Government announces it will change the law so those receiving Carer’s Allowance will no longer be affected by the benefit cap.
If you are a carer and receive Carer’s Allowance, it will no longer be affected by the benefit cap. That’s the news announced by Lord Freud, Minister of State for the Department of Work & Pensions during a debate in the House of Lords yesterday.
The charity Carer’s UK, who have campaigned for changes to the benefit cap rules since the policy was first announced in 2010, have hailed it as a ‘significant victory for carers’.
The benefit cap was set up in April 2013 to set a limit on the total amount of benefit that could be paid to a non-working household. The cap is set at £500 per week for couples and families or lone parents with children, and £350 per week if you are single and without children.
Carer’s Allowance – a benefit that is given to people who care for someone receiving disability living allowance/personal independence payments or attendance allowance for 35 hours a week or more – was one of several benefits that were taken into account when calculating a cap. Others include housing benefit and income support.
While carers who looked after disabled partners and children under 18 were already exempt from the cap, the current law affected those who care for adult disabled children, siblings or elderly parents. However, this is now all set to change.
Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
‘This is a significant victory for carers and carers’ rights. By changing the law to exempt carers who receive Carer’s Allowance from the benefit cap, the Government has shown that it recognises both the valuable contribution that carers make to society and that the benefit cap unfairly penalises carers – many of whom are already facing significant financial hardship as a result of their caring role.’
The announcement came after a landmark ruling in the High Court, which found that the government were unlawfully discriminating against disabled people and their carers, particularly as carers already contribute so much to society.
The timing is particularly useful as the benefit cap is due to be lowered in a couple of months, and it would have seen an even greater numbers of carers affected by the policy.
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