Universal credit

Universal Credit for carers

If you are of working age and receive Carers Allowance and one (or more) of the benefits which UC is replacing then you’ll be asked to move onto UC at some point between 2019 and 2022. Claimants who move over to UC won’t be financially worse off unless there is a significant change in their circumstances.

New UC claimants with caring responsibilities

Under UC rules you do not need to be in receipt of Carers Allowance in order to get a ‘carer element’ in your UC award. You could get a carer element (£150.39 per month) if you have ‘regular and substantial caring responsibilities’ for looking after a ‘severely disabled person’.

The meaning of ‘regular and substantial caring responsibilities’

This means you need to satisfy the eligibility conditions for Carers Allowance, but you don’t actually need to be getting paid Carers Allowance. In summary, you must regularly spend 35 hours each week caring for a ‘severely disabled person’. You don’t have to live with them or be related to them to qualify for the carers element.

The definition of a ‘severely disabled person’

For benefit purposes a person is classed as ‘severely disabled’ if they receive any of the following:- the middle or higher rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, an Armed Forces Independence Payment or an award of Constant Attendance Allowance.

Part-time carers

If you spend less than 35 hours each week caring for a severely disabled person then you cannot claim Carers Allowance or receive a carer element in your UC award. However, your caring responsibilities should be taken into account as part of your claimant commitment. Discuss this with your work coach.

Fostering allowance or kinship care payments

These are ignored when calculating Universal Credit payments.

Childcare responsibilities and having to seek work

The amount of time you’ll be expected to look for work each week will depend on how old your children are and your household circumstances (eg are you a lone parent or do you have a partner). If you are a lone parent with a child under one then you will not be expected to look for work, but as the child gets older you will be expected to have more engagement with the jobcentre and this will reflected in your claimant commitment.

If you are part of a couple and you are both in good health then only one partner can have childcare restrictions in their claimant commitment.

Support for carers

Angus Carers Centre is an organisation established by carers, for carers. They provide information, advice and a range of services to carers located in Angus and the surrounding areas.

For local help and support regarding Universal Credit please contact our welfare rights service or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.