BENEFITS EXPERT: Applying to be husband’s carer

You may have 'underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance'
You may have 'underlying entitlement to Carer's Allowance'
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Are we claiming all the benefits we are due? Our weekly State Pensions are £141.14 and £141.92. We have Industrial Injuries Pensions of £16.80 and £33.60 a week. He has a pit pension of £280.83 a month and Disability Living Allowance at the High Rates for Mobility and Care. Our Council Tax is reduced to £70 a month because of my husband’s mental state and our rent is £100 a week. Are these correct and might I be able to claim Carer’s Allowance?

I think you might be entitled to a small amount of Housing Benefit if you first apply to be treated as your husband’s carer.

As your husband receives Disability Living Allowance which includes the High Rate for Care, you would meet the conditions for Carer’s Allowance if you give him attention for at least 35 hours a week.

However, you could not actually be paid Carer’s Allowance because you already receive State Pension which is paid at a higher rate.

But having what is called ‘underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance’ means you would be treated more generously if you were to claim Housing Benefit.

You should claim Carer’s Allowance in the same way as if you were claiming the allowance itself - by telephoning 0345 608 4321. When they issue their decision about underlying entitlement you should claim Housing Benefit from your local council. By my reckoning this should cause your rent to be reduced by about £24 a week.

As your Council Tax has already been reduced because of the deduction for severe mental impairment, I am afraid your incomes are above the level where you could qualify for means-tested help.

My aunt is a widow aged 73. Her State Pension is £166.80 a week and she also has an occupational pension from her late husband of £201 a month. She pays £500 rent to a private landlord that covers her gas, electricity and water and her Council Tax is £78 a month. She has £12,000 savings. Is she too well off to qualify for anything?

Her benefit calculations will be based upon her pensions, savings and housing outgoings.

Housing Benefit can only be paid in respect of a person’s accommodation costs, not for other charges. As your aunt’s rent is inclusive of water, gas and electricity, she will be due a reduction if her rent, after paying for these, comes to less than about £50 a week.

She also appears to be entitled to a Council Tax deduction that would reduce her Council Tax to about £500 a year.