Carer's 35 Hour Test?

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Hi all,
I have been claiming Carer's Allowance as a carer for my disabled partner since 1997. However, now due to the benefit changes, and my partner now claiming Income related ESA for the past 26 Weeks having been transferred from I.S. and participating in the Working Activity Group Programme, a recent benefit update letter has now stated that I may be required to attend a Working Activity Interview myself shortly.

Reading the Disability Rights Handbook (e41), it states that as a recipient of Carer's Allowance, or a Carer's Premium via ESA, following the Interview I would not be required to attend or be a part of any Working Group Activities, subject to passing the "Carer's 35 Hour Test" (C8;2;p58). Am I right to assume these are the stages listed under the claiming Carer's Allowance section on this website, since I am unable to find any reference anywhere else as to what this test is?

I had a Carer's Assessment last year (2016) which fully instated me as being a Carer. However, as my partner is currently being made to participate in the two year programme under ESA (not qualifying for the Support Group) with the aim to finding employment at the end of it, even though she would not loose the benefits including PIP that entitles me to be her Carer, how do I prove that I still pass the 35 hour test? :-??? :-???
Contact the helpline as they gave me all the information I needed in a not too different situation.
Please take BB's advice and phone the Adviceline.

In the meantime this may help - ... -allowance

You look after that person for at least 35 hours a week

The 35 hours can include:
•time spent physically helping the person
•time you spend ‘keeping an eye’ on the person you look after, eg preventing them coming to harm by walking out of the house
•time spent doing practical tasks for them, eg cooking
•time taken doing practical tasks, even if you don’t do them in the presence of the person you are looking after, may also count (for instance, if you look after someone who visits you regularly for the care they need, time spent preparing for the visit or cleaning up afterwards should count)

You must provide 35 hours of care for every week you claim Carer’s Allowance (the 35 hours can be at any time of the day or night). For Carer’s Allowance, a week runs from Sunday to Saturday. You cannot average out your hours over a number of weeks. However you are allowed certain breaks in care (you can see more information on breaks in care here).

You cannot add together the time you spend caring for different people to make up the 35 hours. If you care for more than one person, you must choose which person you claim for, as you can only get one payment of Carer’s Allowance.

Similarly, if you share the caring role with another person, and you both provide at least 35 hours of care every week, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance. You need to decide between you who should make the claim. The other person should seek advice about the benefits they can claim, and may be able to claim Carer’s Credit for the time they are caring.

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Am I right in thinking that ESA under WRAG terminates after 12 months?

Have you considered how your partner will get any income if the ESA comes to an end?
Colin, you really need professional help with this as the new regulations can be a mine field, plus all depends on each set of circumstances.

Adviceline details on this link. They can ask more in depth questions whilst keeping confidentiality. ... adviceline

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Brian, in recent years DWP have made many of their most experienced staff redundant, replaced by staff given 6 weeks training on how to use the computer system, which in itself is unfit for purpose. It simply doesn't have full details of every benefit.
As a result, DWP staff are giving out wrong information, and wrongly trying to get carers back into work, when they are exempt.
Ours Carers UK helpline knows far more of the detailed rules than DWP staff now, crazy, but true.
Sometimes I may encourage someone to claim by explaining my son's situation and what he is eligible, as a sort of signpost. The only way to get a clear 100% accurate answer to your own situation is to ring or email the helpline. They don't bite!
Thank you to everyone that has replied to my post, especially bowlingbun.

My partner/wife has had another ESA Working Activity Group benefit update dated 22 May 2017 with the same statement as mentioned in my original post with regard to a letter dated 8 March 2017 from Jobcentreplus/DWP. However, I have still to receive a formal letter inviting me to attend a 'Work Focused Interview with a Personal Advisor.

Hopefully bb you are right in saying it is an error being stated by new DWP staff. I will follow your advise and seek assistance from the helpline, as a next step.

What is also interesting to note, is that I thought the negotiating process between the ESA Working Group Activity Programme agents and potential employment managers for 'Work Experience Placements' would be a delicate procedure, taking time matching up a person noting their personal needs and limitations with a suitable business and working environment. However, following a recent appointment my wife had on Friday, this was far from the truth. The business owner felt pressured by the agent into seeing my wife the following afternoon, giving him and us less than 24 hours notice. The manager had a sleepless night trying to come up with ideas of suitable roles that my wife could perform in her wheelchair. Instead, both the manager and my wife ended up having an amicable discussion over how ludicrous the whole process being carried out by the Government of trying to get people with severe disabilities into work, actually is in reality. They should try being in a wheelchair themselves first!! :roll:
The DWP staff are themselves put under huge pressure with unrealistic targets. One of the reasons my friend gave up working for them!