How is Carer’s Allowance affected by other benefits?
If you claim other benefits, they can affect your Carer's Allowance claim. If you are a mental health carer and are already receiving another benefit, be sure to read the following section carefully.
What benefits will affect Carer's Allowance?
You cannot get Carer's Allowance if you are also claiming one of the following benefits:
- State Retirement Pension
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA) - Contribution based
- You can no longer make new claims for this type of ESA).
- Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – Contribution based
- You can no longer make new claims for this.
- Incapacity Benefit (replaced by ESA in 2011)
- Maternity Allowance
- Bereavement Allowance
- Widowed Mother's/Parent's Allowance
- Widow's Pension
- Severe Disablement Allowance
This is called the 'overlapping benefits' rule.
What do I do if I can't get Carer's Allowance?
If you fall under the 'overlapping benefits' rule, you might be able to get an additional amount of money included with the other benefits you claim. This is often called:
- the carer premium in JSA.
- the carer addition in Pension Credit.
- the carer element in Universal Credit.
Case Study: How a MHMA benefit adviser helped Janet get a carer addition to her pension
Terry is 23 and lives with his 67 year-old mum Janet. Terry was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Schizophrenia when he was 21.
Janet went part-time at work to help care for Terry.
Terry's symptoms include a lack of motivation, disorganised thinking, and hallucinations. He often finds it hard to concentrate and can become very distressed when he experiences hallucinations.
Because Terry is diagnosed with a 'severe mental impairment' (SMI), Janet could get Terry the enhanced daily living component of PIP.
Janet now cares for Terry for 35 hours or more a week. She helps him wash, get dressed and eat. In addition, she ensures Terry is okay and doesn't hurt himself.
Janet recently retired and began to claim her State Pension.
She was concerned that the money will not be enough to help her care for Terry after discovering she couldn't receive Carer's Allowance becuase she was claiming her State Pension.
Janet contacted a benefits adviser for help.
The benefits adviser looked at Janet and Terry's situation and recommended that she applied for Carer's Allowance anyway.
This is because Janet has an 'underlying entitlement' to Carer's Allowance.
By applying for the Carer's Allowance, Janet recieved a 'carer addition' added to the money she receives from her State Pension.
H2: How Carer's Allowance is affected by:
H3: ESA – Income Related
You can still receive the full amount of Carer's Allowance. However, the ESA will be reduced by the amount of Carer's Allowance you get.
H3: Universal Credit (UC)
You can still receive the full amount of Carer's Allowance, but the Universal Credit will be reduced by the amount of Carer's Allowance you get.
You should still apply for Carer's Allowance even if you think it will be affected by another benefit you receive. You can contact a benefits adviser for more help.
H2: Severe Disability Premium (SDP)
The person you care for might be receiving a Severe Disability Premium (SDP). A person will only receive SDP if:
- They live alone
- They receive means-tested income. Examples include:
- They receive the care component of DLA at a middle or higher rate or
- They receive the daily living component of PIP at the standard or enhanced rate.
- They do not have a full-time carer receiving Carer's Allowance.
If you are awarded Carer's Allowance, the person you care for could lose their Severe Disability Premium (SDP).
However, if you receive a carer premium, element, or addition to one of your other benefits, the person you care for might still receive SDP. You should contact a benefits adviser before applying for Carer's Allowance in this situation.
If you need practical advice on caring for someone with a severe mental impairment, you can contact the mental health carer support services at Rethink Mental Illness.