Scally wrote: ↑
Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:11 am
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.