Carer's Allowance: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Hywel Williams Hywel Williams Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Brexit), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow PC Spokesperson (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to increase carer's allowance to reflect the (a) additional care that carers may be providing and (b) financial difficulties they may face as a result of loss of income during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

DWP has now introduced two important temporary measures to help unpaid carers through the current emergency:

  • unpaid carers will be able to continue to claim Carer’s Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring, because they or the person they care for gets coronavirus or if either have to isolate because of it. (Under normal rules there are restrictions on breaks in care, but these have been lifted.); and
  • providing “emotional support” (rather than just more traditional forms of care) to a disabled person will also now count towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care a week.

The rate of Carer’s Allowance was also increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. The standard allowance in Universal Credit has been temporarily increased for the 20/21 tax year by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means claimants will be up to £1040 better off. Carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from this.

Income replacement benefits help people and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits.

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