Care: Research shows a quarter of UK adults are carers
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Universal Credit, a benefit payment administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has various credits which are accessible to vulnerable groups of people. Unpaid carers are considered to be one of these groups as they overwhelmingly include older people who may not have a steady income or earnings. One of the available payments is the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit, which is a means-tested benefit.
Means-tested means an applicant’s eligibility for a DWP benefit and how much money they get will be dependent on their income and how much capital they have.
When it comes to calculating how much someone gets from the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit, Carer’s Allowance is considered a way of someone getting income.
People are prevented from getting Carer’s Allowance if they are earning more than £128 a week.
In comparison, someone’s earnings does not affect their ability to put forward a claim for the Carer’s Element.
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However, with the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit, someone’s earnings or other income will impact how much overall Universal Credit they receive.
Once this income is taken away from the maximum amount of Universal Credit they are entitled to, the amount left will be the payment they receive from the DWP.
Despite there being multiple elements for various groups, no one element is immune from potential deductions.
Those who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance are able to apply for this element even if they do not claim Carer’s Allowance at all.
Currently, the Carer’s Element is 163.73 per month for claimants who meet the DWP eligibility criteria.
Couples are allowed to put forward a joint claim for this support, if they both meet the eligibility criteria.
However, the pair cannot be looking after the same ill or disabled person as part of their application.
An unpaid carer can get this amount if they are looking after someone for at least 35 hours per week, who is in receipt of certain qualifying benefits.
These qualifying benefits can include:
An unpaid carer getting Universal Credit’s Carer’s Element could impact the benefits of the person they are looking after.
For example, the person may end up losing their entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium (SDP).
The SDP is an extra payment that is included in some means-tested benefits to help with the cost of disability.
Benefit claimants also have the option for applying for alternative Universal Credit elements, including the Child Element, the Childcare Costs Element and the Housing Costs Element.
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