Carers Allowance and Carer Premium for Older People

Many older people are now entitled to additional money to help with their caring responsibilities

Most Carers aged 65 or over won't be able to receive the Carers Allowance Link to External Website in full, because Carers Allowance overlaps with the state retirement pension. However they may receive an increased amount of the income related benefits (Pension Credit, Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit).

The information below explains how to claim the extra money.

Claiming the Carer Premium...

The following example explains the often-lengthy process to receiving the correct entitlement to the Carer premium:

Mr and Mrs Jones are a couple both aged 66. They each receive a retirement pension of £84.25 a week. They also each receive an occupational pension of £10 a week each. So their total joint income is £188.50.

This is higher than their Guarantee Level of £174.05. So they are not entitled to the guarantee element of Pension Credit (PC). However they are entitled to Savings Credit of £17.80 a week.

Mr Jones has a stroke in May 2006 and despite some recovery still needs looking after. He applies for Attendance Allowance (AA) in November 2006.

Mr Jones then hears he has been successful in his claim for Attendance Allowance in March 2007. It is paid from his date of claim in November 2006.

Mrs Jones applies for Carers Allowance straight away. She gets a reply saying that she meets the conditions for entitlement to Carers Allowance but cannot be paid because she already receives a retirement pension of £84.25 per week, which is a higher amount. However she has an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance.

Mr and Mrs Jones notify the Pension Service. This time the underlying entitlement to carers allowance means they qualify for a carer premium to be added to their Guarantee Credit (GC) level. Their new GC level is now £200.40. They qualify for Guarantee Credit of £11.90 per week, Savings Credit of £23.58 plus full rent and council tax rebates. The revised amounts of Pension Credit will be backdated to November 2006 because Mrs Jones made her claim for carers allowance within three months of the Attendance Allowance award for Mr Jones. If Mrs Jones had waited longer to claim, the carer premium would only be backdated for a maximum of three months.

Twelve months later...

Mrs Jones applies for attendance allowance as she has her own health problems. She is awarded. Mr and Mrs Jones provide each other with a lot of support and care so Mr Jones can now apply for Carers Allowance. He also gets a retirement pension, which is higher than the carers allowance, but can still get the underlying entitlement . Their GC level will then rise by another £26.35 per week to £226.75 per week. Their Guarantee Credit will be £38.25 per week.

If certain other conditions are met they might be entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, which would give them another £93.50 per week.

Take care before claiming Carers Allowance...

If you are looking after someone who lives alone, or where all members of the household are getting attendance allowance, their benefit might be affected if you claim Carers Allowance and actually receive a payment.

This is because they may lose entitlement to part of their benefit called the Severe Disability Premium.

The underlying entitlement and carer premium will not affect their claim. Seek advice before claiming.

Backdating of claims...

This section has been compiled with extensive reference to the Disability Rights Handbook

Attendance Allowance (AA)

AA cannot normally be backdated. See Chapter 20(23) of the Disability Rights handbook for details of the limited circumstances in which an earlier date can be treated as your date of claim.

Carers Allowance (CA)

If you were entitled to Carers Allowance before you actually claimed and can show that you met all the qualifying conditions, Carers Allowance can be backdated for up to 3 months.

If the person you care for has just received their decision awarding Attendance Allowance, you should claim Carers Allowance within 3 months of the date on the Attendance Allowance decision. If you do so, your claim will be backdated to the date the AA award began (or when you became a carer, if that is later). If you wait longer than 3 months to claim, the maximum backdate is 3 months.

NB. The benefit rates quoted in this article are for the year 2006/2007. They will be uprated in April 2007.

For more information:

Telephone Number 0161 342 8355 or call in at one of our Customer Service Centres.