Benefits Expert: ‘Is she due any other benefits?’

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Q MY 81-year-old mother lives on a weekly State Pension of £169 and a monthly private pension of £105.

 She has a single person’s reduction to her Council Tax, but is she due any other benefits? Mrs. H (by e-mail).

A YOUR mother appears to be entitled to Council Tax Benefit that would reduce her Council Tax to about £366 a year. In Sunderland that would be worth at least £5.80 a week.

Q I RECEIVE Incapacity Benefit (IB) and look after my mother 24-hours-a-day. She has Attendance Allowance and a pension, but can I claim Carer’s Allowance? Mr. W (Sunderland).

A YOU could not receive Carer’s Allowance (CA) but you might be due Income Support or Pension Credit.

 CA is payable to a person who is looking after someone for at least 35 hours a week and the person they care for receives a particular benefit such as Attendance Allowance.

 Someone cannot be paid CA in addition to another non-means tested benefit such as IB.

 They will get whichever benefit is greater. As Long Term IB is £94.25 a week and CA is £55.55 a week you, therefore, could not have CA paid in addition to IB.

 However, people like you who cannot have CA because they have an overlapping benefit have an ‘underlying entitlement’ to CA.

 This is not a benefit in itself, but those who have it are treated more generously when they claim benefits like Income Support or Pension Credit.

 If you have not yet reached the minimum age for Pension Credit, which is currently 60 years and nine months, you could claim Income Support.

 This would bring your weekly income up to £127.35 if you are on Long Term IB.

 If you were old enough to be entitled to Pension Credit this would bring your weekly income up to £168.35 a week.

Q MY sister’s husband has had a bowel cancer operation and is having chemotherapy. They have State Pensions and Pension Credit and he has Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for Mobility.

 Are there any other State Benefits they can claim? Marge (by e-mail).

A THIS depends upon how much looking after your brother- in law-needs.

 If he satisfies the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that he needs a lot of looking after he could have an extra £73.60 or £49.30 a week added to his DLA, plus £31 a week Carer’s Addition added to his Pension Credit.

 He should be warned, however, that if he asks for a DLA increase, the DWP will reconsider his Mobility payment and they could take it away.