Benefit for Carer’s Allowance will increase from April

New benefit for Carer’s Allowance has risen, but there are still concerns over the future progression

This increase from £128 to £132 per week is an important step for carers, who have been calling on the government to act after news that shortages within the social care sector have left many burnt out, or quitting altogether.

However, this increase doesn’t match up with the National Living Wage, which has also risen. With National Living Wage at £8.91 per hour, a carer can work for 14.35 hours per week, but with the updated National Living Wage of £9.50 per hour, carers working hours would have to drop to 13.89 to retain the allowance.

Therefore the increase in the rate could still cause many carers to lose their allowance, as the benefit has the harshest withdrawal rate in the benefits system – just going £1 over the rate causes carers to lose 100% of their allowance.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: ‘Whilst we are pleased that the earnings limit has risen, it has only done so in line with CPI and not wage inflation which we know is far higher. This will mean many carers making tough decisions to either reduce work or leave work altogether.

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‘Despite the rise, carers are still losing out on working hours year on year as increases have not kept pace with the National Living Wage or average wage rises. This is completely counter to the Government’s objective to make work pay. What we need urgently is a system that legislates for a year-on-year rise, in line with at least 16 times the National Living Wage.

‘This would allow carers to remain in work which is so important for carer’s income and finances in the short and longer-term – and many also want to work.

‘The rate of Carer’s Allowance is set to rise has been announced as 3.1% in line with CPI from £67.60 (2021/22 rates) to an estimated £69.70 per week (2022/23) – a rise of £2 per week.

‘Carer’s Allowance still remains the lowest benefit of its kind for which carers need to provide at least 35 hours of care per week although we know that many provide round the clock care. They see it as insulting that the benefit rates are so low and especially since the care they provide is equivalent to £193 billion for a year during the pandemic. Health and social care would have collapsed without unpaid carers’ support. What’s even more worrying is that despite this rise, carers have been telling us that their costs have increased during the pandemic.

‘Our State of Caring 2021 survey found that one in five carers said they may not cope financially over the next 12 months, one in four (23%) may not have enough to cover monthly expenses. 36% of carers say their finances have got worse during the pandemic and we know that as health and care services are stretched, carers have greater costs.

‘We urgently need to see a rise in carers’ benefits that better recognises the support that carers provide. We cannot continue to value unpaid carers so little within society by keeping Carer’s Allowance as the lowest benefit of its kind. Scotland has introduced a Carer’s Allowance Supplement which would normally be worth £231.40 every six months, but they have doubled this to £462.80 due to extra costs faced by carers in the pandemic. Sadly, this leaves carers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland even further behind. We’re asking the Government to do the right thing and recognise carers.’


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