sometimes my brother goes too, usually he drives and leaves her but sometimes he stays. I could pay him for this and have it discounted.
Given that they have no way of ascertaining where the money comes from, if my sister paid for it (but not out of any state benefit, PIP or direct payment) then it could be discounted too?
But if she just went to the cinema, alone, without my brother or some kind of escort then the cost of the cinema ticket couldn't be discounted, because it's not a service, as such?

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:29 am
by Scally
Cinema ticket is fine: those staff have a duty of care to all their patrons.
But relatives are a no-no...
However, this will not apply if the person you are paying is a close relative (a spouse, partner or civil partner, parent, son, daughter, brother or sister).

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:34 am
by Scally
By the way, they are now asking for the name and address of people providing care, so they are tightening up: potentially this means that they could be checking the tax and or benefits status of people you pay. Thats OK, just register as an employer and pay them tax and NI if you need to. It is far easier than you think.

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:38 am
by Frito
Ok thanks for that. I mentioned my brother as my sister is able to use her ILF money to contract him as a self-employed PA as he doesn't live with her, whereas she can't contract me as I live with her.
So if cinema is deductable then are coffee shops, restaurants and pubs too?
I don't claim carers allowance as I claim carers benefit from another EU state but just thinking it through for other members (and when my social security contributions run out and I start claiming here).

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:58 am
by Scally
Hmm , all I can say is, you can always try. If they think you are taking the Mickey they will probably challenge you, so I try to keep it very simple. :lol:

Re: Carers allowance and earning over £102 per week.

Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:51 pm
by Henrietta
Sorry to be sounding rather thick but I am still not clear about who the respite is for.
Take for example a daughter who cares for her mother.
Do you mean courses or lessons for the daughter to give her repite from her caring duties? -Or do you mean courses or lessons for the mother to take her away from the daughters care for the duration of her activity, thus giving the carer daughter a respite break?