Benefits available to carers
By Shaun Clayton, Director of Membership Services, PHA UK
It’s not just PH patients who are entitled to financial support from the Government – carers who give up their time to look after friends or relatives could also be eligible for benefits.
If you’re caring for someone with PH, you may be entitled to receive Carers Allowance, which is a benefit applicable to somebody who looks after an individual for at least 35 hours a week. This is defined as simply being available to support the person, which is very easy to prove if you live with them. Even if you don’t live with the person, as long as you can explain how you spend those 35 hours, you shouldn’t have an issue obtaining the benefit.
In order for the carer to be eligible, the person they’re caring for must receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
How much can I claim?
Everyone who receives Carers Allowance is entitled to £64.60 per week – it is not needs or income-based. As long as you’re caring for the person and they’re receiving PIP or DLA, you will continue to receive Carers Allowance, but you must notify the Government if your circumstances change, such as if the person you’re caring for goes into hospital.
Who is excluded from Carers Allowance?
You will not be eligible for Carers Allowance if you earn more than £120 per week, after tax. However, this excludes expenses including childcare or care for the person while you’re at work. It also excludes 50 per cent of your pension contributions, so it’s important to calculate your weekly expenses before you apply. You cannot claim Carers Allowance if you are in full-time education, study for more than 21 hours per week or are under 16. If you care for more than one person, you will still receive the same allowance per week.
What other benefits might I be entitled to?
It’s worth noting that for certain benefits that both the carer and the patient can apply for, the carer will often be entitled to more support than the individual being cared for. This means it’s often better for the carer to apply for things like housing benefit (if of course they live with the person). However, I would recommend that both the carer and the person being cared for find out what they would be entitled to, in order to ensure the person who would get more support is the one who applies for it. You can do this by using the Turn2Us benefits calculator at phauk.org.
How do I claim?
To apply for Carers Allowance, visit the gov.uk website or call the advice line on 0800 7310297.
What if I’m unsuccessful?
If you feel you have been wrongly denied Carers Allowance, you should challenge the decision. If you are planning to appeal, make sure it is within one month of the initial decision to deny you support. Remember that your eligibility may change, so even if your claim was turned down, you may be able to claim successfully in future.