To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to improve financial support for people caring full-time for multiple individuals with disabilities and (b) other full-time carers.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to provide additional Carer’s Allowance for people caring for more than one person.
This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers in supporting some of the most vulnerable in society, including pensioners and those with disabilities.
Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested and is not based on National Insurance contributions. Its principal purpose is to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time work in order to provide regular care for a severely disabled person. The main qualifying condition is that the carer is providing at least 35 hours of care to somebody in receipt of a qualifying disability benefit, and that no-one else is providing such care to that person.
Carer’s Allowance is therefore not a payment for providing a care service, so only one payment is made even if a carer is caring for more than one severely disabled person.
In addition to Carer’s Allowance, carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. Currently, the Universal Credit carer element is £185.86 per monthly assessment period. The additional amount for carers in Pension Credit is £42.75 a week.
Around 550,000 (May 2023 data) carer households on Universal Credit can receive around an additional £2,230 a year through the carer element. The Government has chosen to focus extra support on those carers who need it most.
The Government keeps the qualifying conditions for Carer’s Allowance under review, but has no plans to amend them at this time.