Eligibility for Carer's Allowance

For information and discussion about benefits
Hello!

Apologies if this question has been asked before. I am new to the forum, so should perhaps start by introducing myself.

I having been careering on and off for my father for many years. He is disabled from birth, so I suppose I have been caring for him in one way or another since my childhood. More recently, his mobility has decreased; he is much older and now has cancer, so is extremely unwell. Given all this, I made the decision to come and live with him, leaving my family behind in Peru about 3 months ago.

The plan is to bring my partner over, once I have got things sorted here.

In order to get a visa for my partner (from Peru), I will need to provide evidence of an income of £18,600, which is exempt if one is in receipt of Carer's Allowance.

Caring for my father is in fact a full - time job. However, I had thought about getting a part-time job, but this has proved almost impossible where I live and in any case, it's unlikely that I would find one that would pay me 18,600 for two - three days work a week. With this in mind, I applied for carer's allowance and have now been informed (11 weeks later) that I am not eligible, as I have spent more than two out of the last three years living abroad ( in Peru). The fact that I am British, my father is British and I have years of NI contributions seems to count for nothing. Also that my father desperately needs my help, seems not to be taken into account at all.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is it something that I can appeal against? I am very sure that it would cost the state more than £62.50 a week to care for my father.

This now leaves me with a greater problem. How am I going to meet the eligibility criteria to bring my partner over?

I already feel exhausted and broken after caring for someone practically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a day off, since I got here and now find that it might be near impossible to bring my partner over.

Sorry, for this slightly emotional outburst, but I have no friends in this town. No one offers to help and I am separated from the one person I love and want to be with....

Any thoughts or help you can give me would be very welcome. Thank you!
Hi John
That does sound a very difficult situation for you and I'm truly sorry to hear how the gov't is treating you as an ex pat.
I suggest you contact the helpline or drop them an email as they are often very busy. Someone can back to you in a day or so.. I will post the link which I hope is correct but the forum has changed format recently so hope details are still teh same

https://www.carersuk.org/scotland/about-us/contact-us
the link Henrietta has provided is for Carers UK Scotland (not sure if that is where you are John ?)

But here are the details for the main Adviceline team
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org

Carers UK’s advice and information team based in London is undergoing staff changes. This means the Adviceline is closed on Thursdays and Fridays whilst we recruit and train new members of staff. We will be taking calls on Monday – Wednesday between 10am and 4pm. . You can email or write to the Adviceline and we will respond to your enquiries within five working days.

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 10am to 4pm.

If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.
John, is dad receiving any support other than you?
Are you an only child?
Does dad own his own house?
Does he have over £23,000 in savings? Yes/No is fine

Depending on the answers to these questions, a range of options are available.
Have you been given any indication as to how long dad is likely to live? If not, then try to find out. My dad's GP wouldn't tell me when he was dying of prostate cancer, so I rang a cancer helpline. They were accurate to within about 4 weeks, having heard the symptoms I described.
Have you made any plans for after dad has died? I hate asking this, but I lost 6 relatives in quick succession, and know from personal experience that it's easier (NOT easy) to think things through before they happen. Which funeral director to use, what music was dad's favourite, which close relatives would want to know he is seriously ill, where his Christmas card list is to tell everyone on it that he has passed away and when the funeral will be - I wrote a short letter and sent it to everyone telling them when my husband died, when the funeral would be, etc.
Sorry- wasn't quite awake and wasn't wearing my glasses LOL
John, are you hoping to settle in the UK permanently, after your father has died, or to return to Peru? I ask because if you are only here 'for the duration', ie, until your father has died, then would it not be possible for your partner to get a visa just for a temporary stay, or, at the very least, to come here 'on holiday' (not sure what the maximum time is) and then, once they are here, THEN see about getting their visa extended.

In practical terms, we know that the Home Office (or whatever deals with immigration now) is inundated with claims etc etc, and that that 'backlog' might actually work in your favour - ie, once they are 'here' and 'overstaying their visa' it might be hugely easier, in practice, to 'keep' them here, at the very least until your father has died.

That may sound a bit 'dodgy' but on the other hand, the important time is NOW when you are both emotionally and practically stressed, and need the emotional and practical support of your partner.

If nothing else, having your partner here, 'on holiday' officially, and then 'overstaying' and THEN facing 'deportation' would, at the very least, make a pretty good newstory for papers like the Guardian or the Daily Mail.......'Dying man's son/daughter in law faces deportation!' to get their teeth into.

It just seems to me that the important thing is to get your partner here NOW, because it's NOW that you need them - sorting out UK residency (if that is what you want), etc, is less urgent.

And, after all, even if your partner DOES have to return to Peru after their 'holiday', can they not return again after whatever is the minimum time they have to be out of the country to be allowed back in for 'another holiday'?

All that said, I think it is definitely essential to get some idea from your father's doctors as to just how long he is likely to have left. They may not be able to be accurate - all they can go on is the historical statistical probabily garnered from other patients at his age/condition/stage of cancer - but it would be a start.

Also, from the point of view of the immigration department, it would be 'helpful' to you if his life expectancy were as short as possible, as that would weight in your partner's favour to be 'allowed' to be here.

Wishing you the best possible, but right now I'd say just fly your partner here ASAP, on whatever grounds gets them into the UK, and then sort out whether they have to leave in the end. As we know from the press, actually getting to the point of someone being deported (marched on to a plane by police) can take YEARS......
PS - Also, why not get them here, and then marry them (if that's legal - ie, if they aren't married already to someone else) - again, if nothing else, it would make an even stronger news story in your favour, denying entry to someone whose father-in-law desperately wants to see their son married before cancer takes them......

(I'm not trying to sound cynical, just using the press to your advantage)

(I'll be blunt- when someone we love is dying, 'everything else' can fly out of the window. The overriding imperative is the wishes of the dying person. Stuff any legal niceities!)
Thank you so much for all the very helpful replies to my message (above). It is very reassuring to come to this site and see these responses and to find out that people actually care about what happens to me. I am not sure how to individually thank you for the messages, so hope that this group message will suffice.

To answer some of the questions above:

Since arriving back in the UK, I have been trying to get my father's things in order - Finances, bills, paperwork, will etc. It wasn't in a terrible mess, but somewhat in confusion. This I am still working on. It's hard, as I am sure you all know. I do not have power of attorney and on good days my father wants to know exactly what I am doing often going against things that we had already agreed on and on bad days, he's is totally disinterested and claims that I am messing everything up!

Added to this, the house is in a terrible state of repair. The walls are damp, the windows rotten and the roof leaking. So, I am trying to get this sorted and looking into grants to pay for some of it. I would gladly ignore it all, but I feel it's better to at least know where we are with things.

In terms of how long he will live, I just don't know. The cancer is not actually aggressive, but he's going through chemo all the same. This we are told will be on going...i.e. for ever. This I believe could mean that he is will of for years, which of course would be wonderful, but also means that I need to think long term about my situation.

Regarding my partner's visa and how I can support him, my own research has led me to understand that there are no actually laws defining the right to reside in the UK (DWP claim this has to be 104 weeks out of the last 156) and at in terms of benefits (such as Carer's Allowance) there have been cases where someone's genuine link to the UK (which is my case) overrides having been out of the country. Personally, this makes logical sense, but I have had a not particularly helpful letter from the DWP today, informing me that the reconsideration of my case has been declined that they are not concerned with who will look after my father, nor personal circumstances regarding the people involved. Personally, I question how can this be the case and think that the the law IS and SHOULD be interpreted!

Thank you for your suggestions regarding getting my partner over immediately. Believe me, what I wouldn't give to know that he is on his way over now, however, I do think that it's important to do things through the proper channels, as we don't know how long we will be here for. Also, if he were to over stay his visa, it would mean that he could never return and that would not be good. I know from personal experience that UK immigration is a whole piece of work in itself and one incorrect item of paperwork can mean your whole claim being thrown out.

What I also know is that in terms of spouse visas, you are not able to change your visa once in the UK. i.e. if you enter of a tourist visa, you need to leave the UK if you wish to change it to a spouse visa and apply from abroad. We are actually already married, so this isn't a problem. He could of course come for a short visit, but it's expensive and I would rather wait for a month to get him here permanently.

My plan is now the following:

- Go to the Citizen's advice and ask them to help me challenge the DWPs claim
- Look at other ways to get my partner over - perhaps pay for a lawyer. If any one can recommend anyone that gives free advice, I would be very grateful!

I am also planning to call the Carer's UK advice line on Monday, so thank you for this number.

Thanks again to all of you and hope you have lovely weekends. As I said, it means a lot of me to know that I am not alone.
John most solicitors will give you 30 minutes free advice - but I think you definitely need to find one that is fully conversant with immigration law, as you point out the subject is a minefield in itself !

Our own Adviceline team are very good and will be able to advise you on how to challenge the DWP letter - but I must point out that you will probably find it easier to email them (the phone lines are often oversubscribed - we desperately need more Advisors :( ).