Can my wife, who I care for run a business from home?

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hello Everybody,

New to the forum and have my first question - I hope that somebody can help?

I presently care for my wife who has RA and mobility problems.

We have an online business which means that we can work from home. As you may well know the guys from Income Support take a big interest in such things (God, were they awful when we first had to sign on?!). This business isn't particularly profitable and is in my name. It stalled when my wife was suddenly signed off sick and our cash flow stopped before the business got started and the online bit was only meant to be part of the business.

I want to start another new business, which means that I would be working more than 16 hours/week. Which isn't acceptable to IS. We want to keep the old business, but am afraid to broach the subject with either IS or Carers Allowance, due to negative experience with IS (my kneck is getting tense just writing this).

What I'd like to know is can I tell IS and Carers Allowance that my wife is now running the old business (for less than 16 hours/week ofcourse) and I am starting a new business and not loose my IS, and thus CA and HB?

I would love to be free of this dreadful benefits system - and see the new business as a possible way out. But we need the benefits to survive in the mean time.

Thanks in advance for any advice and sorry that my first post isn't more cheery,

Fred
Hello Fred,

As a carer (in receipt of CA) you can work as many hours as you want as far as IS is concerned. They will tell you otherwise but they are wrong.
The only thing that will affect your IS is your income. £20 is the max you can earn in any week and anything else has to be deducted from your IS.

Carers allowance will expect accounts at regular intervals. ie every 2 months or so until they see a pattern of how the business is going. Obviously you are allowed to earn upto a set amount £80+ per week. (can't remember the exact amount)

Get advice form a welfare rights worker or get hold of the Disability Rights Handbook from here]http://www.disabilityalliance.org/index.htm[/url]
because that's where all my info comes from. It's also one of the books that IS refere to when looking up the rules. Well worth the £14 it costs me every year.

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http://disabledkids.myfineforum.org/index.php
A place to discuss our special children and their disabilities
Sorry but the rules are very clear. Income Support is the priority benefit in law and so a £20 limit within a 16 hour working week. Anything over the £20 comes off IS on a penny for penny basis. Anything over 16 hours and goodbye IS.

Carers Allowance, for those NOT receiving IS, has no hours limit but an earnings limit of £87 a week.
Sorry but the rules are very clear. Income Support is the priority benefit in law and so a £20 limit within a 16 hour working week. Anything over the £20 comes off IS on a penny for penny basis. Anything over 16 hours and goodbye IS.

Carers Allowance, for those NOT receiving IS, has no hours limit but an earnings limit of £87 a week.
I agree with the £20 limit as far as IS is concerned but not the hours. As a carer in receipt of carers allowance as well as IS you can work as many hours as you like. It is only the income that matters and if that is over £20 in any one week it will be deducted from your IS.

I know this from experience as well as from the Disability Alliance.

It is not easy to find but it is there in the book they produce and is in practise once you let the IS know where to find it. Most of them just don't know the law on this and have to be pointed to the paragraph etc.

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http://disabledkids.myfineforum.org/index.php
A place to discuss our special children and their disabilities
As a follow on from my last post the relevant information can be found in the Disability Rights handbook on page 145, chapter 24, para 3. Titled: Working part time or full time.

The relevent quote from the book is below.

If you are eligible for income support (IS) as a carer, you can work without limit on your weekly hours. However, you can only keep £20 a week of your net earnings (or of your joint earnings if your partner works); anything over that reduces your IS penny for penny(see chapter 5(4)). You cannot get IS if your partner works for 24 hours or more a week.


It then goes onto talk about carers allowance and the limit on earnings which we have already agreed upon.


I hope that's helpful.
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http://disabledkids.myfineforum.org/index.php
A place to discuss our special children and their disabilities
Hi Pixie - thanks for the quote. I was working from memory as I don't currently have access to my book (I keep it at work and refer to it almost always) - believe it or not this is an issue that has never come up in the 31 years I've worked with benefits! Probably because it's now virtually impossible to work for less than £20 a week with the minimum wage. Image
I hope it was helpful.

It is something that wouldn't apply much these days as you say with the minimum wage etc.

But consider self employed just starting out and often no profit is made for some time or the business is small because circumstances don't allow for growth. ie. being a carer.

I always have my book by my side as I have found it so very usefull.
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http://disabledkids.myfineforum.org/index.php
A place to discuss our special children and their disabilities
Any information I don't know or otherwise have to hand is ALWAYS useful.

At work, I use the Disability Alliance guide and cross-reference it with the Child Poverty Action Group publication. Sometimes one is a little clearer than the other, but overall I prefer the Disability Alliance guide for useability.
There has to be a better way.
I'm also fed up trying to figure out how to play the system legally whilst being self-employed, it's a minefield. I might earn good money one week and nothing the next..., but CA cant cope with a variable income. I recently told them I wanted to opt out because my business was now making money, but they kept on sending me the same form ( I mean like six times!) and sending the payments...it was no joke, it would have been easier to stay quiet and take the money.
Somehow we need a simpler way of rewarding carers who make the extra effort to work part-time, whilst accepting that the weekly earnings limit is pretty well meaningless for people in self employment...do you count the invoices that get sent out or the income that eventually comes in? What happens when you receive £1,000 in one week and nothing the next? I'm completely baffled by the system, and dreading what happens if someone from the IR decides to challenge my own interpretation of the rules when I file my tax return.
Accordind to the http://www.disabilityalliance.org/ca.htm website:

Carer's allowance
To get carer's allowance (CA) you must:

- be caring for a person who is receiving one of the following:

higher or middle rate care component of disability living allowance
attendance allowance
constant attendance allowance of £52.70 or more paid with the industrial injuries or war pensions schemes
- be aged 16 or over

- be caring for at least 35 hours a week

- not be in full time education (21 hours a week)

Well, sorry but this is plain wrong. If you care for a child with a significant disability in f/t education you most certainly can claim carers allowance...so never trust anything you read in print!
[quote]Accordind to the http://www.disabilityalliance.org/ca.htm website]

Excalibur, the bit about not being in full time education refers to the carer, not the disabled child.