Unpaid carers hit by real terms cut in benefits

Charity Carers UK has warned that 930,000 unpaid carers will suffer a real terms cut in benefits today as welfare payments are uprated by less than inflation, meaning a real terms cut in income.

Carers receiving the main carers’ benefit, Carer’s Allowance, will be getting an increase of just £2.10 per week, based on inflation rates of only 3.1% set last year compared to a real rate of inflation that could now be as high as nearly 8%. This represents a real terms cut in benefits as inflation outstrips the levels of uprating.

Carer’s Allowance will rise from £67.60 a week to £69.70, while the earnings limit for those claiming the benefit will rise from £128 to £132 a week. As the National Living Wage has also increased, it means anyone employed on the NLW will see a real terms cut in the number of hours they are able to work and still keep their Carer’s Allowance. This will fall from a maximum 14.36 hours of work per week to only 13.89 hours a week to stay within the limit. If a carer goes over the earnings limit, they lose 100% of their Carer’s Allowance.

woman sitting on gray wheelchair

For people caring for a severely disabled person for more than 35 hours a week, the carer element of Universal Credit will rise to £168.81 a month.

Carer’s Allowance is the lowest benefit of its kind and 35 hours of care need to be provided to a person with significant needs receiving the right level of disability benefits. 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said: ‘Many carers have a reduced capacity to work because of their caring responsibilities or have had to give up work altogether. Despite the majority of carers having taken on more care during the pandemic, which has protected our health and care systems, they face a real terms cut in the level of financial support they receive. Carers do not deserve more hardship when they have done so much.

‘Caring for someone can mean extra costs like having to use more electricity for special equipment, more heating to keep someone frail or unwell warm, and needing to spend more on special food. According to Carers UK’s recent research, Under Pressure, a quarter of carers receiving carer benefits were already using a foodbank. Today’s real-term cuts mean that many more will face challenging decisions about whether they heat their home or feed themselves.’

Photo by Stefano Intintoli


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