Answered: I Get Pip, Can I Claim Carers Allowance?

Two key components of the UK's benefits system are the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Carer's Allowance.

i get pip can i claim carers allowance

London Insider’s column desk was asked by a reader: “Can I claim carers allowance while getting PIP?”

In the United Kingdom, navigating the benefits system can be a complex task for individuals with disabilities and their carers. Two key components of this system are the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Carer’s Allowance. Understanding how these benefits interact is crucial for those who are either receiving support or providing care to someone with a long-term health condition or disability. This essay delves into the intricacies of claiming Carer’s Allowance while receiving PIP, outlining eligibility criteria, the application process, and the potential impacts on other benefits.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP is a benefit designed to help with some of the extra costs associated with long-term ill-health or disability for individuals aged 16 to State Pension age. It’s intended to assist with living costs and is divided into two components: the daily living component and the mobility component. Eligibility and the amount awarded depend on how the condition affects the claimant, rather than the condition itself, assessed through a points-based system.

READ: October 2023: Train Strikes Hit the UK

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a payment made to individuals who care for someone at least 35 hours a week and who receives a qualifying disability benefit, such as PIP. The purpose of Carer’s Allowance is to offer financial support to carers who have substantial caring responsibilities and may have to forego full-time employment to provide care. It’s important to note that receiving Carer’s Allowance can impact the benefits of the person being cared for, potentially leading to reductions in their payments.

Claiming Carer’s Allowance While Receiving PIP

It is possible for a person receiving PIP to have a carer who claims Carer’s Allowance for looking after them. However, the individual receiving PIP cannot claim Carer’s Allowance for themselves based solely on their receipt of PIP. To be eligible for Carer’s Allowance, the carer must meet specific criteria, including caring for the PIP recipient for at least 35 hours a week. The recipient of PIP must also be receiving the daily living component of PIP at any rate.

Impact on Other Benefits

Claiming Carer’s Allowance can have several implications for both the carer and the recipient of care:

  • Effect on the Carer: Carer’s Allowance is considered taxable income and can affect other benefits the carer might be receiving. There is a cap on how much you can earn (from other sources) and still be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. Additionally, receiving Carer’s Allowance may entitle the carer to other forms of support, such as the Carer Premium or Carer Addition, which can be added to means-tested benefits like Income Support or Universal Credit.
  • Effect on the Person Being Cared For: When a carer claims Carer’s Allowance, it may affect the benefits of the person they are caring for. Specifically, if the person receiving care is getting a ‘severe disability premium’ as part of their benefits, they could lose this premium if their carer starts receiving Carer’s Allowance. This is because the severe disability premium is only payable if no one is being paid Carer’s Allowance to look after them.

Application Process

To apply for Carer’s Allowance, carers can fill out an online application form or apply by post. The application requires detailed information about the care provided, including the nature of the care and the number of hours spent providing care. Applicants will also need to provide information about their earnings, as there are limits on how much a carer can earn and still be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

Additional Considerations

  • Overlap Rule: Carer’s Allowance is subject to the ‘overlap rule,’ where certain benefits cannot be paid together because they cover the same period of care. If you are eligible for another benefit at a higher rate than Carer’s Allowance, you might not receive payment for Carer’s Allowance, although you could still have “underlying entitlement” to it, which might qualify you for other support.
  • Backdating: Carer’s Allowance can be backdated for up to three months from the date the application is received, provided the conditions for entitlement were met during that period.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the benefits landscape in the UK, particularly when it involves claiming Carer’s Allowance while receiving PIP, requires a thorough understanding of the eligibility criteria, application process, and potential implications on other benefits.

While these benefits are designed to provide support to individuals with disabilities and their carers, it’s important to carefully consider the impact of claiming Carer’s Allowance on both the carer’s financial situation and the benefits of the person being cared for. Professional advice or guidance from organizations specializing in benefits advice can be invaluable in making informed decisions and ensuring that both carers and those they care for receive the support they need.