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Benefits for carers

Severe disability premiums and carers' benefits

If you claim Carer’s Allowance, it will not normally affect the benefit of the person you look after. But there is an important exception. If the person you're looking after receives a 'severe disability premium', which is paid within means-tested benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, they will lose the premium if you are paid Carer’s Allowance.

If the person you look after receives a 'severe disability addition', which is paid as part of Pension Credit, they will lose the addition if you are paid Carer’s Allowance.

The severe disability premium and severe disability addition

Personal Independence Payment

From 8 April 2013, a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment will replace DLA for disabled people aged 16 to 64.

This is an extra £59.50 a week. It is paid as part of means-tested benefits such as Income Support or Pension Credit, to people who:

  • are disabled and receive Attendance Allowance (AA) or the middle or highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and
  • live alone (see below for exceptions to this), and
  • no one is receiving Carer’s Allowance for looking after them.

Example

Esther is 89 and receives AA. She is widowed and lives alone and no one being paid Carer’s Allowance to look after her. Esther is paid Pension Credit, (a means-tested top-up to her state pension) and a severe disability addition, as part of that Pension Credit.

Exceptions to the 'living alone' rule

In some cases the person you look after can be treated as living alone even if they're not. For example, if a couple were living together and both received AA or middle or highest rate care DLA (and no one receives Carer’s Allowance for looking after either of them) they may both be able to have severe disability premiums or additions included in their means-tested benefit.

Stopping the severe disability premium or addition

It's important to understand that the severe disability premium and the severe disability addition will only stop if you are actually paid Carer’s Allowance. If you're entitled to Carer’s Allowance, but not paid it because of the overlapping benefit rules, then the person you look after will not lose their severe disability premium or addition.

If you're worried that a claim for Carer’s Allowance might cut the amount of benefit that the person you look after is receiving, seek advice.

The official source of government information on benefits is GOV.UK.

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Page last reviewed: 13/03/2012

Next review due: 13/03/2014

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