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Fairer for Carers

180713 careuk fairer for carers

Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind at £64.60 per week. It is the main benefit for people caring unpaid for family or friends. We want to see Carer’s Allowance significantly increased for all carers in the UK.

In Scotland, Carer’s Allowance is going up by £8.50 per week, to the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance. In the short term we want Carer’s Allowance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to be raised by at least £8.50, to match the changes being made in Scotland.

Carers UK is sending a letter on behalf of the 6.5 million carers in the UK to Secretary of State, Esther McVey, calling for Carer's Allowance to be raised to the level of Jobseeker's Allowance.

Add your voice to our campaign

In the long term, Carers UK wants to see an increase in Carer’s Allowance and the Carer Premium in the rest of the UK, rising annually with Government adjustments for inflation, so that carers living in all parts of the UK see an increase.

What’s changing and why aren’t carers across the UK being treated equally?

For the first time, Scotland will be taking control of some of their own social security benefits, including Carer's Allowance. Until they take full control over this, the Scottish Government is increasing the value of Carer's Allowance with a lump-sum Carer's Allowance Supplement paid every six months.

These changes will mean that carers in Scotland who receive Carer’s Allowance will get £73.10 per week – equivalent to Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Supplement will not be taken into account as income for means-tested benefits which means that people in Scotland claiming means-tested benefits will benefit fully from the increase. However, Carer’s Allowance for the rest of the UK will remain unchanged at £64.60 (2018/19 rates).

This means that 778,953 carers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be £8.50 per week worse off compared with carers in Scotland[1]. This is not fair.

In the short term, Carers UK wants Carer’s Allowance, and the associated premium/ additon/ element in means-tested benefits, to rise so that all carers in the UK see an increase in the financial support they receive. The unpaid care provided by carers in the UK is worth over £132 billion per year[2], yet many struggle to make ends meet. It’s not fair that carers in the UK will receive different rates of financial support depending on where they live.

It’s time we made it Fairer for Carers.

Carers UK continues to highlight how incredibly low the level of Carer’s Allowance is, and call on the Government to address the financial hardship that many carers find themselves in. Half of working age carers live in a household where no-one is in paid employment, and 1.2 million are living in poverty[3].

What is Carer’s Allowance?

Currently £64.60 (2018/19 rates), Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. There are a few rules about who can receive it including providing at least 35 hours of care per week and restrictions on how much someone can earn or study alongside receiving it.

If you are paid Carer's Allowance, it will count as income when means-tested benefits are calculated. However, means-tested benefit calculations will include a carer premium, carer addition or carer element if you receive Carer's Allowance. This means your means-tested benefit will decrease slightly but overall you are likely to be better off by the amount of the carer premium, carer addition or carer element. We are asking for any increase in Carer's Allowance to also be made to the Carer Premium/ addition/ element so that carers on the lowest incomes benefit from the change.

Read more about the Carer's Allowance Supplement, its implementation in Scotland and when it will be introduced.

Read more about Carer’s Allowance and who is eligible to claim.

Read more about the changes being introduced in Scotland and what Carers UK wants to see happen to carers’ financial support across the UK

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[1] Using figures of recipients of Carer’s Allowance as of November 2016, England and Wales figures from Department for Work and Pensions dataset: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/ and Northern Ireland from Assembly research briefing: http://www.assemblyresearchmatters.org/2017/06/15/carers-in-northern-ireland-key-statistics/

[2] Carers UK (2015) Valuing Carers

[3] New Policy Institute (2016) Informal care and poverty in the UK

 

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