Q: I applied for Carer’s Allowance a few weeks ago but I’ve just received a letter which says I can’t get this as I receive a state pension. Is this correct? Can I appeal this decision?
There are a few criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for Carer’s Allowance but the basics are:
• you need to be caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week and
• the person you’re caring for must be receiving one of the following three benefits:
1. Personal Independence Payment
2. Attendance Allowance
3. Disability Living Allowance (care component must be at the middle or higher rate)
The current rate for Carer’s Allowance is £62.70 a week, but how much you receive can be affected by other benefits and/or earnings you have.
At the moment, State Pensions and Carer’s Allowance are classed as overlapping benefits, so if you are receiving more than £62.70 a week from your State Pension you would not be able to receive Carer’s Allowance as well.
However, for some people it can still be worth applying for Carer’s Allowance; if you do meet all the criteria (known as having an underlying entitlement), then you may receive more money with any means-tested benefits you are claiming such as Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.
If you still want to appeal a decision about your entitlements, the first step is to ask the Dept. of Work & Pensions (DWP) for a mandatory reconsideration. This must be done within a month of receiving your decision letter. It is best to do this in writing and send any evidence you have with your letter. If you disagree with the decision made under mandatory reconsideration you then have a month to lodge an appeal with the Independent Tribunal Service.
The Citizens Advice Bureau are coming to our Bath centre in September to give a talk on benefits which you might find useful, details due out in the next edition of Caretime (mailed out end of June).
In the meantime, for more information about Carer’s Allowance you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau on 0344 848 7919 (Mon to Fri 10am–4pm) or if you are over 60 you can contact the local branch of Age UK on 01225 466135 (Mon to Fri 9.30am–3.30pm).