Financial help when you are caring for someone

You may be entitled to Carer's Allowance, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Healthcare costs

You may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Healthcare costs.

Carer’s Allowance

  • You may be able to get Carer’s Allowance if you are:
  • spending at least 35 hours a week looking after someone getting either Personal
  • Independence Payment (PIP) at either rate of the daily living component or DLA for personal care at the higher or middle rate or Attendance Allowance at either rate    
  • over the age of 16      
  • not working or if working you earn less than a prescribed amount and 
  • not a full-time student.

It does not matter if you live with the person you care for, but if the person you care for lives alone check before you claim Carer’s Allowance because they may lose entitlement to some of their benefit. You can get Carer’s Allowance if you have a partner who is working.

If you are already getting State Retirement Pension, contributory Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Bereavement Benefit you will not get Carer’s Allowance. However, it may still be worth claiming though because you may qualify for extra, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit because you have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit to help with living costs, for people of working age who are on a low income. You can claim if you’re in work, looking for work or unable to work. If you have a partner and/or children, your award can include amounts for them as well.

You can get help paying for your housing if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. This is called your housing payment.

Your housing payment can help you pay your:

  • rent to a private landlord
  • rent and service charges if you rent from a housing association or local authority, for example council housing
  • service charges if you or your partner own the property you live in

Universal Credit is means-tested. This means your award is based on your income and how much capital, savings and investments you have.  If you have more than £16,000 in capital, then you may not be able to claim. 

It is replacing six existing means-tested benefits and tax credits. These are known as legacy benefits:

If you’re getting any of these benefits or tax credits, you do not need to do anything unless either:

  • your circumstances change
  • you get a letter called a ‘Migration Notice’ telling you that you must claim Universal Credit

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with your living costs if you’re over State Pension age and on a low income.

It comes in two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.  You might be eligible for one or both parts.  It is separate from your State Pension.

Guarantee Credit

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. In 2023-24, this level is:

£201.05 if you’re single

£306.85 if you’re a couple.

If your income is higher, you might still be eligible for Pension Credit if you have a disability, you care for someone, you have savings or you have housing costs.

Savings Credit

Savings Credit is extra money if you’ve got some savings or if your income is higher than the basic State Pension. It’s available to people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits. The amount you get will depend on your income and savings.  It’s being replaced by Universal Credit.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either of the following apply:

  • you have reached State Pension age
  • you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing

Usually, you will not get Housing Benefit if your savings are over £16,000 – unless you get Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit

Council Tax

If you are on a low income you can apply for Council Tax Support to help with your Council Tax payments.  The amount you get will depend on your income and savings.  In certain circumstances there are also discounts on Council Tax available to carers and disabled people – check these out with the hospice welfare officers.

Health Care Costs

If you (or your partner if you have one) receive both elements of Pension Credit or Guarantee Credit only, you are automatically entitled to: free NHS dental checks and treatment, a voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses, help towards travel costs to receive NHS treatment after being referred by a doctor, dentist or optician and free NHS wigs and fabric supports.

If you received Universal Credit, you qualify for help with health costs if on the date you claim, you either:

  • receive Universal Credit and either had no earnings or had net earnings of £435 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period
  • receive Universal Credit, which includes an element for a child, or you (or your partner) had limited capability for work (LCW) or limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), and you either had no earnings or net earnings of £935 or less in your last Universal Credit assessment period

You should present a copy of your Universal Credit award notice to prove your entitlement. You’ll need to have met the eligibility criteria in the last completed Universal Credit assessment period before your health costs arose.

If you have a low income, you may also be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).

There are 2 ways to apply for the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS). You can apply online on the NHS Business Services Authority website or by post on form HC1. 

Having a break from caring

You can have a break from caring and can continue to receive your Carer’s Allowance for up to four weeks in any six-month period.

There are special rules to decide whether you’ll continue to receive Carer’s Allowance for longer breaks so you should get specialist advice from our Welfare Team or the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

If you’re receiving any other benefits which include extra amounts for caring, these may be affected if you have a break from caring.

If the person you care for is in hospital for more than four weeks, their Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Allowance or Disability Living Allowance is suspended for the rest of their time in hospital. Your benefit may be affected too. You should seek advice about what to do. This does not apply if they are an in-patient at St Christopher’s.

You will be able to claim the Carers Allowance and/or the extra it allows on the other benefits for eight weeks after the death of the person you care for.

Please note: These benefits usually only apply if you have no restrictions on your right to remain in the UK. If you have an uncertain immigration status, please get further advice.

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