Claiming benefits when an elderly parent dies and another goes into care

Q. I have been claiming Carer’s Allowance with an Income Support top up for looking after my father, he recently passed away and I have the eight week run on protection. I was looking to continue the claim as my mother also receives Attendance Allowance, however she has recently gone into residential care so this is no longer an option.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 6:00 pm
There are some options in the circumstances until a PIP application/appeal is decided.

I also have a claim for Personal Independence Payment for myself, I made one claim which was refused and I’m waiting for an appeal hearing but I also recently made a second claim for PIP and I’m simply waiting for a medical assessment. I also get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. I am worried about having to claim Universal Credit when the 8 week run ends. I know I can claim UC on grounds of ill health but I understand Universal Credit doesn’t have the Severe Disability Premium, so if either of my PIP claims are successful for daily living but I already have transferred to Universal Credit I’ll be worse off until Universal Credit includes the SDP. Is there any options in this situation?

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A. You do have some options in the circumstances described but it is a case of whether financially you can support yourself until your PIP application/appeal is decided.

When your Income Support/Carer’s Allowance ends then the DWP will normally notify your local council and your Housing Benefit will be suspended. At this stage you would not actually have to claim Universal Credit, you could request your Housing Benefit award is paid on a nil income assessment. If you PIP award is successful and entitles you to the SDP (remember this can only be paid if the PIP is for daily living, you live alone and no-one claims Carer’s Allowance for you), then you can request your Housing Benefit award is reviewed to include the Severe Disablement Premium. Once your Housing Benefit award shows the SDP is included in the calculation then you will have the SDP protection and could claim a legacy benefit, such as Income Based JSA or Income Based ESA which would include the SDP and you’d be better off financially. The main risk involved here is the PIP appeal/application may fail and also you would need to support your usual living costs. If you end up having to make a claim for Universal Credit it is not backdated so each day delayed in making a claim would be one day’s loss of income. In such circumstances it is advisable to seek advice from a specialist advisor including advice as to the likely success of your PIP application/appeal as this will always be the determining factor in getting the SDP protection.