Updated March 2013
How carers will be affected by planned changes to benefits
The Government is in the process of making the biggest changes to the benefits system for decades. This is bringing a great deal of uncertainty and fear for families affected by illness and disability who depend on benefits for their everyday living costs.
To try and explain, in plain English, what these changes will mean for carers and their families, Carers UK has put together a list of frequently asked questions about the changes the Government is making to the benefits system. This list was initially published in 2011 and has now been updated to take account of changes since then - we will continue to update it as further details are announced.
In general, the benefits system is the same across the UK – so unless an answer says so, it applies everywhere.
These questions do not cover everything, as the Government’s plans are affecting so many different parts of the system. But there are four key areas for carers:
- Universal Credit - this section explains the new Universal Credit the Government is introducing for people of working-age (people over pension age won’t be affected), which benefits are being replaced, when the changes will come in and what these changes will mean to carers and their families.This also includes the 'benefit cap' and changes to Housing Benefit known as the 'bedroom tax.'
- Carers’ benefits - although Carer’s Allowance is remaining as an independent benefit, working-age carers on means-tested benefits will move onto the Universal Credit.
- Disability Living Allowance - DLA for working age people is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment and the budget is being cut. What will this mean for families?
- Other changes – the Government is also making other changes including ‘localising’ Council Tax Benefit.