Work and Pensions written question – answered on 13th December 2004.

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Photo of Mr David Stewart Mr David Stewart PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Secretary of State), Department for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the rules which prevent payment of carer's allowance and retirement pension at the same time.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Carer's allowance, (previously invalid care allowance), has always been subject to the overlapping benefits rules which put into effect one of the principles of the social security system that only one benefit at a time can be paid for the same purpose.

The reason why carer's allowance and state pension overlap is that they are both directed at providing a benefit for those whose circumstances typically mean that a traditional source of income is no longer available. Carer's allowance replaces income where the carer is over working age or has to give up the chance of working to look after a severely disabled person; state pension replaces income in retirement.

Although an entitlement to both benefits will mean that carer's allowance is not payable, or not payable in full, an underlying entitlement to carer's allowance gives access to the carer premium in housing benefit and council tax benefit and the additional amount for carers in state pension credit.

We continue to look at ways of helping both carers and the elderly, although we have no immediate plans to change these arrangements.

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